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Lesson Transcript

In today’s lesson, we will learn how to respond to 고맙습니다 (gomapseumnida) or in English, thank you. You are welcome in Korean is 천만에요 (cheonman-eyo). One time slowly, it’s 천만에요 (cheonman-eyo). And now once by syllable, it’s 천만에요 (cheonman-eyo). This phrase means something along the lines of, don’t mention it, not at all. Don’t worry about it, don’t sweat it, it’s no big deal, but my apologies, I make it sound like it’s a very casual expression. This is the total opposite. 천만에요 (cheonman-eyo) is a very polite and respectful phrase. This is used towards someone of higher social ranking. This is a very formal phrase. Because this phrase is so formal, there is another phrase which is very similar in meaning and carries a similar connotation.
This phrase is 아니에요 (ani-eyo). One time slowly, it’s 아니에요 (ani-eyo). And now by syllable, 아니에요 (ani-eyo). This phrase is actually the negative copula which basically means it translates into, is not but this basically has a same meaning and nuance as 천만에요 (cheonman-eyo), except not as formal. Let’s hear it once again slowly, 아니에요 (ani-eyo). Both phrases carry the connotation that you are deflecting someone’s gratitude and trying to be humble. So both of these phrases can be translated as not at all but not like, oh I am such a good guy, don’t worry about it. Not at all. It’s not like that. It’s more like, no, no, no it wasn’t much really. It’s nothing really. You see the difference.
Okay, this constant humbling of oneself is part of Korean culture. In Korean culture, it’s rude to brag and boast. People will try to humble themselves. If you’ve cured the common cold, and someone tells you that you are smart, it may be probable to hear 아니에요 (ani-eyo), telling the other person, no I am not. Humbling yourself will score you some big points in Korea. Okay, to close out 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)!
You are welcome or not at all, the formal one - 천만에요 (cheonman-eyo)
The informal, you are welcome or not at all - 아니에요 (ani-eyo)
All right, that’s going to do it for today.