So I asked on Instagram (linked to Facebook and Twitter) on what you want to read in my blog and one of the answers was “Simple sentences that can be used daily.”
I can’t put out all the daily sentences that are commonly used but I can enlist simple questions and answers that can be useful when travelling around Korea. So let’s start off with a few survival phrases that can be very useful when getting around during your visit. Remember, no matter what part of Korea you are visiting, everyone can understand the common Korean language and not the dialects. Unless you go to Jeju Island where the phrases and words are absolutely different from the common Korean language.
Also, Koreans dread it the same as you when you approach them to ask for directions or anything at all. Some of them are afraid to answer in English. #truestory
Though I have put some words separately in the romaji form, this is so that you will be able to read it easier than the words stuck together.
The “Eo” is pronounced the same as when you would say, “Uhh…….” When thinking of a response or pausing before a sentence.
Annyeong Haseyo (안녕하세요)
I am sure you have heard this in some point in your life. Doesn’t matter if it is morning, afternoon or evening. THIS IS THE GREETING, for all three phases of the day. Usually people bow their heads slightly facing down while they do this as a sign of respect. Don’t go all heads down to your hip level, there is no need. 45 degrees of bowing will do. Some people will just nod their heads but that is only when you are acquainted already or if they are not your co-workers.
Eolma eyo? (얼마에요?)
This is somewhat a shortened honorific of “how much is it?” in Korean. This phrase can be longer or shorter. However, this is enough for all first time foreigners and is accepted in the norms of society.
If they respond with the price in Korean then… uhm… hehe…
Hwajangshil eodi isseoyo? (화장실 어디 있어요?)
Any guess what this is? It is the question for “Where is the toilet?” Hwajangshil is basically toilet. Eodi isseoyo is “where is it?”
Please do take note that finding a public restroom is difficult in Korea when you are out in the streets walking about. You might discreetly use the coffee shop restrooms or public building restrooms. Just look for the international toilet sign (of a man and woman standing together) along the street, oftentimes with the number of meters of how far away it is to use public building restrooms.
Jiha cheol yeok eodi isseoyo? (지하철역 어디 있어요?)
“Where is the subway station?” Jiha cheol is subway. Yeok is station. FYI : Jiha means basement. 😉
Let’s be honest. If you are not a local or haven’t lived in Korea for a fair amount of time, riding the bus can be terrifying. You don’t know the direction and you don’t have pocket wifi or data to easily search Google Maps and sometimes it doesn’t work. Thus taking the subway is the easiest way to get around.
_____ro gajoo seyo. (______로 가주세요.) / Yeogi gajoo seyo. (여기 가주세요.)
Please take me to ______. / OR / If you have the hotel address on paper then you can say “Please take me here.” Yeogi means here.
This only applies when you are taking a taxi and you want to ask the taxi driver politely where you want to go. Taxi drivers won’t be as mean when you ask them nicely. 🙂
Sille hamnida. (실레합니다.)
Foreigners do just say, “Excuse me.” But saying it in the local language makes it sound more thoughtful. Don’t you agree? 😉
Jyesong hamnida. (죄송합니다.) / Mi an hamnida. (미안합니다.)
The formal and slightly informal way of saying sorry is the two phrases respectively. There are various of others way to say sorry but I think you will be good with just the both mentioned above.
Joomoon halkkeyo. (주문할께요.)
Ever had a hard time calling the server in a local restaurant when you wanted to order? YUP! It has happened to me too. “I would like to order.” This phrase could help you out, most definitely.
Ee geo jooseyo. (이거주세요.)
Ever wanted something? “Please give me this.” Or if you want to pay for something in a store, either point at the item or hand it over to them (nicely) while saying this phrase.
Ee geo mwo eyo? (이거 뭐에요?)
Have you ever seen an item and wondered what it is but then wanted to ask in the local language? “What is this?”
Gamsa hamnida. (감사합니다.)
And of course, finally the most polite thing you can say in any country in their local language is “Thank you.”
I hope you enjoyed reading and will be able to put these phrases into use when you visit Korea! Til then! 안녕~~~ (Annyeong~~~)