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This Question Was Sent to My Inbox: “What are some Korean words that can aid an English foreigner while traveling throughout Korea?”

If you are going to go to Korea, here are some things you need to get started and help you get around:

Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is the easiest part about Korean. Before I went to Korea, I looked up the alphabet on the computer and memorized it in one day. If you are headed for Korea, I suggest you try memorizing the alphabet. If you look back through my blogs, I have taught the alphabet here a couple of times. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

안녕하세요/ anyeong haseyo = Hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and with the voice inflection of a question, it means “How are you?”. It is the most useful phrase you can learn.

안녕가새요 / anyeong kaseyo = Good bye, but you can only use it if you are staying and another person is leaving.

나녕계새요/anyeong gyeseyo = Good bye, but you can only use it if you are the one who is leaving.

괜찬아요?/ kwenchanayo? = “Is it okay?” or “Are you okay?”

거ㅐㄴ찬아요/kwenchanayo. = “It is okay.” or “I am okay,” or “He is okay,” or “She is okay.” It is the same as the last one, but you saying without the voice inflection of a question.

잘지내요?/chalcheeneyo? = “Are you feeling well?”

다 /dah = yes

아니요/aneeyo = no

도와주세요/ towha jooseyo = please help me.

If you are in the country, you may be surprised by the Korean bathrooms. If you are in an old building in the city, you may also be surprised. Older Korean toilets are not the same as what we use in the west. Another hint: get the toilet paper before you go in the stall. There are places that only have it outside of the stall. Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

와정실이 어디 있어요? /wajeongshil ee eodee eesseoyo? = Where is the bathroom?

여기/ yoghee = here

거기 /kohghee = there

가사합니다/ kahmsah-habneedah = thank you

나의 가방 /nah oo-ee kahbahng = my bag

배고바요 / peh-goh-pah-yo = I am hungry

믈을 주세요 /mool ool jooseyo = Please give me water.

잘자요/ chal-chayo = good night

S. Korea is full of coffee shops, and you can get much more than coffe. You can get sandwiches and deserts too.Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

머고 십어요/ moko shipoyo = I want to eat. With a question inflection, it becomes “Do you want to eat?”

마시고 싶어요/ mah-sheegoh shipoyo = I want to drink. With a question inflection, it becomes, “Do you want to drink?”

자고 싶어요/ jah-go-shipoyo = I want to sleep. With a question inflection, it becomes, “Do you want to sleep?”

피곤해요 /pee-gon-heyo = I am tired. If you put a question inflection on it, it becomes, “Are you tired?”

“Taxi” will be written in English. Stand on the side of the street where the cars will be going the way you want to go. If you flag down a taxi and expect them to turn around, 98% of them won’t. You must get a taxi going your way. If there is a green light up over the windshield inside the taxi, the taxi is free. If there is a red light, it is not free. Photo by Jeremy Semanhyia on Pexels.com

택시는 어디에 있어요?/ tahk shee nun eodee eh eesseoyo? = Where is the taxi?

오른쪽으로 가새요 / ohrenchok-oo-ro kaseyo = Please go to the right

왼쪽으로 가세요/wenchok-oo-ro kaseyo = Please go to the left

직진 가세요 / jeecheen kaseyo = Please go straight

여기소 중지하세요 /yoghee-soh joong-jee haseyo= Please stop right here.

가고십어요 /kako shipoyo = I want to go. With a question voice inflection, it means “Do you want to go?”

내방이 어디있어요? /ne bahng ee eodee eesseoyo? = Where is my room?

Most hotels have beds. However, I have been in resorts where there are no beds. The only furniture in a room may be a TV. If you look in the closet, there will be a mat, blankets, and a small pillow. Photo by Paula Schmidt on Pexels.com

내 침대는 어디있어요?/ ne cheemday nun eodee eeseoyo? = Where is my bed?

지하철역은 어디 있어요?/jeehahcheol un eodee eeseoyo? = Where is the subway station?

버스 정류장은 어디에 있어요?/ bus jeongjang un eodee eh eeseoyo? = Where is the bus station?

There are machines in the subway station where you can buy tickets. However, if you want to ride a bus, you must go to a convenience store and buy a traffic card. You can use these cards to ride the subway, to ride the buses, and to ride in taxis. You can pay cash for a taxi at the end of your ride. You can also use credit cards to ride the buses and subways. Scan your card as you go in, and as you go out. If you forget to scan it as you go out, you will be overcharged. You can also find cheap rice meals and sandwiches in the convenience stores, but be careful of the chili spice. Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

티켓은 어디에서 살 수 있나요?/teeket un eodee ehsoh sahl soo eess-ohyo? =”Where can I buy a ticket?”

얼마예요?/ eol-mah-yeh-yo? = How much does it cost?

어디에서 돈을 변경할 수 있어요?/ eodee ehsoh ton ool byeonkyeong hahl soo eesoyo? = Where can I change money?

영어를 할 수 있어요?/ yeong-eo lul hahl soo eesseoyo? = Can you speak English?

한국말을 할 수 없어요./ hangook mahl ool hahl soo eobseoyo. = I can’t speak Korean.

번역 하는 사람을 필용해요/ bonyok hahnun sahram ool peelyoheyo = I need a translator.

I have tried to think of some basic things someone traveling around Korea might need to know. I hope I got the ones that you need. If all else fails, look for a young person. They are more likely to know how to speak English, but not all of them can. If you see a university, there will be professors who can speak English. If you meet a doctor, they are also more likely to speak English. If you see a sign that says 학원 (hogwan), it is a private school, and most of them teach English. The hogwans are everywhere. If you are lucky, you will get a taxi cab driver who speaks a little English, but don’t count on it. I hope you don’t get lost.


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