How to say hello in Korean?
In Korean, there are seven levels of formality, but often we only use the four main levels. They are: informal, colloquial, formal and honorific. The other levels are mostly outdated. These language registers are useful and good to know. Especially if you want to read religious scriptures or watch Korean historical dramas, even if you won’t hear them in daily life.
Informal is for when you are talking with friends, family, and those who are younger than you or of lesser seniority.
Colloquial speech is when you talk with people you don’t know very well. This level of speech allows for social distancing (you’re not saying you’re higher or lower than them), and it’s fairly neutral and polite.
You should use formal speech with strangers or in formal situations, introduce yourself. You would also use it with people who are older than you or greater seniority. This is the most used polite way, with polite expressions appreciated by elders. Please greet people in South Korea when meeting.
Finally, you have an honorary speech. It’s not really for talking in everyday life, except in very formal situations at work. The most common example you will hear of this style is during news broadcasts. The example that is the easiest to understand is when you write a letter or cover letter at the end of the letter, you often use formal greetings and put at the end forms of politeness such as my distinguished greetings , please accept or my respectful greetings, my sincere feelings or I ask you to accept my sincere greetings distinguishedes, I beg you to believe or kindly or thanking you, cordially. These mails show high consideration to the person reading the mail. These expressions are used according to the friendly or family or professional recipients.
So, for example, a boss would use informal talk with his employees because he is the superior. But employees would use formal speech with their boss. You would use informal speech when talking with your spouse, but colloquial speech when talking with a colleague.
It’s important to know these levels of formality so that when you learn the phrases below, you know when to use them correctly and why there are variations. Korean can be easy to learn as long as you understand the basics. South Koreans rarely shake hands when they meet, but instead bow their heads in greeting. (Few kisses in public)
Let’s learn some expressions of Korean greetings. I will write them in both Hangeul (Korean characters) and Romanized letters. But it is better to learn Hangeul for proper pronunciation. In fact, you can acquire it in just a few minutes per day.
Let’s go for some formulas on how to say hello to your interlocutors! Daring to say hello, greeting people will show that your gratitude and consideration.
“Hello” 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo)
This is the most common form of politeness in Korea. This is the familiar, polite pattern of speech. You use 세요 ( haseyo) to show extra respect. It is actually an occasional, but honorific, form of the verb ‘hada 하다’, which means ‘to do’. So because it has the extra politeness added, it’s a good phrase for almost any situation, especially if you’re not sure what level of formality to use.
You can say this to introduce yourself, to show respect to those older than you, and in the office. It is a way of greeting people always with respect. Having good manners makes it possible to be appreciated by the former conformists of their culture. But it is also a way of life. It’s normal to bow to someone when you greet them. It’s a way of greeting, a sustained way while remaining simple.
“Hi” 안녕 ( Annyeong )
It’s your informal and relaxed way of welcoming those you are close to, like your friends and family. What’s great about 안녕 is that it’s used in so many ways. Unlike other languages, Korean does not have phrases for different times of the day. Although there is a “good morning” phrase (which I’ll show you later), you won’t hear “good afternoon” or “good evening.” So 안녕 is a good thing to know because you can use it any time of the day, and even say goodbye. This informal version is also the building block for adding the more polite parts of the word, like how you add the east to be more polite.
안영하시브니카 ( Annyeong Hasibnikka)
The literal translation is always “hello” in Korean. But I’m going to explain it as “good day” or even “good day Sir/Madam” because I think it’s a super formal, almost awkward way to greet someone. Nowadays it is only used on the news, or when greeting customers to show a high level of respect or towards a superior.
This is the honorific form, and one of the most polite that is still in use. It’s good to know that because sometimes you can hear it. And imagine finding yourself face to face with a royal highness! The deepest respect, use the final formula and the highest among Koreans .
여보세요 ( Yeoboseyo )
Yes, another way of saying “say hello”, but this one has nothing to do with formality. You only use this phrase when answering the phone. If you’ve ever studied Japanese, that’s like saying (moshi moshi) .
여보세요 can also be used very informally to get someone’s attention, like saying “Look here!” But it’s almost exclusively used on the phone, or if you call “hello”, don’t know who you’re talking to, or if anyone is there.
은아침요 (Joeun Achimieyo)
This is the familiar, informal form for greeting close friends. Although it means “hello”, and you’ll hear it sometimes, it’s not as common as it is in English. This is still a much more common greeting, at any time of the day.
오라엔마니요 ( Oraenmanieyo)
If you haven’t seen someone in a while – around four weeks or more – you can use this phrase as a greeting, just like you would in English.
만나서방압섭이요 ( Mannaseo Bangapseubnida)
As in English, you can greet someone you meet for the first time with “nice to meet you” instead of “hello”. This is its most polite form. This is a case where an outdated honorific is still used. (Greetings)
It’s one of the few phrases you’ll often hear in this formality. But, in more casual environments, you might also say 만나서 방 압섭 이요 (mannaseo bangapseub-ieyo) which is “It’s nice to meet you. »
” How are you ? » 어떻게 지내세요? ( Eotteohge Jinaeseyo? )
While you can use 안녕하세요 (annyeong haseyo ) to ask how someone is doing, it more literally means, “are you at peace?” To be more direct and get a real answer from someone, you ask l떻게 지내세? 어떻게 지내세요? ( Eotteohge Jinaeseyo? ). With friends, you might say 요점어태? (yojeum eottae? ) which is a very casual way of saying “what’s going on?” “, ” How’s it going? or “How are you?” But there is also the expression 밥 먹었? (bab meogeoss-eo? ), meaning “Have you eaten?” You’ll hear it often because friends don’t let friends miss out on great meals.
야! ( Ya! ) – “o!
If you’re calling your friends, you can get their attention with “야!” It’s quite slang, and a bit masculine. You can only use this one with close friends of the same age as you, and it can also be used to exclaim “Wow!” »
“Please take care of me. » 저를 돌봐주세요 (jeoleul dolbwajuseyo)
Literally translated, it means “thank you very much (for doing as I asked/taking care of him”) And it’s used that way sometimes, but more often than not you’ll hear it as a respectful greeting to go along with introductions. It’s a cultural thing, but it means something like “please let’s have a good relationship” or “please look after me.” Knowing how to say hello is an approachable form of politeness. to everyone, everywhere in the world. Without shaking hands or kissing French-style, using a polite formula will make you score points and Koreans will appreciate you for your efforts to learn and formulate . Then good luck !
Please take into account the formulas used in South Korea, so as not to offend or offend Koreans and for better integration during your visits to the Land of the Morning Calm.