Life in Korea: 100 Korean words to sound more like a local (part 3 of 3)

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To my wonderful veteran expat readers – ‘Life in Korea’ posts are aimed at the newer expats among us. Think of these as the Idiot’s Guide to Life in Korea – helpful for some, and a review for others. Please feel free to contribute what you know in the comments!

This part has been vetted by multiple Korean adult students – something I probably should’ve done with the other two parts. If something managed to slip through, make a note of it in the comments 🙂

UPDATE x 2 – 7 September 2009 10:08pmHT’s given where HT’s are earned, and some more corrections made. Thanks for your kind contributions asadalthought and Gomunshin Girl – your turn to blog about learning Korean – especially you GG! 🙂 As usual, check the comments for more.


To my wonderful veteran expat readers – ‘Life in Korea’ posts are aimed at the newer expats among us. Think of these as the Idiot’s Guide to Life in Korea – helpful for some, and a review for others. Please feel free to contribute what you know in the comments!

This part has been vetted by multiple Korean adult students – something I probably should’ve done with the other two parts. If something managed to slip through, make a note of it in the comments 🙂

UPDATE x 2 – 7 September 2009 10:08pmHT’s given where HT’s are earned, and some more corrections made. Thanks for your kind contributions asadalthought and Gomunshin Girl – your turn to blog about learning Korean – especially you GG! 🙂 As usual, check the comments for more.

Presenting the last part – and more Korean words to add to your Korean vocabulary. Check out part 1 here, while part 2 is over here.

The expressions

  1. 가자 – ga-ja – let’s go, or come on (to someone with you)
  2. 요즘 잘 지내? yo-jeum jal ji-nae – how are you doing these days (literally, how well are you doing?) – (HT to asadalthought for the correction)
  3. 죽여주는데 – juk-yeo-ju-neun-de – you look great (literally, something is killing me) (caution: very sexual / flirty – consider avoiding or just use for the shock value!)
  4. 무슨 일 있니 – mu-seun il -iss-ni – what’s the matter?
  5. 잠깐만요 – jam-ggan-man-yo – wait a minute, or hang on. (more polite) (HT to Gomushin Girl for the correction)
  6. 비켜 주세요 – bikyeo juseyo – move please!
  7. 정말 – jeong-mal – ‘really?’, or ‘you’re kidding’
  8. 별일 없지요? byeol-lil eop ji-yo – what’s new?
  9. 나야 – na-ya – it’s me
  10. 나도 – na -do – me too (as a response)
  11. 하지마세요 – ha-ji-ma-se-yo – don’t do that
  12. 곧도착해 – god-do-chak-hae – I’ll be right there, I’ll arrive soon (HT to Gomushin Girl, who also suggested 이따봐요 or 이따가 도착할거에요, which means essentially the same thing)
  13. 잘해 – jal-hae – good luck (to a friend) (HT to Gomushin Girl for pointing that the Konglish term ‘Fighting!’ is closer to saying ‘good luck’)
  14. 이거 얼마에요? – i-geo eol-ma-e-yo? – how much is it? (follow with 깎아 주세요, or ggakk-a ju-se-yo, meaning ‘discount, please!’)

The games

  1. 장기 – jang-gi – Korean chess (see this Wikipedia article for more)
  2. 바둑 – ba-duk – Go (see this Wikipedia article for the rules)
  3. 족구 – jok-gu – soccer volleyball (see this ancient post)

The relationships

  1. 소개팅 – so-gae-ting – blind date (literally, introduction meeting)
  2. 주선자 – ju-seon-ja – the person who introduces guy to girl, and vice versa (AKA the matchmaker –HT to Gomushin Girl for the clarification)
  3. 저녁 같이 드실래요? – jeon-yeok ga-ti deu-sil-lae-yo – will you go out with me tonight?
  4. 남자친구 – nam-ja-chin-gu – Boyfriend (남친, or nam-chin, for short)
  5. 여자친구 – yeo-ja-chin-gu – Girlfriend (여친, or yeo-chin, for short)
  6. 사랑해요 – sa-rang-hae-yo – I love you (사랑해, or sa-rang-hae, is a little less formal)
  7. 바람둥이 – ba-ram-dung-i – a playboy or player, a man who is smooth with women

The 5 W’s and an H

  1. 누구 – nu-gu- who
  2. 무엇 – mu-eot – what
  3. 언제 – eon-je – when
  4. 어디에 – eo-di-e – where
  5. 왜 – wae – why
  6. 어떻게 – eo-ddeo-ke – how (HT to asadalthought for the correction)

The subway

  1. 급행 = geub haeng – express train (lines 1 and 9, primarily)
  2. 지하철 = ji-ha-cheol – the subway itself
  3. 행 – haeng – the final destination where the train is going, usually as a suffix to the destination itself. On line 2, you might see 신도림행, where 신도림 is the station’s name and 행 indicates it’s the final destination.

33 in the first post, 34 in the second one, and 33 in this one – hope you enjoyed and learned something new. There’s far more to learn than three admittedly basic posts – but here’s hoping you learned something you can use!

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2009



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