Dialogue - Korean



안녕하세요. annyeonghaseyo Hello.
jeo I (humble)
는/은 neun/eun topic marking particle
이다 ida to be
학생 haksaeng student
처음 뵙겠습니다. cheoeum boepgesseumnida. It’s nice to meet you.

Lesson Notes



This lesson introduced a few standard greetings that can be used when meeting someone for the first time. The following are a few notes that go more in-depth into these greetings, as well as some important grammar points related to the lesson.

Vocabulary Focus #1 - Hello - 안녕하세요?

The Korean greeting - 안녕하세요? (annyeonghaseyo?) has the literal meaning of "Are you at peace?" But this is used as same as "Hello" in English. This can be used during the morning, day, and evening, and is used for people who are on formal or polite speaking terms.

Vocabulary Focus #2 - It's Nice to Meet You - 처음 뵙겠습니다

“It’s nice to meet you” - The expression 처음 뵙겠습니다 (cheoeum boepgesseumnida) literally means "I'm meeting you for the first time," but is translated as "It’s nice to meet you." This is used when meeting someone for the first time.

Grammar Point #1 - The Copula - 이다

Identifying People and Things Using the Korean Copula (Part I) - The affirmative Korean copula – the verb expressing “to be” – is 이다 (ida). When 이다 is conjugated in the present tense and expressed for use in a formal context, it changes into 입니다 (imnida). Note that the speakers used 입니다 (imnida) (See line 1:“저는 Keith입니다.”) in this conversation.

이다 (ida) is the Korean affirmative copula. This is roughly equivalent to the English verb "to be." Using 이다 (ida) is the most useful and basic way to identify people and objects. An example of a sentence is “(Subject and particle) + [Noun]+입니다.” This expresses "(Subject) is [noun]." If the subject is not included in the sentence, the subject must be inferred.

Note:이다 (ida) only expresses equation, definition, identification, or description. But it is not existential. Essentially, 이다 (ida) is used much like the English verb "to be" in all ways except expressing existence. Korean has a separate word that expresses existence.

Grammar Point #2 - The Formal Declarative Sentence Ending - ㅂ/습니다

입니다 (imnida) is the copula conjugated into the present tense, and in the formal politeness level.

▷ Construction
To conjugate 이다 (ida) using this sentence ending, we take the dictionary form of the copula 이다 (ida) and remove 다 (da) to get the verb stem, 이 (i). From there we add ㅂ 니다 (mnida). 이 (i) + ㅂ 니다 (mnida) = 입니다 (imnida). For verb stems that end in vowels we attach ㅂ 니다 (mnida), such as the case is with 이다 (ida), the copula. For verb stems that end in consonants, we attach 습니다 (seumnida).

Using 입니다 (imnida) is the most useful and basic way to identify people and objects. See the sentence structure below:

“Noun 1는(은) Noun 2입니다.”

Note that 는(은) is called the topic particle and placed after a noun to make it the topic under discussion. Using the topic particle is one way to designate a noun as the topic of a particular sentence.

“저는 윤설입니다”
“I am Yunseol.”

In the sentence above, 저 (I) was Noun 1 and 윤설 (Yunseol) was Noun 2. We identified “I” as “Yunseol.”

Grammar Point #3 - Dropping the "I"

As is often done in Korean, when the meaning can be clearly derived from context, dropping 저는(jeoneun), which means “I” with the topic particle, is acceptable in the conversation. No significant changes occur in translation or meaning. See the example below:

Jeoneun [ireum] imnida.
I am [name].

[ireum] imnida.
I am [name].

Likewise, 저는 could have been dropped from our conversation as well:

(1) Keith:안녕하세요? Keith입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다.
(2) 윤설:안녕하세요? 윤설입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다.

(1) Keith: Hello, how do you do? I am Keith. It’s nice to meet you.
(2) Yunseol: Hello, how do you do? I am Yunseol. It’s nice to meet you.

In many cases, the dropping of subjects, or topics can be done for many sentences, not just the pronoun 저 (jeo - I).

Cultural Insights

•In Korean culture, it is customary for one to bow to another when greeting someone with “안녕하세요?” The bow is performed and the spoken greeting stated, simultaneously. Bowing is a gesture of respect and generally divided into three types: informal, formal, and very formal. The angle at which one bows increases (increased stooping) as the situation becomes more formal. A quick greeting with a peer would require a very slight bow. A nod would even suffice in this kind of informal situation. A formal conversation with strangers, like the one featured in today’s lesson, would require a formal bow (~15 degrees). A meeting with a potential set of Korean in-laws would most certainly call for very formal bow (>45 degrees).



Below is a list of the grammar points introduced or used in this lesson. Click for a full explanation.

은, 는 (1)
eun, neun (1)
topic maker, As for
-습니다, -ㅂ니다
to be (formal)

Lesson Transcript

Seol: 안녕하세요 윤설입니다.
Keith: Hi, everybody. This is Keith. This is Beginner Lesson 1 - Self Introduction. This is KoreanClass101.com. And this is our very first lesson ever. Aren’t you excited?
Seol: I’m very excited.
Keith: Yeah, me too. Me too. I’m really excited about this. So, today, we’d like to thank you for coming by and welcome you to the site. so Seol, can you please give us that in Korean?
Seol: 만나서 반갑습니다.
Keith: What does that mean exactly?
Seol: It’s, “happy to meet you.”
Keith: Happy to meet you. Yes, so we are welcoming you, welcoming you to our wonderful site and our wonderful lessons. And I hope all of you will really enjoy this. All right. A lot of you may not know me. I’m from SurvivalPhrases.com and I teach the Survival Korean Classes. And with me, I have Seol, which many of you probably don’t know either, but why don’t we introduce ourselves, huh?
Seol: Why don’t we do it in Korean?
Keith: Brilliant idea. Why don’t we just make it our first lesson? First lesson, first conversation. Here we go.

Lesson conversation

Keith: 안녕하세요? 저는 Keith입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다.
Seol: 안녕하세요? 저는 윤설입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다.
English Host: All right, all right. Why don’t we do that one more time, but this time, a little slower.
Keith: 안녕하세요? 저는 Keith입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다.
Seol: 안녕하세요? 저는 윤설입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다.
English Host: And this time, why don’t we do it normal speed, but with some English.
Keith: 안녕하세요 “hello”. 저는 키스입니다. I’m Keith. 처음 뵙겠습니다. It’s nice to meet you.
Seol: 안녕하세요.
Keith: Hello.
Seol: 저는 윤설입니다.
Keith: I’m Yun Seol.
Seol: 처음 뵙겠습니다.
Keith: It’s nice to meet you.
All right. So that was our first lesson. Seol, what did you think about it?
Seol: This is really formal, but this is, yeah, very useful I think.
Keith: Very useful? Okay. Do you think it’s very common?
Seol: Yes.
Keith: All right. Well, what did you think about the 저는 키스입니다? I personally felt a little strange because it was Korean and then you kind of got the English name in there and then it’s all mixed up and I don’t know.
Seol: That’s true. It’s really hard to pronounce your name.
Keith: Yeah. Is it really?
Seol: It is. It is.
Keith: Yeah? Okay. I guess a lot of people learning this will have to try to Koreanize their names, maybe?
Seol: Sure. They have to because Korean people have problem pronouncing your, you know, English names. So they have to change. Koreanize.
Keith: So what about me then? What’s...
Seol: Well, we don’t have TH sound. So...
Keith: Okay.
Seol: Well, your name would sound like 키스, like “kiss”, you know.
Keith: Whenever I meet Korean people, they’re always like “Kiss, kiss.” And I just feel...
Seol: Maybe they want to kiss you.
Keith: I have no problems with that if, you know, beautiful ladies and, or maybe not. Yeah, I just really don’t like hearing “kiss”. So what do you think I should do?
Seol: You should sound “Keith” as your name is “Keith”, but Korean people will Koreanize it anyway, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Keith: But I am worried. I don’t want them to Koreanize it, but okay. Do you think they should Koreanize it? Foreigners should Koreanize their names.
Seol: No, I don’t think foreigners have to Koreanize their name.
Keith: So what should they do if they have a name that’s difficult to pronounce?
Seol: Korean people will Koreanize the foreigner’s name so you don’t have to worry.
Keith: Okay, okay. All right. So let’s jump into the review.
Seol: 안녕하세요. [natural native speed]
Keith: Hello. Okay, so can you give it to us once again?
Seol: 안녕하세요. [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 안녕하세요. [natural native speed]
Keith: So, this basically means, “hello”, right?
Seol: That’s right.
Keith: You can use it pretty much, you know, in the morning, in the day, at night, any time you want to say “hello”, “hi”, right? All right. So, 안녕하세요.
Seol: 안녕하세요.
Keith: 안녕하세요.
Seol: 안녕하세요.
Keith: 안녕하세요. Okay. Next. Let’s go with the next one.
Seol: 저 [natural native speed]
Keith: Pronoun, “I” or “me”.
Seol: 저 [natural native speed]
Keith: All right, can you give it to us, one more time, slowly?
Seol 저 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Keith: 저 [natural native speed]. So one more time. What’s another pronoun that we use for “I”?
Seol: 나
Keith: 나. yes, and this is used pretty much in the same way as...
Seol: 저.
Keith: 저, right? The only difference here is it’s a humbling way of saying “I”. 저 is a humbling way. 나 is more casual.
Seol: That’s right.
Keith: Okay. So, 저 would be used when you’re meeting strangers, when you’re meeting someone of higher social ranking. Today’s lesson, we’re meeting each other for the first time or we’re supposed to be in this conversation, I guess. Yes, right? So we’re using 저 to be as polite as possible. What follows 저?
Seol: 는.
Keith: And 는 is a topic marking particle. We’ll get into more detail as the lessons go on. But, for now, let’s just kind of keep it together with 저. So together with 저 it would be...
Seol: 저는
Keith: Yes 저는.so what’s after that?
Seol: 윤설입니다.
Keith: 윤설입니다. All right. Can you break this down for us? What’s the first part?
Seol: 윤설
Keith: 윤설 now, what is this?
Seol: It’s my name.
Keith: Can you pronounce it for us, one more time? It might be a little difficult for some people pronounce.
Seol: Yun is my family name, and Seol is my first name. So Yun Seol.
Keith: Yun Seol. So the family name comes first before your given name, right?
Seol: That’s right.
Keith: And Yun Seol, your name is a little...
Seol: Strange.
Keith: No, well, not strange. It’s not typical. It’s not common.
Seol: Yeah, that’s not typical.
Keith: Can you explain to us what’s a common Korean name?
Seol: Usually, Korean people have three syllable name.
Keith: Okay.
Seol: Like, 김지영 or 박지훈.
Keith: Okay.
Seol: But I have just two syllable name like 윤설.
Keith: Yun Seol and Yun being your last name and Seol...
Seol: Is my first name.
Keith: Your first name. So, most Korean people, their first names are two syllables?
Seol: Yes.
Keith: And then, the family name. Most people are one syllable, right?
Seol: That’s true.
Keith: Okay. You know, I know some people, they have two syllable last names. Is that very common?
Seol: Not really. I would say it’s really uncommon.
Keith: Really uncommon. Okay. Well, how common is having a one syllable first name?
Seol: Well, 1 out of 10.
Keith: Wow, really? That many?
Seol: Well, 1 out of 20? I’m not sure.
Keith: Just changing the numbers. Okay. So, yes, all right. So that’s Yun Seol. Seol, what follows after that?
Seol: 입니다.

Lesson focus

Keith: 입니다. This is the focus of our lesson today. This, one more time. What is it?
Seol: 입니다.
Keith: This is the coppola the Korean coppola and this is roughly equivalent to the English verb “to be”. Now, what’s the last part of our phrase today, our introduction?
Seol: 처음 뵙겠습니다.
Keith: And this, this means, well what does this mean exactly?
Seol: It’s my first time to meet you.
Keith: “My first time to meet you.” It doesn’t really make a lot of sense in English, right? In English, we say, “how do you do?” Or “nice to meet you”. But a lot of times, you don’t even really mean it, you know. You just, “Nice to meet you?”, “How do you do?” and you don’t even expect a response. 처음 뵙겠습니다, same thing?
Seol: Yeah. It’s exactly the same. So when you say 처음 뵙겠습니다.to other people, then they would say, 처음 뵙겠습니다 again, or they would say, 만나서 뵙겠습니다.
Keith: Okay, okay. That’s great, Seol. That’s great. But, I think this might be a little too much.
Seol: Sure.
Keith: Okay. So maybe next time. Next lesson. So, to get to today’s main point, let’s go over the lines again, okay? So one more time. 안녕하세요? 저는 Keith입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다.
Seol: 안녕하세요? 저는 윤설입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다.
Keith: Okay. Yes. Notice how the only thing that changes between the two of our lines is Keith and...
Seol: Yun Seol.
Keith: Because I am Keith and she is Yun Seol, right? You can take out Keith, you can take out Yun Seol, you can put your name in. Okay, let’s do Brad Pitt. I want to be Brad Pitt. So...
Seol: Then I want to be Angelina Jolie.
Keith: Oh, all right. Perfect. Okay. 저는 브래드피트입니다.
Seol: 저는 안젤리나 졸리입니다.
Keith: All right. How about, who else can I do? So, here, 저는 something, something, 입니다 right? And what this translates to is, “I am something, something.” Seol, all right. So 저는 something, something 입니다. What are you? What are you?
Seol: 저는 학생입니다.
Keith: This means, “I am a student.” Can you give us the word for student again?
Seol: 학생. / 학-생
Keith: I’m meeting you for the first time. We’re on a blind date, okay and you don’t know me and I don’t know you. So why don’t you introduce yourself and what are you? I want to know everything about you.
Seol: 저는 윤설입니다. 저는 학생입니다.
Keith: “I am Yun Seol” and “I am a student.” Well, yeah, that’s a translation of course. Myself, I’m Brad Pitt, I’m a movie star.
Seol: Yeah.
Keith: You guys can’t see the look on her face, but yeah, she’s just, yeah. Okay. All right. That’s going to do it for today. Thank you for listening to KoreanClass101.com. Make sure you stop by KoreanClass101.com. There you’ll find the accompanying PDF. There you’ll find a learning center with review drills and tons of sample sentences and a lot of things to supplement this audio. And if you stop by, remember to leave us a post. See you later, which in Korean is...
Seol: 안녕!
Keith: 안녕!