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HOW TO LEARN KOREAN for beginners...

Penulis : rierie_destiny on Monday, 25 January 2010 | 15:05


Vowels : -
ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ
"a" "ya" "eo" "yeo" "o"

ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ
"yo" "oo" or "u" "yoo" or "yu" "eu" "i"

Consonants : -
ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ
"g" or "k" "n" "d" or "t" " r " or " l " "m"

ㅂ ㅅ ㅇ ㅈ ㅊ
"b" or "p" "s" - " ch " " ch' "

ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ
" g' " or " k' " " d' " " p' " " h "

Note that " ' " means the letter is aspirated, i.e a sharp sound.

ㅎ + ㅏ + ㄴ = 한 han
h a n

ㄱ + ㅜ + ㄱ = 국 guk
g u k 한국 pronounced HanGuk meaning Korea

[ Back to 1 Basics of the Korean Language | Class Index ]


ㅐ ㅒ ㅔ ㅖ ㅘ ㅙ ㅝ ㅞ
eir yeir ere yere wa where wo weo

ㅟ ㅢ
weou wei

가 = ka 거 = keo 겨 = kyeo
갸 = kya 기 = ki 고 = ko

바 = pa 버 = peo 부 = pu
뵤 = pyo 지 = chi 저 = cheo
즈 = chu 조 = cho 마 = ma
머 = meo 무 = mo 나 = na
너 = neo 이 = i 야 = ya
디 = ti 고 = ko 댜 = tya
요 = yo 오 = o 도 = to
드 = tu 두 = too 그 = ku

When constructing a word, you must add a mixture of consonants and vowels, beginning with the consonant at the beginning of the word. In some cases, there is no need to use a consonant at the beginning in which case ㅇ (null character) is used.
ㅇ + ㅏ = 아 a
ㄹ + ㅡ + ㅁ = 름 rum
ㄱ + ㅏ + ㅁ = 감 kam
ㄲ + ㅜ + ㅇ = 꿍 kkoong
ㅇ + ㅗ + ㅅ = 옷 ot
ㅇ + ㅓ + ㅂㅅ = 없 eop
ㄲ + ㅗ + ㅊ = 꽃 kkot
ㅎ + ㅏ + ㄴ = 한 han
ㄱ + ㅡ + ㄱ = 극 guk
More on constructing words
A syllable that consists of a consonant and a "vertical vowel" is written with the consonant on the left and the vowel on the right
ㄴ + ㅏ = 나
n + a = na
A syllable that consists of a consonant and a "horizontal vowel" is written with the consonant on top and the vowel underneath:
ㅁ + ㅗ = 모
m + o = mo
If a syllable has a consonant, vowel, and consonant, the final consonant, called patch'im (meaning "supporting floor" in Korean) goes to the bottom -- or floor -- of that syllable.
ㅁ + ㅏ + ㄴ = 만
m + a + n = man
In general, Korean names consist of 3 syllables.
The first part is the Surname ( such as Kim, Lee and Pak ), it is the followed by a two-syllable first name. In Korean, the surname always comes first which is opposite of Western Names such as Doojin Pak instead of the Korean method of Pak Doojin.
When you are referring to someone who you know well, then you may be able to refer to them directly, such as using their first name. However when youare introduced to someone to whom you are not familiar with, or am meeting for the first time, then you would add -ssi to the end of the name. An example of this would be Doojin-ssi
Making Polite Sentences
With verb stems which end in vowels such a ka-, ha- and sa- , it is possible to make these into polite sentences by adding -yo to the end of the words, such as Kayo ( which means "to go", or "I go" or "he goes" ). Verbs in the polite style can be used as statements, questions, suggestions or commands, and may be further emphasised by the tone of your voice. For example, Chal Chinaessoyo may be both expressed as a question by asking how someone is, or can be a question stating that you are fine. Another example is the more common Annyong Haseyo.
Korean Sentence Structure and Word order
In Korean the structure of sentence differ to English sentences, for example the phrase Chal Chinaessooyo literally means "Well have you been getting on?" which is the opposite from English.
In general the structure of the Korean sentences is broken down as subject - object - verb
"Jon the ball kicked"

"To Go" in order to do sentences
There are a few words that you may add to the end of verb stems at the end of sentences, these include -yo which makes sentences polite, and -ro which means "in order to".
In some cases the verb stems may in effect end in consonants in which case -uro is utilised.
The order of the sentences for an example sentence of "in order to buy bread I am goin to the shops" is restructured as "bread buy-in order-to the shops go"
In Korean unlike English, the subject of the sentences is optional like "I", then the "in order section" is next, which is then followed by "the place you are going".
(In English) I go to the shops in-order -to buy bread
(in Korean) I (optional) bread buy - in-order to shops to go
The Konglish for this sentence in Korean would be na-do ppang sa-ro kayo (I-do bread buy-in order-to go).

* The construction can only be used in verbs involving 'going' and 'coming' and cannot be used with other verbs at the end of sentences.


There Are / There is
The Korean verb which means either "there are" and "there is" is issoyo ( 있 어요 )
They are dependent on the context in which you use them, and on what you are talking about. The stem of the verb is iss- with the inclusion of o and the polite particle -yo, thus forming the ending -oyo. However in the case where the verb stem ends in vowel, we use -a or -o, such as -ayo.
Vowel stem - yo
Consonant stem - ayo if the last vowel ends with -a or -o
Consonant Stem - oyo

In context the oppposite of iss- is ops- which literally means "there isnt" or "there arent".

Uses of the verbs
chogi issoyo means "it exist over there", or "its over there"
Issoyo on its own can mean "I have/he has"
Opsoyo means "I dont have" or "I havent got"

In a shop
When addressing a shop keeper or waiters, Koreans use ajossi literally meaning uncle, but is used as a general word when addressing someone in a shop.
However if it were to be used in a formal way, it is only for the referral of a man,
For females the word ajumma meaning aunt is used, for people over 35-ish, and for younger woman agassi is used for young women.

In Korean, we use a particle which comes after a noun that it relates to, such as na-do (me-too).
In English, it is the opposite, we would say 'with-me', whereas Korean is 'me-with'.
Using 'and'
In Korean, the word for and is -hago, this is a particle so when it is to be used it must be attached to a noun. For example, when you say 'burger and chips', in Korean it would be 'burger-hago chips. The word hago becomes part of burger.
The particle hago can also mean with such as, Doojin-hago shinae-e kayo meaning 'I am going to town with Doojin'.
Ordering with numbers
When asking for 'one' item we say 'hana' which is said after you have selected the meal you wish to order. For example we would say, soju hana chuseyo meaning "soju one give me please".
The word chuseyo utilises the polite word stem -yo, attached to chu-, which means "give me please"


In Korean, when you want to address men politely, one would use the word songsaegnim attached to their surname or full name, this literally means teacher.
For example, one would say Yoo Songsaegnim or with the full name Yoo SangHyun Songsaegnim.
It is not possible to a Korean persons first name, such like SangHyun Songsaegnim. For that same reason, when you use the ssi, you cannot say Yoo-ssi, or Yoo SangHyun-ssi, but would rather say SangHyun-ssi.

Addressing Korean women, in Korea women do not take their husbands surname when they get married.
For example if Mrs Han is married to Mr Kim, then she may referred to as Kim songsaengnim-puin (Kim mr-wife), or she maybe reffered to in a similar English terminology such as Misesu Han(Mrs Han).

Using Copula to describe "this is that"
In Korean, if you want to describe A is B , you will have to use special verbs called copula. In Korea, this copula is present at the end of a sentence, and behaves a little differently to ordinary verbs.

If you want to say A is B(like "This is a Korean book"):-

A B-ieyo (or B-eyo)
this Korean book-ieyo

It is obvious that you would use -eyo when B ends in a vowel, but -ieyo when B ends on a consonant.

songsaengnim-ieyo (is teacher)
soju-eyo (is soju)

IMPORTANT to note that in Korean the copula is only used to describe when this "is equivalent to".
It cant be used to say "is located in"(is underneath", "is near") nor can it be used to say "is a certain way" (i.e "is red", "is happy").

Describing how things are
Korean possess words which mean "is a certain way".
Ottaeyo means is how?, as in:
songsaengnim ottaeyo? ( How is teacher ? or What is teacher like? )
saob ottaeyo? (How is business? or What is business like?)

Kuraeyo literally means "it is like that", and may be used as a statement such as "it's like that", "thats right", "it is".
On the other hand it may be used as a question Kuraeyo? meaning "is it like that?", "really?" or "is that so?".
Korean has a special particle, used in attachment to place emphasis on what is being talked about.
by adding -un or nun, it makes As for Business or As for me.
-nun is attached to a noun, whereas -un is attached to a vowel. EG soju-nun (as for soju), Songsaengnim-un (as for teacher).


-hamnida and -jiman
In Korean, it is possible to add polite endings to verbs, for example, shillye hamnida (excuse me), which is comprised of the verb stem shille ha-, and the verb ending hamnida (note this is the formal style).
There is also the verb and stem, shillye-jiman (I'm sorry but....) which is a abbreviation of the verb and stem shillye ha-jiman , containing the ending -jiman which means but.

Asking a person
In Korean, there is a special verb which may be used in the event where you want to ask someone if they are someone.....for example "Are you Mr Han".
We would use -iseyo, and simply add this to the end of a phrase.
Han songsaengnim-iseyo? ( Are you Mr Han?)
Hangungmal songsaengnim-iseyo? (Are you the Korean Teacher?)

Subjects and topics of Korean sentences
In Korean, we attach -i to the end of nouns which end with consonants, or attach -ga to the end of nouns which end in a vowel. By doing this, it is possible to give emphasis, on subjects in sentences.
For example, songsaenim-i ( teacher ) or maekju-ga (beer) give emphasis on each of these subjects in a sentence.

For a sentence , "The man kissed the dog", the subject in this case would be The man.

On the other hand, when a subject is mentioned for the first time, the subject particle is used, but later on in a conversation, this is switched back to the topic particle.
The topic particle, is similar to that of the english "As for", and is best used in order to compare two things.
For example, as for me ( na-nun ), I love shopping
as for mum (ma-nun), she hates it.


In Korean, when you are trying to say something is not something else, we use the negative copula anieyo. For instance, When saying 'A is not B', we would say :-

cho-nun songsaengnim-i anieyo ( I am not a teacher ).
hanguk hakkwa-ga anieyo ( Not the Korean department ).


Answering questions with Yes and No in Korean
This is a tricky aspect of the Korean language, it is quite different to how we would speak in English.
For example: -
Question in English = "Do you like Korea ?"
Answer in English = "Yes I do like it" or "No i dont"
Answer in Korean = "No, I do like it" or "Yes i dont"

As you can can be confusing at first, so you will need to think carefully.

Where is it?
When asking where something is in Korean, you would say (X-subject) odieyo?
However, it is also possible to say (X-subject) odi issoyo?

When answering a Where is question, you must always use issoyo as a verb such that:-
hakkyo-ga kogi issoyo ( the school is over there ).

Using Korean sentences with but....
We have previously seen that shillye hamnida and the equivalent shillye-jiman mean "Excuse me,but" or "I'm Sorry, but...." .
There are lots of verbs where you may attach -jiman onto, here are a few of them:-
ka- ( go ) ka-jiman ( goes, but .......)
ha- ( do ) ha-jiman ( does,but......)
sa- ( buy ) sa-jiman ( buys,but.....)
iss- ( is/are, have ) it-jiman ( has,but....)
mashi- ( drink ) mashi-jiman ( drinks,but.....)
mok- ( eat ) mok-jiman ( eats, but.......)
anj- (sit ) anj-jiman ( sits, but.....)

Note that for the word iss-jiman the double ss is re-written to itjiman

Using polite requests
In Korean, the word chom is used to mean "please", however do not mistake it to mean the same as the English word for please for all occurances. For instance, when you use chom in a request immediately before the verb at the end of the sentence, it takes on the effect of please.
It is most frequently using in relation to chu- when making requests, for example
Han songsaengnim chom pakkwo-juseyo( Can I speak to Mr Han ), or you might use it in Soju chom chuseyo ( Please give me the Soju ). As you can see, chom may be used to soften up requests by making it more polite.


In Korean there are two sets of numbers which are used when counting, the first set are known as pure Korean numbers, and the other are Sino-korean which is based on the chinese numerals.
The use of these numbers depends on the context in which it is used, for example the pure korean numbers are used when counting hours, and the sino korean when used to count minutes.
kong 0
il 1 shibil 11 ishibil 21
i 2 shibi 12 ishibi 22
sam 3 shipsam 13 ishipsam 23
sa 4 shipsa 14 ishipsa 24
o 5 shibo 15
yuk 6 shimnyuk 16
ch'il 7 shipch'il 17
p'al 8 shipp'al 18
ku 9 shibku 19 ishipku 29
ship 10 iship 20 samship 30

saship 40
kuship 90
paek 100
ch'on 1000
man 10,000

Making requests more polite
The polite honorific -seyo can be used to make requests more polite, -seyo is used when the verb stem ends in in a vowel, and -useyo is used when the verb stem ends in a consonant.

Examples of these are:-
mashi- becomes mashiseyo
ha- becomes haseyo
kidari- becomes kidariseyo
iss- becomes issuseyo
anj- becomes anjuseyo

If you want to request someone to wait for you, you would say kidariseyo (Please wait !!).
The use of -seyo means that you have a special respect for the person, for example if you say hansongsaengnim-i hakkyo-e kaseyo ,you are saying Mr Han is going to school. ( But you are also showing special respect for him ).

What you want to do ?
Koreans use -ko ship'oyo which literally means want to, and this can be added to a verb stem.
For example you may say, cho-nun mok-ko ship'oyo which means I want to eat, notice that when it is used, the -ko is utilised by being added to the end of the verb stem.

Making Suggestions
When making suggestions, Koreans use -(u)pshida ( literally means lets do), as you may have guessed, -pshida is attached onto verb stems ending in a vowel, and -upshida is attached to verbstems ending in a consonant.
Here are some examples:-
Umryosu mashipshida ( Lets have a drink )


Grammar 1 이/가 [Lesson Created By KkOmA]

주격 조사. 명사 뒤에 봍어서 주어를 나타내는 조사로는 '-께서, -(에)서' 등이더 있다.
[Subject particle. Particles which come after a noun shows 'subject' are: -께서, -(에)서, etc.]

1. "-이" --> 선행 명사가 자음으로 끝날 때
: When the noun ends in a consonant.. add 이
2. "-가" --> 선행 명사가 모음으로 끝날 때
: When the noun ends in a vowel.. add 가

보기~ 1. 책상: 책상 + 이 --> 책상이
2. 사과: 사과 +가 --> 사과가

참고 '나, 너, 저, 누구' 뒤에 붙으면 '내가, 네가, 제가, 누가'로 된다.
When 이/가 is attached at the end of '나, 너, 저, and 누구,' the words change into '내가, 네가, 제가, and 누가.'
내가 가요. 네가 갔니? 제가 가겠습니다. 누가 갑니까?

예문~ .연필이 있습니다. There is a pencil.
. 안경이 없습니다. There is not a pair of glasses.
. 시계가 비쌉니다. The watch is expensive.
. 딸기가 맛있습니다. The strawberry is delicious.
Grammar 2 을/를
조사. 명사에 붙어서 동사의 '목적어'를 나타낸다.
[Object particle. Comes after a noun and shows the "object" of the verb.]

1. "-을" --> 자음으로 끝나는 명사일 때: When the noun ends in a consonant.. add 을
2. "-를" --> 모음으로 끝나는 명사일 때: When the noun ends in a vowel.. add 를

보기~ 1. 책: 책 + 을 --> 책을
2. 교과서: 교과서 + 를 --> 교과서를

참고~ 구어에서는 생략되거나 모음 뒤에서 '-ㄹ'만으로 줄여 쓰기도 한다.
[ In spoken language, it may be omitted or abbreviated into '-ㄹ' after a vowel.
영화를 보고 커피를 마셨어요. --> "영활 보고 커필 마셨어요."

예문~ . 신문을 봅니다. I read a newspaper.
. 커피를 마십니다. I drink a cup of coffee.
. 수영을 합니다. I swim.
. 자우개를 삽니다. I buy an eraser.

01. If a character has a romanization with letters separated by an "/", that is what the letter should be romanized as the final letter when found at the end of a syllable. Example: 밥 (rice) would be bap. 02. When ㅅ is followed directly by ㅣ, it should be romanized as shi. Example: 다시 (again) would be dashi.
03. To avoid confusion of syllables, a hyphen can be used. Example: 후에 (after) would be hu-e.
04. When ㄱ, ㄷ, ㄹ, ㅂ are found directly before vowel, they are romanized as g, d, r, b.
05. When ㄱ, ㄷ, ㄹ, ㅂ are found directly before a consonant, they should be romanized as k, t, r, p.

Grammar 3 도 [Lesson Created By KkOmA]

조사. '또, 또한, 역시'의 의미를 나타내는 보조사, '-에게도, -와/과도' 처럼 다른 조사 뒤에 붙기도 한다.
[Particle with the meaning of 'also, too' May be attached to the end of other particles as in '-에게도 and -과도.'] [Similar to 'also, too']

1. 책이 있습니다. + 노트가 있습니다. -----> 책이 있습니다. 노트도 있습니다.
2. 사과를 먹습니다. + 수박을 먹습니다. ------> 사과를 먹습니다. 수박도 먹습니다.

. 예습을 합니다. 복습도 합니다. [ I prepare the lessons. I go over the lessons, too]
. 책을 읽습니다. 신문도 읽습니다. [ I read a book. I read a newspaper, too]
. 선생님을 만납니다. 친구도 만납니다. [ I meet a teacher. I meet a friend, too]
. 영화가 재미있습니다. 소설책도 재미있습니다. [ The movie is interesting. The novel is interesting, too]

Grammar 4 은/는

조사. 명사나 부사, 다른 조사나 어미에 붙어서 문장의 주제임을 나타내거나 '대조', '강조'의 뜻으로 쓴다.
[ Topic particle. Attached to nouns, adverbs, other particles or endings, it shows the subject of the sentence or may be used to show 'contrast' or 'emphasis'. ]

1. "은" ----> 자음으로 끝나는 명사일 때: When the noun ends in a consonant, add "은"
2. "는" ----> 모음으로 끝나는 명사일 때: When the noun ends in vowel, add "는"

1. 물: 물 + 은 ---> 물은
2. 우유: 우유 + 는 ---> 우유는

.책이 있습니다. 사전은 없습니다. [ There is a book. There is not a dictionary, though. ]
.넥타이가 쌉니다. 옷은 비쌉니다. [ The tie is cheap. However, the clothes are expensive. ]
.버스가 느립니다. 지하철은 빠릅니다. [ The bus is slow. However, the subway train is fast. ]
.여름이 덥습니다. 겨울은 춥습니다. [ It's hot in summer. However, it's cold in winter. ]


Grammar 5 에 [Lesson Created By KkOmA]

위치격 조사. 장소나 시간 명사 뒤에 쓴다. '위치'나 '방향', '때'를 나타낸다.
[Locative particle. Used after place or time noun and shows 'location, direction or time'.] [ Similar to 'in/at or to' ]

1. 냉장고: 냉장고 + 에 ---> 냉장고에 [위치: place]
2. 아침: 아침 + 에 ---> 아침에 [때: time]
3. 도서관: 도서관 + 에 ---> 도서관에 [방향: direction]

. 가족이 교회에 있어요. My family is at church.
. 우유가 가게에 있어요. Milk is in the shop.
. 밤에 착을 읽어요. I read a book at night.
. 지금 은행에 가요. I go to the bank now.

Grammar 6 에

셈을 세는 단위 명사와 결합하여 단위나 셈의 '기준'을 나타낸다.
[Added to the unit noun which counts numbers, it shows the 'standard' of the counting or unit.] [Similar to 'a, per, or by']

1. 한 그롯 -- 이천 원입니다. -----> 한 그롯을 이천 원입니다.
2. 만 원 -- 여섯 개입니다. -----> 만 원에 여섯 개입니다.

. 일 주일에 두 번 갑니다. I go twice a week.
. 한 시간에 20페이지를 읽습니다. I read 20 pages per hour.
. 옷 한 벌에 4만원입니다. It costs 40,000 won by the set.
. 한 반에 10명입니다. There are 10 students in a class.


Relative Titles - 친척과 관계된 호칭

Older Woman - 아주머니 - ajumni (aunt) [Polite]

Older Woman - 아줌마 - ajumma (auntie) [Less Polite]

Older Man - 아저씨 - ajussi (Uncle)

Elderly Woman - 할머니 - hal muh ni (Grandmother) [Polite]

Elderly Man - 할아버지 - hara buh ji (Grandpa) [Less Polite]

Father - 아버지 - ah buh ji

Father in law - 시아버지 - shi ah buh ji

Father in law - 장인어른 - jang in uh reun

Dad - 아빠 - appa [Informal]

Mum - 엄마 - umma

Mother - 어머니 - uh muh ni

Mother in law - 시어머니 - shi uh muh ni

Mother in law - 장모님 - jang mo nim

Siblings - 손위 형제 자매

Older Sister - 언니 - unni (If the speaker is female)

Older Brother - 오빠 - oppa (If the speaker is female)

Older Sister - 누나 - nuna (If the speaker is male)

Older Brother - 형 - hyung (If the speaker is male)

Younger Sibling - 동생 - dong saeng (Regardless of speaker's gender)

cr : clarinda 

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