Korean Lesson Of The Day #1: Greetings

Feat. terrible poster I made in 5 1/2 minutes

Surprise, surprise, I can't to do a review today. Actually, I'm too lazy to do a review today. Why? I have exams coming up in 2 weeks and my weekend will now be full of studying and Catfish (new obssession, won't bother to explain). So, I figured that instead of absolutely nothing, I could work on a basic Korean lesson.

Emphasis on basic.


Even "casual" fans with no interest in learning Korean probably know the following phrases, but please allow this to make up for not finishing my review.

Korean Lesson Of The Day #1: Greetings

안녕하세요 & Friends

What I'm about to quote teach unquote you works for any situation, be it meeting new people, or getting together with close friends, or just being polite while asking for directions. 

The most basic greeting is: 안녕하세요. Most (or perhaps all) Korean textbooks will tell you that this literally translates into "Are you well?", which is true for the most part, but I find that pretty weird. It can be said as a statement, like hello, or as a question, like how are you? or the aforementioned Are you well?. The correct response to either would simply be a returned 안녕하세요.

Now for a little grammar breakdown. 

안녕하세요 is made up of the verb 안녕하다 (to have peace) and the polite favor/question ending -세요, this means that another literal translation could be "Please have peace." or "Do you have peace?". The polite ending also indicates that this greeting should be used with strangers, minor acquaintances, superiors in the workplace or school, (occasionally) parents and grandparents, etc. A common way to determine whether or not you should use it, or a less formal version, is to ask yourself: Would I tell this person "What's up?" and reach for a high-five? No? Then use it.

Now for those such as close friends or siblings, you can use the shortened 안녕. Same meaning, just a little more comfortable and friendly. There is a more formal version, 안녕하십니까, that some people prefer to use more than 안녕하세요. Whether they are interchangeable, I do not know. 


There are two versions of bye; one for if you are going and the listener is staying behind, and one for if you are staying and the listener is departing. 

For the former, you'd use: 안녕히 계세요. This is made up of the verb 안녕하다 (to be peaceful), the adverb ending -히 (like -ly), the verb 계시다 (to stay), and the polite favor/question ending -세요.

When you combine 안녕하다 and -히, it creates a word similar to "peacefully". When you combine 계시다 and -세요, you get "please stay". Together a literal translation would be "Please stay peacefully", again, used for when you are the one who's leaving.

For the latter, you'd use: 안녕히 가세요. This one is made up of most of the same components, only instead of 계세요, you'll be using 가세요 (to go). A literal translation for this would be "Please go peacefully." 

A simpler version, for informal uses, would just be 안녕. 


There are many different ways to ask someone how they are [feeling], but I will only touch the ones I hear the most. 

First, you can simply ask 안녕하세요? Normally, the listener will respond with the same, and this usually means they are well (or won't admit otherwise). 

Second, there's 잘 지냈어요? This literally means "Are you getting along well?", and it's made up of: The adjective 잘 (well), the verb 지내다 (to get along/spend), the past-tense ending -었/았다, and the formal sentence ending -어요. 

Another way to ask this is to use 지내나요? instead. Do you notice the difference? The latter version uses the -나요 ending specifically used for questions, formally. It's also in the present tense. Despite all of this, it means the exact same thing and both are commonly used. 

Bonus: The informal version of 나요 is -니, so the informal version of 잘 지내나요? would be 잘 지내니?

Third, there is 어떻게 지내나요? The same question ending and verb make up the second half, but instead of 잘, you ask 어떻게, which consists of 어떻다 (how) and 게 (I don't know the exact meaning of this, but I will update once I find out). All together, this literally translates into "In what way are you getting along?"...or something completely unnatural like that...

Again, you can substitute 나요 with 니 to make the informal 어떻게 지내니?  


Now, here's some more basic phrases to use in introductions and such that I have no time to really explain.

  • "My name is..." - "내/나의(both mean my; informal)/ 제/저의(both mean my; formal) 이름은 (name + topic particle marker)..."
    • (formal) 제 이름은 유이예요. "My name is Yui"
    • (informal) 내 이름은 유이야  (I'll talk about these sentence endings another time)

  • "I am...years old." - "나는/난(I; informal)/ 저는/전(I; formal)....살(age)..."
    • (formal) 전 16살이에요. "I am 16 years old."
    • (informal) 난 16살이야.

  • "I live in..." -  "나는/난/저는/전 ...에 있다(to be/to exist)/살고 있다"
    • (formal) 전 미국에 있어요/살고 있어요. "I live in America."
    • (informal) 난 미국에 있어/살고있어. 

Bonus words:
  • 한국 - Korea
  • 영국 - England
  • 아일랜드 - Ireland
  • 복미 - North America
  • 남미 - South America
  • 유럽 - Europe
  • 호주 - Australia
  • 러시아 - Russia
  • 중국 - China
  • 태국 - Thailand
  • 캐나다 - Canada
  • 스페인/에스파냐 - Spain/Espana
  • 인도네시아 - Indonesia
  • 말레이시아 - Malaysia
  • 몽골국 - Mongolia
All together, I'd introduce myself like: "안녕하세요, 저는 김유이예요! 16(십육)살이며 미국에 살고있는 한국게미국인 고등학생(high school student)이에요." or "Hello, I am Kim Yui! I am a 16 year old American (of Korean descent) high school student who lives in the United States."

This was really short, but hopefully next time I can make it longer and whole-assed more detailed, or something. 

Until next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment