Korean is the language of both South and North Korea and is getting immensely popular. Many schools and educational institutes are offering Korean language courses in Singapore. However, if you are planning to visit Korea, here are some of the useful phrases you should know:
Any country you visit, you have to know how you say hello; in Korean, you say “Annyeonghaseyo” to say “Hello”. This is a formal way of greeting. Saying it with a bow and a smile is thought of as courteous.
To exchange names, you can say “Chohneun <your name> ipnida” which can be translated in English as “My name is <your name>”. Simply insert your name into the middle. For instance, “Juhneun Mina ipnida” is translated as “My name is Mina”
What if your Korean speaking skills are minimal? You might want to look for someone who speaks English. To ask this, use the following phrase “Yonguh haseyo” (translates to: Do you speak English?)
You may have eaten something tasty in Korea and want to express your satisfaction by saying “This is tasty”, you can say: “i mas-iss-eoyo!”
When you are looking for transport and want to ask “Where is the Bus station?”, you can politely ask someone: “Bbuhseu uhdi issuhyo?”
Any time you want to know where something is, just put your desired noun as the first word to the phrase above. For example, “Hwajangshil uhdi issuhyo?” would be asking “Where is the Bathroom?”
When speaking to Koreans, there may be times when you get lost in their words. If you want to ask them to speak slower so that you can understand, you may say, “Chunchunhee malsseumhae juseyo.” In English, this is like saying “Please speak slower.”
We all need some assistance now and again, here is what you say to seek assistance: “Dowa juseyo”. This translates to: “Please help me.”
Got an emergency? You can call the police by dialing 112 (take note that your local emergency response number may not be valid in Korea) or ask someone to call for you by saying “Please call the cops,” or in Korean: “Gyungchalae shingo hae juseyo.”
Should you lose track of your location, say this to someone nearby, “Yuhgi uhdi aeyo?” This mean, “Where am I?”
For details on asking for and understanding direction in visual form, you can ask someone, ”Can you draw me a map?” by saying “Jido geuryuh jushil soo iss uhyo?” and presenting them with something to draw on and draw with.
At a hotel or restaurant, asking the concierge “Tekshi bulluh juseyo” is equivalent to “Please call a taxi for me.”
Once you are in a vehicle, let the driver know your desired destination by saying: “Gonghangeuro ga juseyo.” Replace the first word with your desired destination, a noun. The phrase quoted translates to: Please take me to the airport.
If you want to buy something and the price isn’t indicated, you may ask a shop keeper, “Ulma aeyo?” to say “How much for this?”
If you are ready to pay for your meal, just say “Gyesanhae juseyo” and the waiters will understand that you mean “Check, please.”
Many businesses take cash only, but it doesn’t hurt to ask about other payment options. If you want to pay with a credit card, for example, to ask “Do you accept credit cards?”, you can say “Kadeu badeuseyo?”
When eating out on a business trip, it’s a good idea to keep receipts for reimbursements. Use the phrase “Yongsujeung juseyo” (Please give me a receipt) to ask for printed receipts.
Similarly, whenever you want something, you can use the phrase above and replace the first word with your desired noun and related adjectives. For example, “Mool juseyo” means you want water, while “Banchan Duh juseyo” means you want more side dishes.
To say yes, say “Ne”; to say no, say “Aniyo”. These are both formal ways of saying yes and no.
Being polite is important, to say “Thank you” you can say “Gamsahapnida.”