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5 Basic Types of Korean Phrases You Need to Know in Korea

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You have your passport and travel bags in check just waiting to start your adventure in Korea, but there is one more thing for you to do! Learning basic Korean phrases. Knowing basic Korean phrases will help you interact with the locals, call a cab, order a meal in a restaurant, book a hotel, and even contact emergency service providers in case of an accident. The fact that you will be depending on these phrases for survival in the Korean countries should be enough motivation for you to learn them. You are lucky if you had enrolled in korean classes in singapore prior to your visit since you will be in a position to communicate freely with the Koreans. If you are still new to the Korean language, there is no need to be worried! This guide consists of phrases that will come in handy during your visit to Korea.


Saying hello is always a perfect way to strike up a conversation with a stranger. You will also be greeting many people from the moment you fly from Singapore to your final visit to a Korean restaurant. Therefore, it is important that you know the basic phrases to use when greeting people. Remember that Korean uses different speech levels depending on the person you are addressing, so you should learn how to do it properly. You can nod slightly if you are saluting a person of your age or bow your head when speaking with an older person. Some of the best way to salute people include:

  • Ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo – Good morning.
  • An-nyeong-ha-se-yo/an-nyeong- Hello
  • Uh-dduh-key ji-neh-se-yo- How are you?

Common Courtesy Words

You more likely to get whatyou want by using courteous words such as “please,” “excuse me” or “I am sorry.” Therefore, you should learn how to say them in Korean. Koreans value respect, and you need to learn the phrases that express gratitude if you want to interact well with them. Some of the words to go for include:

  • Chway-seong-ham-ni-da- I am sorry
  • Jam-shi-man-yo- Excuse me
  • Ju-se-yo- Please
  • Chon-mahn-eh-yo- You are welcome
  • Kam-sa-ham-ni-da- Thank you

Words to use in a Restaurant

You do not have to take comprehensive Korean classes in Singapore for you to learn phrases to help you order some food in a restaurant. A few days with a personal tutor or a native speaker should be enough for you to order any food or service in a restaurant too much hassle. However, you may not be familiar with the various words on the menu but you can always point at what you want. Remember to use ju-se-yo (please) at the end of your order and you will be sure to get whatever you ordered. Some phrases include:

  • Yuh-gi-yo- Over here (while signaling the waiter to come over)
  • Iss-seo-yo- Do you have
  • Keh-san-suh-ju-seh-yo- Bill, please
  • Meh-nyu-ju-she-yo- Menu, please
  • Jahl-mug-uss-seub-ni-da- I ate well

Asking for Directions

Getting lost in a foreign country is all part of the experience. Therefore, it is essential that you learn the best way of asking for directions or a proper way of calling a taxi. Remember to salute the person with utmost respect if you want to get help from the people on the streets. Some of the phrases to use while asking directions include:

  • Oen-jjok/ oh-reun-jjok/ jik-jjin- Left/right/straight
  • Ih-roh gah-ju-seh-yo- Please take me to
  • Gil-eul-ilh-uht-suh-yo- I am lost
  • Taeksi jom bulleojuseyo- Please call a taxi for me

Phrases used when socialising

Korean people are friendly and they will always be open to a conversation. Therefore, you should not shy away from starting a conversation with the person seated next to you on the plane, the local people, or a service provider. You’d want to enjoy every moment if you are attending a Korean festival, hence the need to learn some key phrases used in conversation. Koreans will also appreciate your efforts to learn and speak their language, so you should be shy when speaking to them. Some of the words to use during social interactions include:

  • Hahm-guhk-mal jal moht-heh-yo- I do not speak Korean well
  • Hwa-jang-shil-ee uh-di-eh-yo? Where is the bathroom
  • Ban-gap-sum-ni-da- Nice to meet you

Learning Korean language should be easy if done correctly and with the right attitude. Some people may take a few days while others take weeks to master basic Korean phrases, so you should not be worried if you are not making any progress with your pronunciation. Remember that these phrases represent only a small percentage of the Korean vocabulary. You need to take comprehensive Korean classes in Singapore if you want to attain mastery over the language.


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