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Very Basic Survival Korean
« on: July 07, 2008, 01:45:24 pm »
This is for newcomers or those who have not learned Korean script yet.  It's just a few basic phrases for general, daily communication.  These phrases have served me well and my brother used them when he visited - they definitely help and you can carry the sheet around.


  • social benthos
  • Newgookin

    • 2

    • September 01, 2008, 03:04:39 pm
    • Suwon, Republic of Korea
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2008, 03:11:25 pm »
I just arrived in Suwon from Halifax, so this should be quite useful to me. Thanks!


  • lisadream
  • Veteran

    • 104

    • July 23, 2008, 08:03:57 am
    • Suncheon, South Korea
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2009, 05:13:25 pm »
Just an edit suggestion...."Chuseyo" or "Juseyo" means "give me please", not just "please". The "seyo" part is the actual "please" and can be added to any verb to make it more polite ie: go = kayo, so "please go" = Kaseyo.  :)


  • Brian
  • Featured Contributor

    • 735

    • September 19, 2006, 01:07:56 pm
    • Pittsburgh / Jeollanam-do
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 09:20:27 pm »
It's great to see how many resources are available to learners now compared to even a few years ago.  If you're dedicated enough, Google can be your friend in finding some basic Korean.  But beware, there's a lot of bad information, poor romanization, and just plain wrong phrases and translations out there. 

If you're back home looking to learn some basic phrases and vocabulary, the best little guide I've ever encountered was the Lonely Planet guide to the Korean language.  I checked it out from my local public library in Pittsburgh, and it provides not only a lot of the vocabulary you'll need in daily life, but helps you learn some basic grammar that'll allow you to be a little more versatile and creative. 

It is imperative that you learn how to read the Korean alphabet.  Not only is it disrespectful and rude for you not to make the effort, but it will make things infinitely easier as you live in Korea.  Not only that, but you'll be able to unlock more Korean-learning resources, because unfortunately the romanization used is often poor, inconsistent, and thus incorrect.  The best way to practice reading and vocabulary is to sit down with a guide like Lonely Planet or whatever, and find simple words with basic vowel/consonant combinations. 
나무 - tree
차 - tea
개 - dog
And so on, until you get the hang of it. 
In Korea from 2005 - 2010, not in Korea now.  Please contact an active moderator for quick answers to your questions.

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  • Scott
  • Adventurer

    • 42

    • March 27, 2009, 07:58:38 pm
    • Suncheon-Si
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2009, 10:59:55 am »
Those numbers kind of screwed me up.  I was using Il, I, Sam, Sa, O etc...  These other ones are Chinese, no?  What situations would I need the Chinese ones for? 


  • Brian
  • Featured Contributor

    • 735

    • September 19, 2006, 01:07:56 pm
    • Pittsburgh / Jeollanam-do
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2009, 09:18:07 pm »
Il, I, Sam, Sa, O, etc. are Sino-Korean (Chinese), while hana, dul, set, net, etc. are pure Korean. 

You'll often use the pure Korean numbers for counting objects and people.  You'll use Sino-Korean for time except hours (5 minutes = 오분), for money (20,000 won = 이만원), for population (Suncheon has 이십칠만 명/people), for bus numbers (bus 59 = 오십구번), for phone numbers (오오오일이일이 = 555-1212), and in some other situations.

Be aware that Korean uses count words:

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_count_word

The most common ones are 명 (people), 마리 (animals), 병 (bottles), 장 (paper) and 개 for things in general.

There's a good bit of basic Korean available by simply searching the internet, so perhaps it'll eventually be worth it to pool it together onto a single thread here.  You'll of course need to be aware of the source, because often people will post "Korean" stuff but aren't really qualified to do so. For the time being, you can learn more about numbers and counting from these sources:

* http://www.lifeinkorea.com/language/korean.cfm?subject=numbers

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_numerals
« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 09:25:32 pm by Brian »
In Korea from 2005 - 2010, not in Korea now.  Please contact an active moderator for quick answers to your questions.

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  • Scott
  • Adventurer

    • 42

    • March 27, 2009, 07:58:38 pm
    • Suncheon-Si
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2009, 10:10:10 am »
My co-teacher just asked the Korean language teacher (who shares our office) about the difference between the two systems.  The Korean teacher seems to think that the pure Korean system (hana, dul, etc...) is being phased out.  In other words, even for counting people they would say il, i, sam etc... 

Very confusing... 

Scott


Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2009, 02:25:45 pm »
This struck me as very strange since I hear everyone using the pure Korean as well as Sino-Korean.  For instance time is pure Korean (hana) for hours and Sino-Korean for minutes (samship) as Brian already pointed out.  Two o'clock is du-shi not il-shi.  I asked my co-teachers who said the new elementary teachers are 'encouraged' to not use the pure Korean, but it is a losing battle, as that is the common way everyone speaks.  If YOU as a waygook use the Sino-Korean and never use the pure Korean, people will still understand you and you will be forgiven for not speaking like a Korean, since you're not Korean.  But really, if you are serious about learning Korean, you should learn when to use which system.


  • Dyl
  • Fanatical Supporter!

    • 403

    • November 04, 2008, 11:54:50 am
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2010, 07:18:42 pm »
Here's a guide to survival Korean from EPIK's website (http://www.epik.go.kr). It'll take you through an introduction to Hangul, a basic contrastive analysis of English and Korean sentence structures, Korean grammar, and useful expressions.
Get a free Dropbox account (2GB) and store your lessons online! http://db.tt/fKpm3q7x

Get natural health products, supplements, & vitamins cheaper than in South Korea! http://www.iherb.com?rcode=WZN275


  • jehall
  • Veteran

    • 213

    • April 08, 2010, 01:20:16 pm
    • Uijeongbu, South Korea
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2010, 08:10:16 pm »
A word of advice. Don't try to remember everything you come across. Pick your battles. I've found that some of the stuff I've learned has been unnecessary as the new generation is phasing words out. For example, I remembered my lonely planet counter words like 병 - bottles, 잔 - glasses and when I used them at a restaurant, the 30-something Koreans laughed and said I sounded very old. Apparently, the young Koreans use 개 for everything except people. Obviously, people will still understand you but why waste the time with that when you can get something more useful.

Also, don't get too discouraged when you make the effort and Koreans don't understand you. I've been told by several Koreans that they have a terrible time with accents and have tremendous difficulty understanding Koreans from other parts of the country. Apparently people in Jeju might as well be speaking another language.   


  • Janitor
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 956

    • June 14, 2010, 02:01:32 pm
    • Ulsan
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2010, 08:05:38 am »
Just an edit suggestion...."Chuseyo" or "Juseyo" means "give me please", not just "please". The "seyo" part is the actual "please" and can be added to any verb to make it more polite ie: go = kayo, so "please go" = Kaseyo.  :)

Actually "please" is Jaebal (제발) but you are right that say-yo part is a polite ending.


  • jehall
  • Veteran

    • 213

    • April 08, 2010, 01:20:16 pm
    • Uijeongbu, South Korea
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2010, 09:27:42 am »
Well you're both right. "재발" is one word for please, but when you say something like "(name of food) 주세요" The "세요," does roughly translate to "please." You don't add "재발" to the end of a sentence that is using a polite form of speech. There's also "십시오" that acts as a please when giving commands in a very formal form of speech. Man there's a lot of ways to say things!


Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2010, 08:17:36 pm »
Actually "please" is Jaebal (제발) but you are right that say-yo part is a polite ending.

The dictionary would agree but the word jaebal (제발), 'please', by itself, to reinforce a request, is rarely used in Korean. My co-teacher tells me that jaebal is more when begging for something. As I understand it,

Please ... (When asking someone to do something for you)
Please do this - 해 주세요 - hae joo se yo
Please do ... for me - ... 해 주세요 - ... hae joo se yo
Please buy this for me - 사 주세요 - sah joo se yo
Please go to ... - ...에 가 주세요 - ...eh ga joo se yo (to a taxi driver)

Please. (to reinforce a request; used only in extreme situations)
제발요 - chebal yo

But I could be wrong


  • mssinmymind
  • Waygookin

    • 12

    • March 11, 2011, 02:20:52 pm
    • Changwon, S. Korea
Re: Very Basic Survival Korean
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2011, 10:00:48 pm »
This would be a good thread to keep alive for all the newbies like me coming every day.

Learning Hangul is great but until thats possible...knowing phrases even romanticized would be helpful.

Anyone willing to post a few more phrases you felt helped you in the beginning ??   :D

Here are a few I know:

Mianhajiman, hangungmal jal moreugeseoyo = Im sorry but, I do not know Korean very well.
( me ahn hah chee mahn, hahn goong mahl chahl more oo get soy yo )

Sillyehamnida = excuse me
( Shil hey hahm nee da )

Mianhamnida = Im sorry
( Me ahn hahm nee da )

Gwaenchansseumnida = Thats all right
( kwhen chahn soom nee da )