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Lesson Transcript

Today, we will cover Korean table manners. In Korean culture, when you go out to eat in a group, the oldest person or a person of highest social status is expected to pay for the meal. For example, your co-workers all go out together. The boss is expected to pay. So when you go to dinner and you know that someone will be paying for you, we have the following phrase to express your gratitude. 잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokgetsseumnida). And let’s break it down by syllable 잘 먹-겠-습-니-다 (jal meok-get-sseum-ni-da). This phrase literally means, I will eat well. Now, this is said when all the food is laid out on the table and everybody is ready to dig in. So, be sure to say it and eat up.
The first part of the phrase is 잘 (jal) which means good or well. One time slowly, 잘 (jal). The second part of the phrase 먹겠습니다 (meokgetsseumnida) means will eat. The future tense of eat. One time slowly, it’s 먹겠습니다 (meokgetsseumnida). And now by syllable, 먹-겠-습-니-다 (meok-get-sseum-ni-da). I will eat well. I is inferred. Now that we got our pre-chow down phrase, we got to go over our post chow-down phrase. And this can be expressed by saying 잘 먹었습니다 (jal meogeotsseumnida). One time slowly, 잘 먹었습니다 (jal meogeotsseumnida). And now by syllable, 잘 먹-었-습-니-다 (jal meo-geot-sseum-ni-da). Now let’s hear it once again. 잘 먹었습니다 (jal megeotsseumnida). This phrase means, I ate well. Once again, the first part of the phrase is 잘 (jal) which means well. Now, the second part of the phrase 먹었습니다 (meogeotsseumnida) which means I ate. So literally well I ate but when we translate it, it’s I ate well.
Again, I is assumed. Remember, these two phrases are used whenever you are grateful when you receive a meal such as someone is paying for you. Someone invites you over and makes you dinner. Even if someone makes lunch or dinner for you every day, you can use this phrase. It’s used any time you want to express your gratitude for food. You say before you eat, 잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokgetsseumnida), and you say after you eat, 잘 먹었습니다 (jal meogeotsseumnida). Now, if you are the one making the meal or paying for the meal, you shouldn’t be saying these two phrases. Remember, it’s only when you receive a meal. Now, sharing really is caring in Korea. Older people like to take care of those younger than them and it’s almost expected.
When I was working in Korea, a few co-workers and I decided to go on a two-day ski trip. When our boss heard of this, he told us he would pay half and he wasn’t even going with us. This isn’t really typical but it’s not all that uncommon either. So, don’t be surprised if you are with somebody and they pay for your whole night.
Okay. To close our today’s lesson, we’d like for you to practice what you’ve learned. I will provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out loud. You will have a few seconds before I give you the answer. So 화이팅 (hwaiting)!
I will eat well - 잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokgetsseumnida).
I ate well - 잘 먹었습니다 (jal meogeotsseumnida).
All right, that’s going to do it for today.