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Top Ten Korean Words: Phrases Every Traveler Should Know
While many Koreans do speak English, it’s not always easy to find someone who will understand you when you need directions, have questions about a meal, or just need some travel tips as you head off on your next adventure in the city. You don’t need to speak fluent Korean to find your way around this bustling city but it’s a good idea to memorize some basic phrases and sentences before you begin your journey. You’ll probably pick up quite a few common words, phrases, and sentences along the way and can use a dictionary or translating tool once in a while.
Here are ten important Korean sentences and phrases would help you traveling around Korea:
#1: How do I get to…?
Korean: …aenun ottok’ae kamnikka?
Remember to put the name of the location you are going to at the front of this sentence. You can also ask, “…nun odi imnikka?” which translates to “Where is…?”
#2: Please give me a menu.
Korean: Maenu chom kattajuseyo.
This is useful when you are at a busy restaurant or café and are waiting to be served. Keep in mind that most formal settings will present you with a menu upon seating.
#3: I’d like one order of…
Korean: …il-inbun put’k hamnida
Remember to say the name of the item you are ordering before you say the phrase above. Repeat as needed when ordering multiple items.
#4: What time is the next flight to…?
Korean: Daeum…haengeun myeot si yeyo?
You’ll need to say the destination after the first word in this phrase in order for it to make sense.
#5: Thank you.
Korean: Kamsa hamnida
Mind your manners wherever you go and you’ll find that people will appreciate you and help you along the way! This is an easy phrase to remember so plan to use it often. A brief nod of the head and a smile will help to show your appreciation.
#6: How do you do?
Korean: Ch’oum poepgetsumnida.
Useful when you are meeting somebody for the first time. This is the most polite way to introduce yourself and get acquainted.
#7: Do you speak English?
Korean: Yeongeorul malsum halsu isseoyo?
Another important phrase you should have memorized, especially if this will be your first visit to Korea. If the answer is no, you can ask somebody else or try to use some basic Korean phrases to elicit the answer you need. If the answer is yes, you’re free to communicate whatever you need without translation.
#8: Please speak more slowly.
Korean: Cheoncheonhi malssuemhae juseyo.
Many Koreans won’t realize that you aren’t proficient with the language and will speak at a fairly rapid pace. Don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down so that you can understand. This simple request can make communicating much easier for both parties!
#9: I’m lost, can you help me?
Korean: Kirul iroboryossoyo, chom towajushil ssu issushinayo?
You may get lost fairly easily – and often – while navigating through the busy streets but you’ll find plenty of people who can help you get back on track. If you can’t find a tourist information center or travel center nearby, you can ask a local for directions with this simple phrase. Begin the phrase with the word, “Silly hamnida” which means “excuse me!”.
#10: Where is…?
Again, you will need to say the name of the destination before you ask your question. Placement of the noun is essential for making sure your sentence or phrase makes sense! Practice this with different types of questions so that you begin to do this naturally.
About the Author
Aileen Pablo works in a Hospitality and Toursim Online College. When not working, Aileen blogs about travel, lifestyle, and beauty tips. She is also often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines. If you have a blog and would like free content. You can find her on Google+.