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Korean (한국어 hangugeo or 한국말 hangugmal in South Korea, 조선말 chosŏnmal in North Korea and China, or 우리말 urimal (our language) as a neutral denomination) is spoken in South and North Korea, as well as parts of Northeast China (where it is an official language in Yanbian). It may be distantly related to Japanese, but is certainly entirely distinct from Chinese, although it uses large amounts of imported Chinese vocabulary.

Depending on which part of Korea you go to different dialects of Korean are spoken. The standard in South Korea is based on the Seoul dialect, which is spoken in Seoul and Gyeonggi province as well as the city of Kaesong in North Korea, while the standard in North Korea is based on the Pyongan dialect, which is spoken in Pyongyang as well as North and South Pyongan provinces. Other dialects include the Gyeongsang dialect spoken in Busan, Daegu, Ulsan and the provinces of North and South Gyeongsang, the Jeju dialect spoken on the island of Jeju, and the Hamgyong dialect spoken in North and South Hamgyong provinces. The dialects spoken by the ethnic Korean minority in China also differ by region, with those from Jilin mainly speaking the Hamgyong dialect, those from Liaoning mainly speaking the Pyongan dialect, and those from Heilongjiang mainly speaking the Gyeongsang dialect. This guide is based on the standard in South Korea.

The Korean language is fundamentally the same in North and South Korea, and speakers from both sides of the border are, for the most part, able to understand each other. The main differences lie in the loan words used to represent modern concepts, where South Koreans typically use English words, and North Koreans typically use the corresponding Russian words or create new words instead. The standard form of Korean used by the ethnic Korean minority in China mostly follows the North Korean standard, albeit with a significant number of loan words from Mandarin for modern concepts, though due to the popularity of South Korean dramas, most people also understand South Korean terms.

Handwritten hangeul in an advertisement



Korean sentence structure is very similar to that of Japanese, so speakers of Japanese will find many aspects of Korean grammar familiar, and vice versa. But there are similar but slight differences to the standardized pronunciations, and the Korean language, even after its simplification in the past century, has a wider library of vowels and consonants than Japanese, hence Japanese speakers may find it difficult to pronounce various words, let alone transcribe them.

Korean word order is subject-object-verb: "I-subject him-object see-verb." Subjects (especially I and you) are often omitted if these are clear from the context. This may seem awkward from an English perspective, but English too has colloquial 1st-person/2nd-person subject omissions, such as "[Are you] Done yet?" or "[I'm] Done." It is a matter of whether sentences are common enough that such lack of subjects doesn't confuse the listener. In turn, some English colloquial sentences without subjects may be confusing from a Korean standpoint.

There are no articles, genders, or declensions. It has extensive verb conjugations indicating tense and honorific level. There is a handy, universal plural form, but it is very often omitted.

Korean has postpositions instead of prepositions: jip mite, "house below" instead of "below the house."

Koreans refer to each other rather in terms like elder brother, elder sister, younger sibling, uncle, aunt, grandmother, grandfather, manager, teacher etc. (like Nepali or Chinese) than by using the word you. Additionally, it's not uncommon to refer to yourself by using such an expression ( example: "[I] Father will cook you a nice dinner." Which feels like saying "This father will..."). You can also call somebody an aunt, uncle or brother even if this person is actually not. Many Korean girls call even their boyfriend "oppa" (older brother).

Keep in mind that the words for older brother and older sister differ depending the gender of the subject. The word for older brother is 형 (hyeong) if the subject is male, and 오빠 (oppa) if the subject is female, while the word for older sister is 누나 (nuna) if the subject is male, and 언니 (eonni) if the subject is female.

Depending on the relation to the person you have conversation with, it's necessary to find the correct level of formality and politeness. If the person is considered to be higher in the hierarchy, a very polite and formal form has to be used, while this person will use a more "vernacular" form to address you as a lower person. Koreans often ask very personal questions (about your age, occupation, family status etc.) in order to find out in which form they should use when talking to you. This phrasebook assumes the highest formality level in most cases. Not only are words conjugated according to 6 existing levels of formality (but 2 are becoming unused), but a few words will also be replaced with different words altogether. Extremely formal places will often use some Chinese postal words as well.

Pronunciation guide


The good news is that unlike Chinese, Korean is not tonal, so you don't need to worry about changing your pitch to get the meaning right. The bad news is that Korean has a few too many vowels for comfort and small distinctions between many consonants, so pronouncing things exactly right is still a bit of a challenge.

This phrasebook uses the Revised Romanization of Korean, which is overwhelmingly the most popular system in South Korea. The McCune-Reischauer romanization, used in North Korea and older South Korean texts, is noted in parentheses when different.



Korean vowels can be short or long, but this is not indicated in writing and the distinction rarely if ever affects meaning. (example: 밤 bam, pronounced short means "night", pronounced long means "chestnut")

a ㅏ
like 'a' in "father"
o ㅗ
like 'o' in "tone"
eo (ŏ) ㅓ
like the "uh" in "lust"
u ㅜ
A low sound of "oo" as in "hoop". "woo" (Korean does not distinguish between "oo" and "woo").
eu (ŭ) ㅡ
like 'i' in "cousin", "dozen". Like the Turkish "ı", Polish "y" or Russian "ы". Kind of similar to the French "eu", but as a clearer, purer vowel sound.
i ㅣ
like the 'i' in "ship" (short) OR the 'ee' in "sheep" (long)
e ㅔ
like the 'e' in "bed"
ae ㅐ
similar to the "a" in "hand", "valve", "gas", and "can"
  • note: ㅐ ae is now virtually identically pronounced as ㅔ e. Only rare words are unconsciously pronounced differently like they were half a century ago ("애", or "child" is one such remnant).

Common diphthongs


Korean has two standalone diphthongs:

oe ㅚ
like 'we' in 'west' (it used to be a different sound, now pronounced the same as ㅞ shown below)
ui ㅢ
like 'ŭ' + 'i'

In addition, most vowels can be modified by prefixing them with 'y' or 'w':

wa ㅘ
like 'wa' sound in "suave"
wae ㅙ
like 'wa' in "wagon". Some would argue there is virtually no difference anymore from ㅞ.
wo ㅝ
like 'wuh' sound in "wonder"
wi ㅟ
like "we" or 'e' in "she" with rounded lips
we ㅞ
like 'we' in "west"
ya ㅑ
like 'ya' in "yard"
yo ㅛ
like 'yo' in "yosemite" or "New York". Not like "yaw" or "yoke".
yeo (yŏ) ㅕ
like 'you' in "young"
yu ㅠ
like "you"
ye ㅖ
like 'ye' in "yes"
yae ㅒ
like 'ye' in "yes"; it has virtually assimiliated to be the same as 'ㅖ'
  • to summarize the assimilated vowel diphthongs mentioned above,

ㅙ = ㅚ = ㅞ = 'we' in "west" ㅖ = ㅒ = 'ye' in "yes"



Most Korean consonants come in three versions, namely unaspirated (without a puff of air), aspirated (with a puff of air) and tensed (stressed). Unaspirated consonants exist in English too, but never alone: compare the sound of 'p' in "pot" (aspirated) and "spot" (unaspirated). Many English speakers find it helpful to pronounce an imperceptible little "m" in front to 'stop' the puff. Tensing isn't really found in English, but pronouncing the consonant quick and hard is a reasonable substitute.

b (p) ㅂ
like 'p' in "spit" (unaspirated)
p (p', ph) ㅍ
like 'p' in "pig" (aspirated)
pp ㅃ
tensed 'p', like 'p' in "petit" in French
d (t) ㄷ
like 't' in "stab" (unaspirated)
t (t', th) ㅌ
like 't' in "top" (aspirated)
tt ㄸ
tensed 't'
g (k) ㄱ
like 'k' in "skate" (unaspirated)
k (k', k) ㅋ
like 'c' in "cat" (aspirated)
kk ㄲ
tensed 'k'
j (ch) ㅈ
like 'g' in "gin" (unaspirated)
ch (ch') ㅊ
like 'ch' in "chin" (aspirated). Usually pronounced as a light aspiratd 't' as a final consonant
jj ㅉ
tensed 'j'
s ㅅ
like 's' in "soon", 'sh' before i or any "y" diphthong. Usually pronounced as a very light 't' as a final consonant
ss ㅆ
tensed 's', 's' in 'sea', never 'sh'

Standalone consonants:

n ㄴ
like 'n' in "nice"
m ㅁ
like 'm' in "mother"
l ㄹ
somewhere between 'l', 'r' and 'n', original sound is 'r' or 'l'. and 'n' sound occurs through initial consonant mutation.
h ㅎ
like 'h' in "help"
ng ㅇ
like 'ng' in "sing". Unpronounced (placeholder) when at the start of a syllable.

While the rules above are usually correct for the first consonant, those in the middle of a word are usually (but not always) voiced, which means that ㅂㄷㅈㄱ turn into English "b", "d", "j" and "k". The best rule of thumb is to concentrate on remembering that the first consonant is "special" and the rest are more or less as in English: bibimbap (비빔밥) is pronounced "pee-bim-bap", not "bee-bim-bap" or "p'ee-bim-bap". Also, if one syllable ends with a consonant other than "ng" and is immediately followed by one that starts with a vowel, similar to liaison in French, the final consonant of the first syllable is instead pronounced as if it were the initial consonant of the second syllable. If a syllable ends with "h" and is preceded by a syllable that ends in a consonant, the "h" is dropped, and the ending consonant of the previous syllable is pronounced as if it were the initial consonant of the second syllable.

The aspirated spellings with "h" are used only in the official North Korean orthography.



Native Korean words can end only in vowels or the consonants k, l, m, n, ng, p or t, and any words imported into Korean are shoehorned to fit this pattern, usually by padding any errant consonants with the vowel eu (ㅡ). For example, any English word ending in "t" will be pronounced as teu (트) in Korean, eg. Baeteumaen (배트맨) for "Batman". In addition, the English sound "f" is turned into p and has that vowel tacked on, so "golf" becomes golpeu (골프).

Written language


Useful Hanja

Hangul is the main script used in modern Korea, although the legacy of Hanja from the past remains relevant, and even South Koreans who claim to not know any hanja are usually able to recognize a few basic ones when prompted. You will sometimes see hanja in South Korea, for example at Buddhist temples or in newspaper headlines:

男 (남 nam)
女 (여/녀 yeo/nyeo)
大 (대 dae)
中 (중 jung)
小 (소 so)
水 (수 su)
山 (산 san)
寺 (사 sa)
Buddhist temple
街 (가 ga)
美國 (미국 miguk)
United States.
英國 (영국 yeongguk)
United Kingdom
中國 (중국 jungguk)
日本 (일본 ilbon)
韓國 (한국 hanguk)
South Korea, or the entire Korean peninsula
北韓 (북한 bukhan)
North Korea

The country names listed above are often shortened to just the first character in newspaper headlines.

Korean is generally written using a native alphabet known as hangul (chosongul in North Korea and China). Designed by a committee and rather scary-looking at first, it's in fact a very logical alphabetic writing system far easier than Chinese characters or even the Japanese kana syllabary, and it's well worth putting in the time to learn them if staying in Korea for more than a day or two.

The basic idea is simple: hangul consists of letters called jamo combined into square blocks, where each block represents a syllable. The block is always in the order (consonant)-vowel-(consonant), stacked from top to bottom, where ㅇ is used as the first jamo if the first consonant is missing, and the space for the last consonant can be left empty is missing. For example, the word Seoul (서울) consists of the syllables seo (ㅅ s plus ㅓ eo, no final consonant) and ul (ㅇ plus ㅜ u plus ㄹ l). Tensed consonants are created by doubling the jamo (ㅅ s → ㅆ ss) and y-vowel diphthongs have an extra dash tacked on (ㅏ a → ㅑ ya). And that's pretty much it!

Many Korean words can also be written using Chinese characters, known as hanja in Korean. These have largely been abolished in modern times, though they may still show up in restaurant menus and signs as an aesthetic choice. Sometimes they are also employed to aid Chinese-speaking Korean learners. Otherwise, the few times you might encounter them are in brackets next to the hangul to describe an unfamiliar term or distinguish a term from a homophone, in some newspaper headlines, and in some legal documents.

Importance of Hanja Disambiguation

In early 2009, approximately 15.5 thousand rail fasteners on KTX were found defective for failing their waterproof test. Why? Because the hangul term for "waterproof" and "water-absorption" is both written as 방수, and the contractor didn't provide hanja disambiguation. The manufacturer then used water-absorbent material on the tracks, and resulted in this incident.

It is worth noting that while Chinese characters are seldom written, many words themselves are Chinese words simply written as how they are pronounced — not according to the Mandarin pronunciation, but according to the standardized Korean pronunciation of those same Chinese characters used in China. Like Greek and Latin words in English, Chinese words are often found in the more formal and less vernacular sciences, and even more so with 19th-century new Chinese words coined by the Japanese, and used in both Korea and China. Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese speakers may find some familiarity with some of these overlapping Chinese terms, although pronunciations are different and Koreans only write out sounds and not the original Chinese characters. Although not nearly as much as Cantonese, Korean pronunciation of Chinese words retain more medieval Chinese pronunciations of the Tang dynasty some 1300 years ago, than the Manchurian-influenced modern Mandarin.

Due to American influences since the end of World War II, by far the largest number of non-Chinese loan words in modern Korean as spoken in South Korea come from American English. The Korean words for many modern concepts are essentially the same as the English ones (eg. hotel (호텔), taxi (택시), computer (컴퓨터)), but will be written in hangul. If you can learn how to read hangul, as an English speaker, you will find it surprisingly easy to read many signs.

Regional differences


The official pronunciation of words differs somewhat between North Korea and South Korea. One noticeable difference is that in initial "r" in North Korea typically gets dropped in South Korea when before an "i" or "y", and becomes an initial "n" otherwise, so Korean cold noodles is known as 랭면 raengmyeon in North Korea, but 냉면 naengmyeon in South Korea, while the common Korean surname typically transliterated as "Lee" in English is 리 Ri in North Korea, but 이 Yi in South Korea. The initial "n" in North Korea gets dropped when before and "i" or "y" in South Korea, so the word for "woman" is 녀자 nyeoja in North Korea, but 여자 yeoja in South Korea.

In addition to differences in accent, there are some vocabulary differences in the standard form of Korean language between South Korea and North Korea. One of the most noticeable differences is that South Koreans use many loan words from English due to heavy American influences since the end of World War II, while North Koreans will usually coin their own terms, or use loan words from Russian instead.

Ethnic Koreans from China generally follow the North Korean standard, though they are more likely than North Koreans to understand South Korean terms due to the popularity of South Korean dramas and pop culture in China. In addition, many loan words from Mandarin have been incorporated into the Korean language in China.

English South Korea North Korea Yanbian
ballpoint pen 볼펜 bolpen 원주필 wonjupil 원주필 wonjupil
battery 배터리 baeteori 전지 jeonji 전지 jeonji
tomato 토마토 tomato 일년감 illyeon'gam 일년감 illyeon'gam
computer 컴퓨터 keompyuteo 콤퓨터 kompyuteo 뗀노 ttenno
traditional Korean clothing 한복 hanbok 조선옷 joseonot 조선옷 joseonot

One other noticeable difference between the Korean language in South Korea, and that among the ethnic Korean minority in China is the way in which Chinese place names are translated. While South Koreans phonetically transliterate the Standard Mandarin names into hangul, ethnic Koreans from China instead use the Sino-Korean readings of the characters that make up those places' Chinese names. For example, Beijing is known to South Koreans as 베이징 (Beijing) but to ethnic Koreans from China as 북경 (Bukgyeong), while Shanghai is known to South Koreans as 상하이 (Sanghai) but to ethnic Koreans from China as 상해 (Sanghae). Therefore, Chinese cities with large ethnic Korean communities usually have a different local Korean name from the South Korean name; Yanji, a Chinese city known for its large ethnic Korean community, is known as 연길 (Yeon-gil) to the local ethnic Koreans, but 옌지 (Yenji) to South Koreans.

Phrase list


Common signs

In the list below, the hanja is written in parentheses next to the hangul for those terms that you might encounter in hanja in day-to-day life. These are among the few basic hanja that are still widely understood by South Koreans today, so you may see them in signs and menus on their own without the corresponding hangul.

열림 (yeollim)
닫힘 (dachim)
입구 (ipgu)
출구 (chulgu)
대 (大)・중 (中)・소 (小) (dae / jung / so)

Large / Medium / Small

미시오 (misio)
당기시오 (danggisio)
화장실 (hwajangsil)
남 (男) (nam)
여/녀 (女) (yeo/nyeo)
금지 (geumji)


Hello. (formal)
안녕하십니까. (annyeonghasimnikka) Common in North Korea, Yanbian, provincial South Korea.
안녕하세요. (annyeonghaseyo) Common in South Korea. to older people or to the people to meet first
Hello. (informal)
안녕. (annyeong) to your friend or younger people
Hello. (on the phone)
여보세요. (yeoboseyo) when you answer the phone.
How are you?
어떻게 지내십니까? (eotteoke jinaesimnikka?)
Fine, thank you.
잘 지냅니다, 감사합니다. (jal jinaemnida, gamsahamnida)
What is your name?
성함이 어떻게 되세요? (seonghami eotteoke doeseyo?)
My name is ______ .
제 이름은 ______입니다. (je ireumeun ____ imnida)
Nice to meet you.
만나서 반갑습니다. (mannaseo ban-gapseumnida)
부탁합니다. (butakamnida)
Thank you.
감사합니다. (gamsahamnida)
You're welcome.
천만입니다. (cheonmanimnida)
예/네. (ye/ne)
아니요. (aniyo)
Excuse me. (getting attention)
실례합니다. (sill(y)e hamnida)
I'm sorry.
죄송합니다. (joesonghamnida)
안녕히 가십시오/계십시오. (annyeonghi gasipsio/gyesipsio). The former expression is used by the person staying (e.g. the host), the latter by the person leaving (e.g. a guest).
Goodbye (informal)
안녕. (annyeong)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
여기에 영어를 하시는 분 계십니까? (yeogie yeong-eoreul hasineun bun gyesimnikka?)
Please speak slowly.
천천히 말해 주십시오. (cheoncheonhi malhae jusipsio)
Please say it again.
다시 한번 말해 주십시오. (dasi hanbeon malhae jusipsio)
I can't speak {language} [well].
저는 {언어를} [잘] 못합니다. (jeoneun {eoneoreul} [jal] motamnida)
I can't speak English [well].
저는 영어를 [잘] 못합니다. (jeoneun yeong-eoreul [jal] motamnida)
Do you speak {language}?
____를 하십니까? (____reul hasimnikka?)
영어 (Yeong-eo)
독일어 (Dogireo)
프랑스어 (Peurangseueo)
한국어 (Han-gugeo) (formal in South Korea) / 한국말 (Hangug-mal) (colloquial in South Korea) / 조선말 (Joseon-mal) (in North Korea and Yanbian)
중국어 (Junggugeo) / 중국말 (Junggugmal)
일본어 (Ilboneo)
Yes, a little.
네, 조금만요. (ne, jogeummanyo)
도와주십시오! (dowajusipsio!), 도와주세요! (dowajuseyo!)
Look out!
조심하십시오! (josimhasipsio!), 조심하세요! (josimhaseyo!)
Good morning.
좋은 아침입니다. (jo-eun achimimnida)
Good evening.
좋은 저녁입니다. (jo-eun jeonyeogimnida)
Good night.
좋은 밤입니다. (jo-eun bamimnida)
Good night (to sleep)
안녕히 주무십시오. (annyeonghi jumusipsio)
I don't understand.
이해가 안 갑니다. (ihaega an gamnida)
Where is the toilet?
화장실이 어디에 있습니까? (hwajangsiri eodie itseumnikka?)
무엇입니까? (mueosimnikka?)
어디입니까? (eodiimnikka?)
누구입니까? (nuguimnikka?)
언제입니까? (eonjeimnikka?)
어느 것입니까? (eoneu geosimnikka?)
How much?
얼마나요? (eolmanayo?)
How do you say _____ in Korean?
_____은 한국말로 어떻게 말합니까? (____eun Han-gungmallo eotteoke malhamnikka?)
What is this/that called?
이것은/저것은 무엇이라고 부릅니까? (igeoseun/jeogeoseun mueosirago bureumnikka?)


Leave me alone.
혼자 내버려 두십시오. (honja naebeoryeo dusipsio)
Don't touch me!
만지지 마십시오! (manjiji masipsio!), 만지지 마! (manjiji ma!, informal)
I'll call the police.
경찰을 부르겠습니다! (gyeongchareul bureugetseumnida!)
경찰! (gyeongchal!)
Stop! Thief!
서라! 도둑이야! (seora! dodugiya!)
I need your help.
당신의 도움이 필요합니다. (dangsinui doumi piryohamnida)
It's an emergency.
응급 상황입니다. (eunggeup sanghwang-imnida)
I'm lost.
길을 잃었습니다. (gireul ireotseumnida)
I lost my bag.
가방을 잃었습니다. (gabang-eul ireotseumnida)
I lost my wallet.
지갑을 잃었습니다. (jigabeul ireotseumnida)
I'm sick.
아픕니다. (apeumnida)
I've been injured.
상처를 입었습니다. (sangcheoreul ibeotseumnida)
I need a doctor.
의사가 필요합니다. (uisaga piryohamnida)
Can I use your phone?
당신의 전화기를 사용해도 되겠습니까? (dangsinui jeonhwagireul sayonghaedo doegetseumnikka?)



Korean has two sets of numbers, namely native Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers (which are borrowed from Chinese). Both come in handy, but in a pinch, the Sino-Korean series is more important to learn.

Sino-Korean numbers


Sino-Korean numbers are used for amounts of currency, reading a sequence of numbers (e.g. telephone numbers, ID card numbers or serial numbers), floor numbers and the 24-hour clock.

공 (gong) / 영 (yeong)
일 (il)
이 (i)
삼 (sam)
사 (sa)
오 (o)
육 (yuk)
칠 (chil)
팔 (pal)
구 (gu)
십 (sip)
십일 (sibil)
십이 (sibi)
십삼 (sipsam)
십사 (sipsa)
십오 (sibo)
십육 (simnyuk)
십칠 (sipchil)
십팔 (sippal)
십구 (sipgu)
이십 (isip)
이십일 (isibil)
이십이 (isibi)
이십삼 (isipsam)
삼십 (samsip)
사십 (sasip)
오십 (osip)
육십 (yuksip)
칠십 (chilsip)
팔십 (palsip)
구십 (gusip)
백 (baek)
이백 (ibaek)
삼백 (sambaek)
천 (cheon)
이천 (icheon)
만 (man)
십만 (simman)
1,000,000 (one million)
백만 (baengman)
천만 (cheonman)
억 (eok)
1,000,000,000 (one billion)
십억 (sibeok)
백억 (baegeok)
천억 (cheoneok)
1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion)
조 (jo)
십조 (sipjo)
백조 (baekjo)
천조 (cheonjo)
경 (gyeong)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.)
_____ 번 (열차, 버스, etc.) (beon (yeolcha, beoseu, etc.))
반 (ban)
덜 (deol)
더 (deo)

Native Korean numbers


Native Korean numbers are used for counting, specifying most quantities (with the relevant counting words) and for hours.

Counting words

When counting objects, Korean uses special counter words. For example, "two beers" is maekju dubyeong (맥주 2병), where du is "two" and -byeong means "bottles". There are many counters, but the most useful ones are myeong (명) for people, jang (장) for papers including tickets, and gae (개) for pretty much anything else (which is not always strictly correct, but will usually be understood and is growing in colloquial usage).

objects (apples, sweets)
-myeong, 분 -bun (polite)
flat paper-like objects (papers, tickets, pages)
bottles (or other glass or ceramic containers for liquid with a narrow mouth)
cups, glasses
마리 -mari
machines (cars, computers)
long objects (pens, rifles)
자루 -jaru
small boxes (cigarettes, etc.)
large boxes
상자 -sangja
그루 -geuru
letters, telegrams, phone calls, e-mails
bunches of things such as flowers
송이 -song-i
years (age)

Note that when combined with a counting word, the last letter of numbers 1 through 4 as well as 20 is dropped: one person is han myeong (hana+myeong), two tickets is du jang (dul+jang), three things is se gae (set+gae), four things is ne gae (net+gae), twenty things is seumu gae (seumul+gae).

하나 (hana)
둘 (dul)
셋 (set)
넷 (net)
다섯 (daseot)
여섯 (yeoseot)
일곱 (ilgop)
여덟 (yeodeol)
아홉 (ahop)
열 (yeol)
열하나 (yeolhana)
스물 (seumul)
서른 (seoreun)
마흔 (maheun)
쉰 (swin)
예순 (yesun)
일흔 (ilheun)
여든 (yeodeun)
아흔 (aheun)

Numbers 100 and above are always counted with Sino-Korean numbers.


지금 (jigeum)
나중에 (najung-e)
전에 (jeone)
후에 (hue)
아침 (achim)
오후 (ohu)
저녁 (jeonyeok)
밤 (bam)
새벽 (saebyeok)

Clock time

one o'clock AM
오전 한 시 (ojeon han si)
two o'clock AM
오전 두 시 (ojeon du si)
정오 (jeong-o)
one o'clock PM
오후 한 시 (ohu han si)
two o'clock PM
오후 두 시 (ohu du si)
자정 (jajeong)



Sino-Korean numbers are used to count minutes and days, while native Korean numbers are used to count hours. Months and years may be counted using either system, depending on which counter is used, while both systems can be used interchangeably to count weeks. However, durations from 1 day to 10 days, as well as 15 days and 30 days, have special words that are commonly used instead of the regular forms stated here.

_____ minute(s)
_____ 분 (___ bun)
_____ hour(s)
_____ 시간 (___ sigan)
_____ day(s)
_____ 일 (___ il)
_____ week(s)
_____ 주 (___ ju) / _____ 주일 (___ ju-il)
_____ month(s)
_____ 달 (___ dal) / _____ 개월 (___ gaewol)
Note: 달 is used with native Korean numbers, while 개월 is used with Sino-Korean numbers
_____ year(s)
_____ 년 (___ nyeon) / _____ 해 (___ hae)
Note: 년 is used with Sino-Korean numbers, while 해 is used with native Korean numbers
Number of days
1 day
하루 (ha-ru)
2 days
이틀 (i-teul)
3 days
사흘 (sa-heul)
4 days
나흘 (na-heul)
5 days
닷새 (dat-sae)
6 days
엿새 (yeot-sae)
7 days
이레 (i-re)
8 days
여드레 (yeo-deu-re)
9 days
아흐레 (a-heu-re)
10 days
열흘 (yeo-reul)
15 days
보름 (bo-reum)
30 days
그믐 (geu-meum)


오늘 (oneul)
어제 (eoje)
내일 (naeil)
the day before yesterday
그저께 (geujeokke)
the day after tomorrow
모레 (more)
this week
이번 주 (ibeon ju)
last week
지난 주 (jinan ju)
next week
다음 주 (da-eum ju)

Days of the week

일요일 (iryoil)
월요일 (woryoil)
화요일 (hwayoil)
수요일 (suyoil)
목요일 (mogyoil)
금요일 (geumyoil)
토요일 (toyoil)

Days of the month


The days of the month in Korean are just the Sino-Korean numbers for 1-31 followed by the word 일 (il, meaning "day")

First day of the month
1일 (i-ril)
Second day of the month
2일 (i-il)
Third day of the month
3일 (sa-mil)
Fourth day of the month
4일 (sa-il)



The names of the months in Korean are simply the Sino-Korean numbers 1 through 12 followed by the word 월 (wol, meaning "month").

1월 (일월) irol
2월 (이월) iwol
3월 (삼월) samwol
4월 (사월) sawol
5월 (오월) owol
6월 (유월) yuwol
7월 (칠월) chirwol
8월 (팔월) parwol
9월 (구월) guwol
10월 (시월) siwol
11월 (십일월) sibirwol
12월 (십이월) sibiwol
  • The number component of 6월 and 10월 drop the final consonant for purposes of liaison.

Writing time and date


Koreans generally write the date in format (e.g. 2006.12.25 for December 25th, 2006).

October 4th, 2019

2019년 10월 4일 (이천십구년 시월 사일) icheon-sipgunyeon siwol sa-il (____year, _____month, ____day)


검은색 (geomeunsaek)
흰색 (huinsaek)
회색 (hoesaek)
빨간색 (ppalgansaek) / 붉은색 ( bulgeunsaek )
파란색 (paransaek) / 푸른색 ( pureunsaek )
노란색 (noransaek)
초록색 (choroksaek)
주황색 (juhwangsaek)
자주색 (jajusaek)
갈색 (galsaek)
금색 (geumsaek)
은색 (eunsaek)


Old downtown, Yongin

Bus and train

How much is a ticket to _____?
_____로 가는 표가 얼마입니까? (_____ro ganeun pyoga eolmaimnikka?)
One ticket to _____, please.
_____로 가는 표 한 장이요. (_____ro ganeun pyo han jang-iyo)
Where does this train/bus go?
이 기차/버스는 어디로 갑니까? (i gicha/beoseu-neun eodiro gamnikka?)
Where is the train/bus to _____?
_____에 가는 기차/버스는 어디에 있습니까? (_____e ganeun gicha/beoseuneun eodi-e itseumnikka?)
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
이 기차/버스는 _____에 섭니까? (i gicha/beoseu-neun _____e seomnikka?)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
_____에 가는 기차/버스는 언제 출발합니까? (_____e ganeun gicha/beoseu-neun eonje chulbalhamnikka?)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
이 기차/버스는 _____에 언제 도착합니까? (i gicha/beoseu-neun _____e eonje dochakamnikka?)


Gas station with Korean roof, Gyeongju
How do I get to _____ ?
_____에 가려면 어떻게 해야 합니까? (____e garyeomyeon eotteoke haeya hamnikka?)
...the train station?
기차역...? (gichayeok...?)
...the bus station?
버스 정류장...? (beoseu jeongnyujang...?)
...the airport?
공항...? (gonghang...?)
시내...? (sinae...?)
...the youth hostel?
유스 호스텔...? (yuseu hoseutel...?)
...the _____ hotel?
_____ 호텔...? (____ hotel...?)
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?
미국/캐나다/호주/영국 영사관...? (miguk/kaenada/hoju/yeongguk yeongsagwan...?)
Where are there a lot of...
...이 많은 곳은 어디에 있습니까? (...i maneun goseun eodie itseumnikka?)
호텔...? (hotel...?)
식당...? (sikdang...?)
술집...? (suljip...?)
...sites to see?
볼거리들...? (bolgeorideul...?)
Is it far from here?
여기서 멉니까? (yeogiseo meomnikka?)
Can you show me on the map?
지도에 보여 주시겠습니까? (...jido-e boyeo jusigetseumnikka?)
길 (gil)
Turn left.
왼쪽으로 도십시오. (oenjjogeuro dosipsio)
Turn right.
오른쪽으로 도십시오. (oreunjjogeuro dosipsio)
왼쪽 (oenjjok)
오른쪽 (oreunjjok)
straight ahead
곧장 가십시오. (gotjang gasipsio)
towards the _____
_____를 향해. (_____reul hyanghae)
past the _____
_____를 지나. (_____reul jina)
before the _____
_____ 전에. (_____ jeone)
Watch for the _____.
_____를 기다리십시오. (_____reul gidarisipsio)
교차로 (gyocharo)
고속도로 (gosokdoro)
3-way crossing
삼거리 (samgeori)
4-way crossing
사거리 (sageori)
5-way crossing
오거리 (ogeori)
북 (buk)
남 (nam)
동 (dong)
서 (seo)
오르막길 (oreumakgil)


택시! (taeksi!)
Take me to _____, please.
_____로 데려가 주십시오. (____ro deryeoga jusipsio), _____로 가 주세요. (____ro ga juseyo.)
How much does it cost to get to _____?
_____까지는 (요금이) 얼마입니까? (____kkajineun (yogeumi) eolmaimnikka?)
Take me there, please.
저기에 데려가 주십시오. (jeogie deryeoga jusipsio'.)


Do you have any rooms available?
방 있습니까? (bang itseumnikka?)
How much is a room for one person/two people?
한 사람/두 사람당 방이 얼마입니까? (han saram/du saram-dang bang-i eolmaimnikka?)
Does the room come with...
그 방에는 ...이/가 있습니까? (geu bang-eneun ...i/ga itseumnikka?)
침대보 (chimdaebo), 침대 시트 (chimdae siteu)
...a bathroom?
화장실 (hwajangsil)
...a telephone?
전화기 (jeonhwagi)
...a TV?
티비 (tibi)
May I see the room first?
방을 먼저 봐도 되겠습니까? (bang-eul meonjeo bwado doegetseumnikka?)
Do you have anything...
... 방 있습니까? (...bang itseumnikka?)
더 조용한... (deo joyonghan...)
더 큰... (deo keun...)
더 넓은... (deo neolbeun...)
더 깨끗한... (deo kkaekkeutan...)
더 싼... (deo ssan...)
OK, I'll take it.
좋습니다, 그것으로 하겠습니다. (joseumnida, geugeoseuro hagetseumnida)
I will stay for _____ night(s).
_____ 밤 묵겠습니다. (_____ bam mukgetseumnida)
Can you suggest another hotel?
다른 호텔을 권해 주시겠습니까? (dareun hotereul gwonhae jusigetseumnikka?)
Do you have a safe?
금고 있습니까? (geumgo itseumnikka?)
...자물쇠? (...jamulsoe?)
Is breakfast/supper included?
아침식사/저녁식사 가 됩니까? (achimsiksa/jeonyeoksiksa ga doemnika?)
What time is breakfast/supper?
아침식사/저녁식사 는 몇 시입니까? (achimsiksa/jeonyeoksiksa neun myeot siimnikka?)
Please clean my room.
방을 청소해 주십시오. (bang-eul cheongsohae jusipsio)
Can you wake me at _____?
_____ 시에 깨워주시겠습니까? (_____ si-e kkaewojusigetseumnikka?)
I want to check out.
체크 아웃하고 싶습니다. (chekeu autago sipseumnida)


Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars?
미국/오스트레일리아/캐나다 달러 받으십니까? (miguk/oseuteureillia/kaenada dalleo badeusimnikka?)
Do you accept British pounds?
영국 파운드 받으십니까? (yeongguk paundeu badeusimnikka?)
Do you accept credit cards?
신용 카드 받으십니까? (sinyong kadeu badeusimnikka?)
Can you change money for me?
환전해 주시겠습니까? (hwanjeonhae jusigetseumnikka?)
Where can I get money changed?
어디에서 환전할 수 있습니까? (eodieseo hwanjeonhal su itseumnikka?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me?
여행자 수표를 현금으로 바꿔주시겠습니까? (yeohaengja supyoreul hyeon-geumeuro bakkwojusigetseumnikka?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed?
어디에서 여행자 수표를 현금으로 바꿀 수 있습니까? (eodieseo yeohaengja supyoreul hyeon-geumeuro bakkul su itseumnikka?)
What is the exchange rate?
환율이 얼마입니까? (hwanyuri eolmaimnikka?)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
현금 자동 지급기가 어디에 있습니까? (hyeon-geum jadong jigeupgiga eodie itseumnikka?)


A table for one person/two people, please.
한 사람/두 사람 테이블 부탁합니다. (han saram/du saram teibeul butakamnida)
Can I look at the menu, please?
메뉴를 봐도 되겠습니까? (menyureul bwado doegetseumnikka?)
Can I look in the kitchen?
부엌을 봐도 되겠습니까? (bueokeul bwado doegetseumnikka?)
Is there a house specialty?
이 집의 추천 요리가 있습니까? (i jibui chucheon yoriga itseumnikka?)
Is there a local specialty?
이 지역의 대표 요리가 있습니까? (i jiyeogui daepyo yoriga itseumnikka?)
I'm a vegetarian.
저는 채식주의자입니다. (jeoneun chaesikjuuijaimnida)
Because of this, I don't eat the following.
저는 그래서 이런 것이 들어간 음식을 먹지 않습니다. (jeoneun geuraeseo ireon geosi deureogan eumsigeul meokji anseumnida)
I don't eat pork.
저는 돼지고기를 먹지 않습니다. (jeoneun dwaejigogireul meokji anseumnida)
I don't eat beef.
저는 소고기를 먹지 않습니다. (jeoneun sogogireul meokji anseumnida)
I only eat kosher food.
저는 코셔 음식만 먹습니다. (jeoneun Kosyeo eumsingman meokseumnida)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard)
... (..)
fixed-price meal
정가 음식 (jeongga eumsik)
à la carte
... (..)
아침 식사 (achim siksa)
점심 식사 (jeomsim siksa)
tea (meal)
차 (cha)
저녁 식사 (jeonyeok siksa)
I want _____.
저는 _____을 원합니다. (jeoneun _____eul wonhamnida)
I want a dish containing _____.
저는 _____[이/가] 들어간 요리를 먹고 싶습니다. (jeoneun ____[i/ga] deureogan yorireul meokgo sipseumnida)
고기 (gogi)
소고기 (sogogi)
돼지고기 (dwaejigogi)
햄 (haem)
소시지 (sosiji)
닭고기/치킨 (dakgogi/chikin)
달걀/계란 (dalgyal/gyeran)
해물 (haemul)
생선 (saengseon)
새우 (sae-u)
조개 (jogae)
crab meat
게살 (gesal)
오징어 (ojing-eo)
baby octopus
꼴뚜기 (kkolttugi)
dairy products
유제품 (yujepum)
우유 (uyu)
크림 (keurim)
치즈 (chijeu)
버터 (beoteo)
요구르트 (yogureuteu)
마요네즈 (mayonejeu)
국물 (gungmul)
(fresh) vegetables
(신선한) 야채 ((sinseonhan) yachae)
(fresh) fruit
(신선한) 과일 ((sinseonhan) gwa-il)
샐러드 (saelleodeu)
빵 (ppang)
토스트 (toseuteu)
국수 (guksu)
밥 (bap)
콩 (kong)
May I have a glass of _____?
_____ 한 잔 주시겠습니까? (____ han jan jusigetseumnikka?)
May I have a cup of _____?
_____ 한 컵 주시겠습니까? (____ han keop jusigetseumnikka?)
May I have a bottle of _____?
_____ 한 병 주시겠습니까? (____ han byeong jusigetseumnikka?)
커피 (keopi)
tea (drink)
차 (cha)
주스 (juseu)
(sparkling) water
탄산수 (tansansu)
물 (mul)
맥주 (maekju)
red/white wine
레드/화이트 와인 (redeu/hwaiteu wain), 적/백 포도주 (jeok/baek podoju)
May I have some _____?
_____을/를 좀 주시겠습니까? (____eul/reul jom jusigetseumnikka?)
소금 (sogeum)
black pepper
후추 (huchu)
양념/소스 (yangnyeom/soseu)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
여기요? (Literally, this means "Here." (yeogiyo?))
(when starting a meal)
잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokgetseumnida)
I'm finished.
다 먹었습니다. (da meogeotseumnida)
It was delicious.
맛있었습니다. (masisseotseumnida)
Please clear the plates.
접시를 치워주십시오. (jeopsireul chiwojusipsio)
The check, please.
계산서 부탁합니다. (gyesanseo butakamnida)


Do you serve alcohol?
술 팔립니까? (sul pallimnikka?)
Is there table service?
테이블로 갖다주십니까? (teibeul-ro gattajusimnikka?)
A beer/two beers, please.
맥주 한/두 병 부탁합니다. (maekju han/du byeong butakamnida)
A glass of red/white wine, please.
적/백 포도주 한 잔 부탁합니다. (jeok/baek podoju han jan butakamnida)
One liter, please.
일 리터 부탁합니다. (il-riteo butakamnida.)
A bottle, please.
한 병 부탁합니다. (han byeong butakamnida)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.
... (..)
위스키 (wiseuki)
보드카 (bodeuka)
럼 (reom)
물 (mul)
club soda
탄산수 (tansansu)
tonic water
탄산 음료 (tansan eumnyo)
orange juice
오렌지 주스 (orenji juseu)
Coke (soda)
콜라 (kolla)
Do you have any bar snacks?
안주 있습니까? (anju isseumnikka?)
One more, please.
한 개 더 부탁합니다. (han gae deo butakamnida)
Another round, please.
한 잔 더 주세요. (han jan deo juseyo)
When is closing time?
언제 닫으십니까? (eonje dadeusimnikka?)


Namdaemun Market in Seoul is Korea's largest street market.
Do you have this in my size?
이것으로 제 사이즈와 맞는 것 있습니까? (igeoseuro je saijeuwa manneun geot itseumnikka?)
How much is this?
이것은 얼마입니까? (igeoseun eolmaimnikka?)
That's too expensive.
너무 비쌉니다. (neomu bissamnida)
Would you take _____?
_____ 받으십니까? (_____ badeusimnikka?), _____도 됩니까? (_____do doemnikka?)
비싼 (bissan)
싼 (ssan)
I can't afford it.
그것을 살 여유가 없습니다. (geugeoseul sal yeoyuga eopseumnida)
I don't want it.
그것을 원하지 않습니다. (geugeoseul wonhaji anseumnida)
You're cheating me.
속이지 마세요. (sogiji maseyo)
I'm not interested.
관심 없습니다. (gwansim eopseumnida.)
OK, I'll take it.
좋습니다, 사겠습니다. (joseumnida, sagetseumnida)
Can I have a bag?
가방을 살 수 있습니까? (gabang-eul sal su itseumnikka?)
Do you ship (overseas)?
(해외로) 발송합니까? ((hae-oero) balsonghamnikka?)
I need...
저는 ...이 필요합니다 (jeoneun ...i piryohamnida)
...치약. (...chiyak)
...a toothbrush.
...칫솔. (...chitsol)
...탐폰. (...tampon)
...비누. (...binu)
...샴푸. (...syampu)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen)
...진통제. (아스피린 or 항 염증제) (...jintongje. (aseupirin or hang yeomjeungje))
...cold medicine.
...감기약. (...gamgiyak)
...stomach medicine.
...위약. (...wiyak)
...a razor.
...면도기. (...myeondogi) umbrella.
...우산. (...usan)
...sunblock lotion.
...햇볕 차단 로션. (...haeppyeot chadan rosyeon)
...a postcard.
...우편엽서. (...upyeonnyeopseo)
...postage stamps.
...우표. (...upyo)
...전지. (...jeonji) / 배터리 (...baeteori)
...writing paper.
...편지지. (...pyonjiji)
...a pen.
...펜. (...pen)
...English-language books.
...영자 책. (...yeongja chaek), ...영어로 된 책. (...yeong-eoro doen chaek)
...English-language magazines.
...영자 잡지. (...yeongja japji), ...영어 잡지. (...yeong-eo japji) English-language newspaper.
...영자 신문. (...yeongja sinmun), ...영어 신문. (...yeong-eo sinmun) English-English dictionary.
...영영 사전. (...yeong-yeong sajeon)


I want to rent a car.
차를 빌리고 싶습니다. (chareul billigo sipseumnida)
Can I get insurance?
보험을 들 수 있습니까? (boheomeul deul su isseumnikka?)
stop (on a street sign)
정지 (jeongji)
one way
일방 통행 (ilbang tonghaeng)
양보 (yangbo)
위험 (wiheom)
no parking
주차 금지 (jucha geumji)
speed limit
속도 제한 (sokdo jehan)
Children Protection Zone
어린이 보호구역 (eorini bohoguyeok), 어린이보호 (eoriniboho, usually on signs)
___ kilometers per hour
시속 ___킬로미터 (sisok ___killomiteo)
gas (petrol) station
주유소 (juyuso)
휘발유 (hwiballyu)
디젤유 (dijellyu)


North Korean border guards, Panmunjeom
I haven't done anything wrong.
저는 잘못한 것이 없습니다. (jeoneun jalmotan geosi eopseumnida)
It was a misunderstanding.
그것은 오해였습니다. (geugeoseun ohaeyeotseumnida)
Where are you taking me?
저를 어디로 데려가십니까? (jeoreul eodiro deryeogasimnikka?)
Am I under arrest?
저는 체포됩니까? (jeoneun chepodoemnikka?)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
저는 미국/호주/영국/캐나다 국민입니다. (jeoneun miguk/hoju/yeongguk/kaenada gungminimnida)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.
미국/호주/영국/캐나다 대사관/영사관 에 이야기하고 싶습니다. (miguk/hoju/yeongguk/kaenada daesagwan/yeongsagwan e iyagihago sipseumnida)
I want to talk to a lawyer.
변호사에게 이야기하고 싶습니다. (byeonhosa-ege iyagihago sipseumnida)
Can I just pay a fine now?
지금 벌금을 내도 되겠습니까? (jigeum beolgeumeul naedo doegetseumnikka?)
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