Want to learn the top Korean conversational phrases? Read this. It will take 3 minutes.
Sounds counter-intuitive when you’re out to speak Korean like a natural but that’s why we’re here. Here are the top 10 Korean conversational phrases you might want to brush up on.
Tip: Memorize them and practice saying them quickly. Once they’re solidly stuck in your head, just blurt them out at the next opportune occasion without stopping to think.
(Note: If you want to REALLY learn Korean with Audio & Video lessons from real teachers, check out KoreanClass101 and click here)
1. 뭐해? meohae (What’s up?)
Instead of saying ‘Hello’, you can use the phrase when you see your friend. It literally means ‘What are you doing?’
2. 방가방가 bang-ga, bang-ha (Nice to see you.)
반가워 (bangawo) is the verb meaning ‘nice to meet someone’. Instead of using the full sentence, people in 10s or 20s only take the verb-stem 반가 and say it twice to say ‘Nice to meet you’ casually.
3. 잘.. jal Well.. (I don’t know.)
Like other Asian countries, Korean people don’t like saying “No!” directly to you. It’s the culture. Instead they’ll prefer saying ‘No’ indirectly. Instead of saying ‘잘 몰라요 (jal mollayo)’ meaning ‘I don’t know’, it’s better to say 잘 (jal) which literally means ‘well..‘ when you don’t know the answer. Next time you hear it, you’ll know you’re not getting the answer you were hoping for! :)
4. 잠시만요 jamsimanyo (Excuse me)
It sounds more natural than the formal phrase 실례합니다 (sillyehamnida) meaning ‘excuse me’. It literally means ‘wait a moment please’, so you can say the phrase when you call someone or get attention.
5. 저기요.. jeogiyo (Excuse me)
Meaning: ‘over there please‘. When you call someone a little bit away from you, or waiter at a restaurant, you can simply use this phrase.
6. 정말 jeongmal (Really?)
Good one to know! Conversations are littered with this! It means ‘Really‘ or ‘For real?’. Although they know you’re talking about the truth, they will keep saying ‘정말’ when they react. It’s just like ‘Yeah?’ or ‘Interesting’ in English, so don’t focus on the actual meaning too much.
7. 수고하세요. sugohaseyo ‘Work hard then.’
Meaning: ‘Work hard‘, but Korean people use this phrase when they leave before someone else or say ‘Bye for now‘. You can use this phrase when you leave the office (after a long day of work) or a restaurant (eating is hard work!)
8. 별로.. byeollo ‘Not that much’.
When you don’t like something, don’t say ‘싫어(sireo)’ meaning “No I don’t like.” Too direct. Remember, it’s all about subtlety no matter how much you want to yell 싫어 at the top of your lungs. Instead, you can say 별로 (beyllo) meaning ‘Not that much.’
9. 그럼 다음에 geureom daume ‘Then next time!’
Casual and friendly! Instead of saying 안녕 meaning ‘Bye‘, you can simply say 그럼 다음에 when you say bye to your friends.
10. 싸게 해주세요. ssage haejuseyo ‘Make it cheaper please’
You might have learned the phrase 깍아주세요 (kakajuseyo) meaning ‘Discount please‘, but some would be offensive when you use the phrase. Instead, lets go indirectly. 싸게 해주세요 is less direct than other phrases, so you will get more chances to get a discount.
There you go! Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Leave a comment!
– The Main Junkie
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