one girl's journey across kpop paradise

Tag Archives: learning korean

Hello everyone!

I’ve decided to start a new series called Korean Survival Skills, for those of you who may be so brave to travel to Korea without proficiency in Korean. In Korea, it’s quite necessary to know how to speak the language to get anything done, but if you’re feeling feisty, read my guide and hopefully you’ll be able to order successfully! Let me know how it goes!

Caution: I’m not a fluent speaker by any means. These are just the basics I’ve learned through experience. If I mess up the grammar or phrasing, please let me know and I will fix it. The romanization isn’t the standard way to romanize, but I made it so that it sounds most logical to English-speaking ears.

[At your arrival]
Waiter: 몇분이세요? (myot bun i seyo) [How many people are there?]

You: 한(두/셋/넷/다섯/여섯/일곱/여덜/아홉/열) 분이에요 (han/du/set/net/tahsot/yeosot/ilgop/ahop/yeol – bun i eyo) [One/two/three/four/five/six/seven/eight/nine/ten people]

Waiter: 이쪽으로 오세요. (I jjokero ohseyo) [Come this way]

[Ordering]
(Calling over the waiter) You: 저기요! (cho ggi yo) [Excuse me (lit. over there)]

Waiter: 뭘 주문하시겠어요? (mwol chumunhashigessoyo) [What would you like to order?]

Here you have several options.

If you’re ordering something with numbers, you can say –

# 번 (하고 # 번) 주세요 (# bon hago # bon chuseyo) [Please give me number # and number #)

And the #’s – 일 (il/one), 이 (i/two), 삼 (sam/three), 사 (sah, four), 오 (oh, five), 육 (yu, six), 칠 (chil, seven), 팔 (pal, eight), 구 (ku, nine), 십 (ship, ten), 십일 (shibil, eleven), 십이 (shibi, twelve), 십삼 (shibsam, thirteen)….

And if you’re not ordering with numbers, just replace the # signs with the name of the food.

If you’re ordering BBQ, the way they sell meat is in the servings per person. So if you have four+ people, you’re supposed to order four+ servings, but some places you can get away with ordering two or three, if you’re lucky.

You: 불고기 사인분 주세요 (pulgogi sa in bun chuseyo) [Four servings of bulgogi, please]
불고기 is really popular, but you can replace it with 갈비(kalbi) or 삼겹살 (samgyopsal).

Three orders of meat: 삼인분 (sam in bun)
Five orders: 오인분(oh in bun)

[During the meal]
If you want more water – 여기 물 좀 더 주세요 (yoggi muul jom doh chuseyo)
If you want some hand wipes – 물수건 좀 주세요 (muul sugohn chuseyo)
If you want to order more food – (name of food) 하나 더 주세요 ( _____ hana doh chuseyo) 

[At the end of the meal]
If you want the bill – 계산서 주실래요? (kyesanso jushillaeyo?) 
OR 지금 계산할게요 (chigeum kyesan halkaeyo) [We’ll take the bill now]

If there’s anything I missed that you would like to know, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it! Again, if there are any mistakes, please let me know!

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여러분 나는 지금 한국어 열심히 공부하고 있는지 알죠? 맨날 맨날 한국어 공부하는 게 노력해 본데 가끔씩 너무 피곤하거나 싫어서 안 해요. 그게 안 좋잖아, 근데 난 이미 진짜 열심히 공부하고 있어요. 이제 그만 영어로 쓸게요!

Woot, that was hard! As for a translation of my previous Korean (I don’t think all of it was grammatically correct, but anyway):

Everyone, you know how hard I’m studying Korean now, right? Everyday, I try to study Korean but sometimes I’m too tired or I don’t want to, so I don’t. This isn’t good, but I’m already working really hard. Now I’m going to write in English!

Haha wow that was really sad Korean-writing skills. I can’t really come up with anything better for now, but I’m going to write more Korean in my entries, so I can practice. If you spot the grammar mistakes, feel free to correct me (because otherwise I probably would never know!). I’m going to come up with a new topic every time I have a writing exercise in Korean now…perhaps you can give me some suggestions for topics!

Until next time :) Happy studying Korean!


Ahhh so I have abandoned my blog for about two weeks now! So sad…it’s mostly been because I’ve been too busy and and then when I’m free, too tired/lazy to post. Let’s see, what have I done since I last blogged?

1) I started tutoring a KU student in English. The experience will come in handy when I want to come back to Korea and find a teaching job, I think :)

2) KO-YON JEON!! The annual sporting games between Korea University and Yonsei University are always a blast. Actually, I wasn’t expecting that much because I’m not a huge fan of watching sports, but Ko-Yon Jeon was so much fun. In fact, I have to deem it as the most fun I’ve had in Korea so far. Why? The cheering. At KU and at YU, each school has their own particular school cheering songs and cheers that go along with them. At the games (baseball, basketball, ice hockey, rugby, and soccer), you don’t sit to watch the game – you stand for hours at a time and cheer your heart out for your school. It’s really touching to see a huge stadium full of red shirts (KU’s official school color) moving in tandem to the cheers, and every time we score, it’s like a huge celebration. It’s school spirit like I’ve never seen before, and for once I was so excited to feel a part of this unique kind of patriotism. The cheering songs are SO addicting – I was listening to them on my iPod for a week after the games. This was the highlight of my experience so far. I wish I could come back to KU every fall just to attend Ko-Yon Jeon :)

3) I actually have done a fair amount of “partying,” as I would classify it. I had been pretty opposed to drinking and clubbing and the like, as evidenced in my previous blog entries, but the conclusion to the Ko-Yon Jeon was a night out in Sinchon, the area around Yonsei. And so everyone in our KUBA group went to a club in Sinchon. I told myself I’d make an exception since it was Ko-Yon Jeon (and we won!! It’s been years since KU won the games!!). And I actually had a decent time – enough to convince me to go clubbing again when my friend asked me to go a couple of days ago. Went to Club Cocoon in Hongdae – it was a really nice club and I’d definitely go again. My friend told me NB2 in Hongdae is the it place, so I plan on going sometime.

And this isn’t really an event, per se, but I need to categorize this. 4) Everywhere I go, I get Koreans asking me if I’m Korean. And when I tell them I’m not, I get this look of disbelief every time. “But you look so Korean!”, I hear. But I don’t actually think I look that Korean. It is pretty frustrating, because I feel like Koreans feel special kinship with other Koreans and a bit more resistance when you’re not Korean. I don’t think it’s surprising – I think every culture is like this, but Koreans are really proud of their country, so it was a bit intimidating at first. Now, though, I think it’s not so bad. Once you get to know them a bit more, they will realize you’re basically all the same. People are people.

5) More language things. I’m already involved in one language exchange program, but it doesn’t meet regularly. So I started going to a Korean tutoring (kind of) thing that’s on Saturdays. It’s held at a church in Gangnam, and the people are a bit older than I had expected, but they are very nice and really try to help you with your Korean (by talking slowly and in simple sentences and by explaining as much as they can). It was quite encouraging, so I think I will definitely continue with it. There is KU ISF Korean Class on Thursdays in the science campus, and it is a semester-long course, so I will be updating on how that goes. Ahh learning Korean is so difficult. My least favorite thing are the verb endings. There are different endings for every situation! I think there are hundreds of verb endings…that are impossible to completely comprehend. I’m starting to doubt if I can ever truly become fluent in Korean, but…I have to keep trying.

Once again, a very long entry, and not that exciting. Sorry guys! My brain is so fried these days. I’m just trying to keep updating, so that those who are interested can continue to follow me on my adventures. I realize this is my most incomprehensible and poorest written blog entry. Please excuse any grammar mistakes or just plainly stupid sentences, like this one.

I will update again when my brain is more in tact ^^ Annyong!