Saying "hi" is the first step toward having your first conversation in Korean. That's why it's essential to master at least the greeting "hello" in Korean.

You've probably already heard the basic Korean greeting, but learning how to say it is a breeze.

I learned how to say "hello" in Korean from an episode of Arrested Development long before I had any interest in actually learning the language. You may recall from the show that everyone thought "Annyeong" was his name, but that it just meant hello (hence his constant use of the phrase).

My memory improved thanks to the Bluths' blunder.

There's more to it than just a simple "hello" though. The level of formality in Korean varies with the audience.

But have no fear If you want to start having natural conversations in Korean, I'll fill you in on all the details.

However, here is a short list of common Korean greetings to get you started:

  • (annyeong haseyo) means "hello" in the polite sense.
  • In informal situations, one would say "Hi" or "Hello" in Korean, which is written as "" (annyeong).
  • "Hello" (in a formal manner): (annyeong hasimnikka).
  • The greeting used when picking up the phone is "hello" (yeoboseyo).
  • "Good morning" (joeun achimieyo) in Korean.
  • The polite way to say "long time no see" is (oraenmanieyo).
  • The proper way to say "nice to meet you" is (mannaseo bangapseumnida).
  • What's going on ”: 무슨 일이야 Museun ir-iya )
  • Inquiring: "How are you doing?" ”: 어떻게 지내세요 To be continued...(eotteoke jinaeseyo )
  • To inquire as to whether or not one has consumed food: ”: 밥 먹었어 In this case, the bab meogeoss-eo )
  • “Yo ”: 야 (Ya )
  • The phrase "take care of me" (jalbutag deurimnida) means just that.

What to Say When You Meet Someone in Korea

To begin, let's address the matter of proper etiquette. There are seven distinct degrees of formality in Korean, but only the three most common will be necessary in most situations.

They range from informal to polite to formal and honorific.

Many of the other tiers are out of date. You should learn them if you plan on reading the Bible or watching serious Korean period dramas, but you won't come across them in casual conversation.

In conversations with close associates, relatives, and people of lower status, it's appropriate to use a more relaxed tone of voice.

Speaking politely is reserved for situations in which you are interacting with people you know, but do not know very well. This is a fairly neutral linguistic level that facilitates social distance (you aren't saying you're higher or lower than them)

In most social situations, you should aim for polite expression.

When introducing yourself to someone new or in other formal situations, it's appropriate to use more formal language. To be used with those who are senior to you in age or position

For this reason, a boss should always speak politely to his staff, as he is the superior in the relationship. When speaking to the boss, however, employees would adopt a more formal tone. If you were talking to your spouse, you might use a more relaxed tone of voice, but if you were talking to a coworker, you would use more formal language.

Understanding these distinctions in formality will help you learn the phrases below and use them appropriately.

Once you've got the fundamentals down, Korean is not that hard to pick up.

Okay Good, that's over with Let's study some Korean polite expressions.

I'll jot them down in both romanized letters and Hangul (Korean characters). However, in order to speak Korean correctly, it is recommended that you study Hangul. As a matter of fact, Hangul is so easy to learn that you can pick it up in no time at all.

"Hello" in Korean is "Annyeong Haseyo."

This is the standard form of greeting used in Korea. It's the standard, well-mannered way of saying things

To add a little more respect, you say "" (haseyo). It is derived from the verb (hada), which means "to do." ”

When you don't know the appropriate level of formality to use, this phrase will get you by.

When meeting someone for the first time, when speaking to someone of a senior age, or even in the workplace, you can use this phrase. The question mark or heightened emphasis on the final syllable convey the same meaning as "How are you?" ” Like:

“안녕하세요 Annyeong haseyo I'm fine, how about you? ”)

“예 안녕하세요 ” (Ye Joyous New Year, or Annyeong Haseyo in Korean "How are you? " I hope you are well. ”)

When greeting someone with this phrase, a slight bow is customary.

Factoid alert: the character can be translated as "are you at peace" Therefore, the typical reply is "yes," or (ye).

The Korean greeting "Annyeong"

When greeting close friends and family, use the informal form (annyeong).

The word "annyeong" () is very versatile, which is one of its many charms. Korean lacks equivalent phrases for morning, noon, and night. No one will say "good afternoon" or "good evening"; however, there is a "good morning" phrase (which I'll show you later). ”

Because of its versatility, the greeting (annyeong) is a useful one to learn.

This colloquial form serves as a foundation upon which the more formal forms of the word can be constructed, such as when the polite particle (haseyo) is added.

The Korean phrase for "Good Morning" is "Annyeong Hasimnikka."

Yes, "hello" is still the literal translation in Korean. Good day, or "good day, Sir/Madam," is what I'm going to call it because I imagine it to be an extremely formal and slightly awkward way to greet someone.

It's only used with extreme reverence in the news or when greeting customers in business today.

This is the formal, respectful, and polite form that is still commonly used. You probably won't use this expression, but it's useful to know because you might.

The traditional Japanese greeting is "" (Yeoboseyo).

And here we have yet another greeting that bears no resemblance to politeness.

When answering the phone, you only ever say "yeoboseyo." It's the equivalent of the Japanese greeting (moshi moshi), if you've studied those.

One can also use the informal form of the word "look over here" (yeoboseyo) to get someone's attention. ”

Almost always used when talking on the phone or shouting "hello" to a room where you can't tell if anyone is home.

The greeting of the day is "Joeun Achimieyo" ().

The formal form is "joeun achimieyo," while the more relaxed "joeun achim" is used among close friends.

You may hear this on occasion, and it does mean "good morning," but it's not nearly as common as the English version. Even today, no matter what time of day it is, "" (annyeong haseyo) is the far more common greeting.

What's up, long time no see? (Oraenmanieyo).

This phrase can be used as a greeting, just as it would be in English, when you see someone after a long time has passed.

In order to make it more casual when speaking to close friends, you can say (oraenman-e). The more formal (oraenmanimnida) should be used in situations where you might be speaking to someone higher up, such as a manager.

One should keep in mind that in everyday conversation, the "e" ending (the most basic form of the verb) is the most casual, "ieyo" is polite, and "nida" is formal.

"Nice to meet you" is spelled "" (Mannaseo Bangapseumnida) in Korean.

Meeting someone for the first time gives you the opportunity to use the more formal "nice to meet you" instead of the more casual "hello." " In its polite "nida" form, (mannaseo bangapseumnida) is the most common way to say it.

It's one of the few stock phrases that appears almost exclusively in that level of formality. This kind of formal language is expected when meeting someone for the first time.

It's nice to meet you," or (mannaseo bangapseum-ieyo), which can be used in a less formal setting. ”

However, it is more common to omit the first part and just say (bangapseumnida). In the vein of "Nice to meet you," ”

무슨 일이야 The Museum of Islamic Art and Architecture In other words: "What's up ”

What follows is a slangy greeting you can use with your pals. You can also use To say hello or to inquire about someone's whereabouts in the same way that we do in English is (museun ir-iya). However, you shouldn't use this expression when interacting with strangers.

The question "What's happening?" can also be asked by prefacing it with "ige," as in (ige museun ir-iya). ”

어떻게 지내세요 In Japanese: ; English: ; (How are you?) ”

However, even though you can use I'm sorry, but (annyeong haseyo The question "how are you doing?" literally translates to "are you at peace?" ”

So, you ask to be more forthright and get an honest response. This is what you've been waiting for (eotteoke jinaeseyo ) instead

You could say with your pals. Yojeum eottae) which is a very laid-back way of greeting someone and asking how they are doing , or "How are you doing? ”

There's also the phrase "," though. (Bab MeoGeoSSeo) which translates to "Did you eat?" Because good food should be shared among friends, you'll hear this expression frequently.

야 (Ya ) – “Yo ”

Use "" to get the attention of your pals when you're shouting to them. ” (ya )

It has a lot of slang and a slightly masculine tone. This one is reserved for your closest peers and can be used interchangeably with "Wow." " or "Hey ”

잘부탁드립니다 Please take care of me" (Jalbutag Deurimnida). ”

The literal translation is "thank you very much (for doing as I asked/taking care of it)" And while it is sometimes used in that context, you're more likely to hear this phrase accompany introductions as a respectful greeting.

A cultural expression that can mean "let's be good friends" or "take care of me," among other things. ”

Another use is along the lines of "I kindly request that you treat this with the utmost care, as it is very important to me that you do so." For example, if you were dropping off your kid at daycare or school and wanted to make sure they were well taken care of, you could say " (jalbutag deurimnida).

It's a polite expression that's usually delivered with a bow.

How About You Choose a Korean Greeting to Use?

You've taken the first baby step toward having your first Korean conversation.

Check out these 35 free resources to get started learning Korean today! Benny Lewis, creator of the book "Fluent in 3 Months," also recommends a number of resources for learning Korean.

My go-to reference Ninety-Day Korean

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