How To Refer Friends In Korean

Do you know ‘Friends’ in Korean culture mean different from ones in the western world?

Friend is 친구 in Korean and you pronounce it as [chin gu]. For the natural pronunciation, it can be pronounced as [ching gu].


My experience with friends in Canada

It seems the western culture defines friends depending on how close you are to someone. This can be due to the length of time you’ve known the person or admiration towards someone etc. But, this is regardless of their age.

First I thought it was strange to see younger western kids calling someone who’s a lot older than them a friend. This can be a great advantage if you like to meet new people without having a barrier to the age hierarchy. However, this can sometimes lack a certain level of respect that Korean culture has towards someone who’s older than them.


Friends in Korean culure

Personally, I have never called someone who’s at a different age a friend. In our culture, we refer people by their statuses and titles, therefore, between close ‘Friends’ (western term), we don’t call each other ‘Friends’ if we are not the same age.

Usually when you are a student in schools (up to high school), peers you study with are mostly likely the same age as you, 99% in my personal experience. This means almost everyone you hang out with is the same age friend. I believe this can happen due to our educational system that you don’t jump ahead because you have a better grade than others.

Once you enter a college or a university, you may see more diverse age groups as men must serve in military service for two years and they usually do it during the school years. That means when they come back to school from the service, they will be older than other students. Another common reason is some people take the Suneung (Korean version of SAT) more than once to enter a school. They will be older than other students as well.

Once you get a job in the work force, you may not care about age as much because titles in a company override age. However, if you meet people outside of work, you may still need to know their age to figure out how to refer them if they prefer being called non-title.

For these reasons (probably many other reasons as well), we need to figure out who is older or younger than you by asking “How old are you? 몇살이에요?” [myeo ssarieyo]. This is not a rude question as this is necessary to determine how to refer someone. If you are asking the question to someone who is clearly older than you, this could be rude depending on the individual.


How to refer friends in Korean

Someone who’s older than you

오빠 [obba]: Older man called by a younger female
[hyeong]: Older man called by a younger male
언니 [eonni]: Older woman called by a younger female
누나 [nuna]: Older woman called by a younger male

Someone who’s younger than you

동생 [dongsaeng]: Younger sibling
남동생 [namdongsaeng]: Male younger sibling
여동생 [yeodongsaeng]: Female younger sibling
Their names

Which culture do you prefer when it comes to referring friends?”
Comment below. 🙂

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Learn 5 different Eng meanings for a Korean verb 쓰다

ONE Korean verb that has MULTIPLE meanings in English

In terms of learning new vocabulary in foreign language, it can be confusing or frustrating when you realize there are multiple meanings in one single verb in the new language.

Today’s post is all about finding out what can be translated to when you use 쓰다 verb.

쓰다 verb

As far as my knowledge at this moment, this verb can have 5 different meanings in English depending on contexts.

1. to write

For the first one, when you write a book or a letter, this is the verb you use.

오늘 저는 편지를 써요. I write a letter today. 

오늘 저는 편지를 써요.

2. to wear (glasses, hat)

The second meaning of 쓰다 is to wear specifically for glasses and a hat. We use different verbs of ‘to wear’ for different types of clothing and this will be a separate blog post.

우리 엄마는 안경을 써요. My mom wears glasses.

우리 엄마는 안경을 써요.

3. to spend (money)

For the third one, this means ‘to spend’ and this is specifically for money. In English, you can use ‘spend’ for time, but there is a different verb to say “spend time”. The #3 of 쓰다 is for “spending money”.

지난 주말에 저는 쇼핑에 돈을 많이 썼어요. Last weekend, I spent a lot of money on shopping.

주말에 저는 쇼핑에 돈을 많이 썼어요

4. to be bitter

This fourth one means ‘to be bitter’ when you express taste of certain food. I do find certain vegetables are more bitter than others.. XD

이 야채는 너무 써요. This vegetable is really bitter.

이 야채는 너무 써요

5. to use

This meaning is generally for the meaning of ‘to use’. When you use any types of things such as a cell phone or a cup and many more, you use 쓰다.

항상 새로운 방법을 쓰려고 노력해요. I always try to use new methods.

항상 새로운 방법을 쓰려고 노력해요

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How To Learn Korean Number Systems

Korean Number Systems

Two Korean Number Systems

There are interestingly two number systems in Korean language.

What….? yea… and we use each system for different things.. @.@ (This is a separate topic for another post)
Historically, we were very much close to China and influenced by their language even before Korean language (Hangeul) was invented. So, we have the Chinese system and the Korean system written in Korean.


Difference Between Chinese And Korean Systems

Chinese number system is also called Sino system. Chinese system numbers sound similar to the actual numbers in Chinese. Thus, if you also speak Chinese, you will have an easier time to learn the Chinese number system.
Korean number system goes up to 99. (There is a word for 100 온 but no one uses it.) Anything above that, we use Chinese system. Let’s begin to learn how to say 1 to 10 first. 🙂

Count 1 to 10

Numbers Korean Chinese
1 하나
2
3
4
5 다섯
6 여섯
7 일곱
8 여덟
9 아홉
10

After 10, you just combine two numbers. 11 becomes 열하나 in Korean and 십일 in Chinese. 12 becomes 열둘 in Korean and 십이 in Chinese, and so on.. For the Korean system, you need to know each name for numbers that end with 0.

Count 10 to 90

Numbers Korean Chinese
10
20 스물 이십
30 서른 삼십
40 마흔 사십
50 오십
60 예순 육십
70 일흔 칠십
80 여든 팔십
90 아흔 구십

Count from 100

Numbers Chinese
100
1000
10,000
100,000 십만
1,000,000 백만
10,000,000 천만
100,000,000

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How To Read And Write Date In Korean

Date In Korean

Learning numbers in Korean itself can be overwhelming.
Once you master numbers, you think you can easily figure out how to say Date in Korean.

But, if you don’t know the rules provided in this post, you still may be in a confusing state. If you are encountering the situation, I will help you learn how to use Date. You are in the right place. 😉


First, let’s learn to say the words.

Year: 년 [nyeon]
Month: 월 [weor]
Day: 일 [ir]

Year, Month, Date in Korean

You must know these three rules below when you say date in Korean.

Rule 1. Korean date ALWAYS starts with Year.

In fact, the order in Date in Korean doesn’t change. It’s always Year (년) – Month (월) – Day (일).

Therefore, it’s always easy to recognize which is for what.

However, in English, it usually seems to start with month, but sometimes also start with date or year. As someone who lives in Canada, this has confused me. I first thought it was because I was an immigrant here. Later on, I realized it was not just me who was confused about it as I witnessed other born and raised Canadian also had the same problems. XD

Maybe that’s whyRule 3 is created to solve the issue.


Rule 2. Read it in Chinese (Sino) system

Number Systems In Korean

First of all, did you know there are two different number systems in Korean language?

Chinese (Sino) system and Korean system

I won’t explain details about the two systems as that’s going to be a topic for a separate post. I’d like to mention here you would need to use the Chinese (Sino) number system with Date.

Korean number system goes up to 100 (Korean people don’t really use 100 온 in a daily life). Any figure that can have over 100 ends up used with the Chinese system. In the date case, you use the Chinese number system for all 년, 월, 일.


Rule 3. Korean month 월 is always associated with numbers

Korean month is always associated with numbers which means there are no words to describe specific month like English. For example, number 4 has a representative word which is April.

As I mentioned in Rule 1, maybe someone had to invent the words to clear the confusion as the order of date in English can be versatile. But, of course, this is just my total assumption.

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How To Say Your Country In Korean

Country names in Korean

World map

I am going to show you country names of the world and how to write them in Korean based on English or original language phonetic sound. When you read Korean, it may not be exactly the same sound you are used to as there are certain English letters that Korean alphabet doesn’t have.

Here is how we replace English letters to Korean letters. But this can change really depending on how the syllables make up a sound.

English lettersKorean letter replacement
f ㅂ / ㅍ
v
thㄷ / ㄸ / ㅅ / ㅆ/ ㅌ
z
r / l

We (Korean) may have chosen to use Korean words to say Island, Democratic Republic and United included in some country names.

The recordings repeat each country twice. The first time is the sound for each broken down syllable and the second time is the sound to speak it naturally.

You can play the recordings placed below each English alphabet letters (from a to z) to confirm how to say the names in Korean.


How To Say South Korea and North Korea in Korean

대한민국 or 한국 South Korea (official name: Republic of Korea)
북한 North Korea (official name: Democratic people’s republic of Korea)

Korea

How To Say All Other Countries

a

Afghanistan 아프가니스탄
Albania 알바니아
Algeria 알제리
Andorra 안도라
Angola 앙골라
Argentina 아르헨티나
Armenia 아르메니아
Australia 호주
Austria 오스트리아
Azerbaijan 아제르바이잔

a

b

Bahamas 바하마
Bahrain 바레인
Bangladesh 방글라데시
Barbados 바베이도스
Belarus 벨라루스
Belgium 벨기에
Belize 벨리즈
Benin 베냉
Bhutan 부탄
Bolivia 볼리비아
Bosnia and Herzegovina 보스니아헤르체고비나
Botswana 보츠와나
Brazil 브라질
Brunei 브루나이
Bulgaria 불가리아
Burkina Faso 부르키나 파소
Burundi 부룬디

b

c

Cabo Verde 카보베르데
Cambodia 캄보디아
Cameroon 카메룬
Canada 캐나다
Central African Republic 남아프리카 공화국
Chad 차드
Chile 칠레
China 중국
Colombia 콜롬비아
Comoros 코모로
Cook Islands 쿡제도
Costa Rica 코스타리카
Croatia 크로아티아
Cuba 쿠바
Cyprus 키프로스
Czech Republic 체코

c

d

Democratic Republic of the Congo 콩고 민주 공화국
Denmark 덴마크
Djibouti 지부티
Dominica 도미니카
Dominican Republic 도미니카 공화국

d

e

Ecuador 에콰도르
Egypt 이집트
El Salvador 엘살바도르
Equatorial Guinea 적도 기니
Eritrea 에리트레아
Estonia 에스토니아
Ethiopia 에티오피아

e

f

Faroe Islands 페로 제도
Fiji 피지
Finland 핀란드
France 프랑스

f

g

Gabon 가봉
Gambia 감비아
Georgia 조지아
Germany 독일
Ghana 가나
Greece 그리스
Grenada 그레나다
Guatemala 과테말라
Guinea 기니
Guinea-Bissau 기니비사우
Guyana 가이아나

g

h

Haiti 아이티
Honduras 온두라스
Hungary 헝가리

h

i

Iceland 아이슬란드
India 인도
Indonesia 인도네시아
Iran 이란
Iraq 이라크
Ireland 아일랜드
Israel 이스라엘
Italy 이탈리아

i

j

Jamaica 자메이카
Japan 일본
Jordan 요르단

j

k

Kazakhstan 카자흐스탄
Kenya 케냐
Kiribati 키리바시
Kuwait 쿠웨이트
Kyrgyzstan 키르기스스탄

k

l

Laos 라오스
Lativa 라트비아
Lebanon 레바논
Lesotho 레소토
Liberia 라이베리아
Libya 리비아
Lithuania 리투아니아
Luxembourg 룩셈부르크

l

m

Madagascar 마다가스카르
Malawi 말라위
Malaysia 말레이시아
Maldives 몰디브
Mali 말리
Malta 몰타
Marshall Islands 마셜
Mauritania 모리타니
Mauritius 모리셔스
Mexico 멕시코
Micronesia 미크로네시아
Monaco 모나코
Mongolia 몽골
Montenegro 몬테네그로
Morocco 모로코
Mozambique 모잠비크
Myanmar 미얀마

m

n

Namibia 나미비아
Nauru 나우루
Nepal 네팔
Netherlands 네덜란드
New Zealand 뉴질랜드
Nicaragua 니카라과
Niger 니제르
Nigeria 나이지리아
Niue 니우에 섬
Norway 노르웨이

n

o

Oman 오만

o

p

Pakistan 파키스탄
Palau 팔라우
Panama 파나마
Papua New Guinea 파푸아뉴기니
Paraguay 파라과이
Peru 페루
Philippines 필리핀
Poland 폴란드
Portugal 포르투갈

p

q

Qatar 카타르

q

r

Republic of Moldova 몰도바
Romania 루마니아
Russia 러시아
Rwanda 르완다

r

s

Saint Kitts and Nevis 세인트키츠 네비스
Saint Lucia 세인트루시아
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 세인트빈센트그레나딘
Samoa 사모아
San Marino 산마리노
Sao Tome and Principe 상투메프린시페
Saudi Arabia 사우디아라비아
Senegal 세네갈
Serbia 세르비아
Seychelles 세이셸
Sierra Leone 시에라리온
Singapore 싱가폴
Slovakia 슬로바키아
Slovenia 슬로베니아
Solomon Islands 솔로몬 제도
Somalia 소말리아
South Africa 남아프리카 공화국
South Sudan 남수단
Spain 스페인
Sri Lanka 스리랑카
Sudan 수단
Suriname 수리남
Swaziland 스와질란드
Sweden 스웨덴
Switzerland 스위스
Syria 시리아

s

t

Tadjikistan 타지키스탄
Taiwan 대만
Tanzania 탄자니아
Thailand 태국
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 구 유고슬라비아 마케도니아 공화국
Timor-Leste 동티모르
Togo 토고
Tokelau 토켈라우
Tonga 통가
Trinidad and Tobago 트리니다드토바고
Tunisia 튀니지
Turkey 터키
Turkmenistan 투르크메니스탄
Tuvalu 투발루

t

u

Uganda 우간다
Ukraine 우크라이나
United Arab Emirates 아랍 에미리트 연합국
United Kingdom 영국
United Republic of Tanzania 탄자니아
United States of America 미국
Uruguay 우루과이
Uzbekistan 우즈베키스탄

u

v

Vanuatu 비누아투
Vatican City 바티칸시국
Venezuela 베네주엘라
Vietnam 베트남

v

y

Yemen 예멘

y

z

Zambia 잠비아
Zimbabwe 짐바브웨

z

Please let me know if I missed any country and comment below where you are from by filling the blank with your country name 🙂

저는 _______에서 왔어요.

I am from _______.

How To Say Zodiac Signs In Korean

무슨 별자리예요?

What’s your zodiac sign?

무슨 별자리예요?

무슨 which
별 star
자리 seat
별자리 zodiac sign
예요 be verb from 이다 (dictionary)

To answer the question

My zodiac sign is _________.

If the zodiac sign ends with a vowel:
제 별자리는 ________예요.

If the zodiac sign ends with a consonant:
제 별자리는 ________이에요.

Zodiac signs with each recording

양자리 Aries / the Ram (3월 21일~4월 19일)

황소자리 Taurus / the Bull (4월 20일~5월 20일)

쌍둥이자리 Gemini / the Twins (5월 21일~6월 21일)

게자리 Cancer / the Crab (6월 22일~7월 22일)

사자자리 Leo / the Lion (7월 23일~8월 22일)

처녀자리 Virgo / the Virgin (8월 23일~9월 23일)

천칭자리 Libra / the Scales (9월 24일~10월 22일)

전갈자리 Scorpio / the Scorpion (10월 23일~11월 22일)

사수자리 Sagittarius / the Archer (11월 23일~12월 24일)

염소자리 Capricorn / the Goat (12월 25일~1월 19일)

물병자리 Aquarius / the Water Bearer (1월 20일~2월 18일)

물고기자리 Pisces / the Fishes (2월 19일~3월 20일)

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