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Ten Easy Korean Phrases

Posted by on November 26, 2011

It turns out that more than 80 percent of the people who visit this site are still in the very elementary levels of Korean, so I will continue to offer lessons for beginners from time to time.  I am really not a big fan of Romanizing the Korean alphabet, as one day of concentrated effort is about all it takes to be literate in Hangul.  But since many people have requested it, I will provide a transliteration of the easiest lessons.  As there’s no need for all of the English spellings to be uniform, I’m just going to write the words in a way that elicits that most accurate pronunciation.


만나서 반갑습니다.
Man nasaw bangap sumneeda
Nice to meet you.

Olma aeyo?
How much is it?

이름이 뭐예요?
Irumee moyaeyo?
What’s your name?

몇 살이에요?
Myot salee aeyo?
How old are you?5.
취미가 뭐예요?
Chweeme ga moyaeyo?
What are your hobbies?

어느 나라 사람이세요?
Awnuh nara saramee saeyo?
What country are you from?

형제가 어떻게 되세요?
Hyungjae ohtdokae dway saeyo?
Do you have any siblings?

무슨 음식을 제일 좋아해요?
Musun umshikul jaeil joya haeyo?
What kind of food do you like the best?

직업이 뭐예요?
Jigobee moyaeyo?
What do you do?

나랑 친구 해줄래요?
Narang chingoo haejulleyo?
Do you want to be friends?

12 Responses to Ten Easy Korean Phrases

  1. ceilo

    Really helpful thanks a lot!
    Can I ask you something???

    what is young man in Korean language?

  2. Elsa

    I really love this site
    Thanks a lot.

  3. roeurt G-Woo

    i so b u t ful webs n so good webs….^^

  4. 비비안나 수영

    이 동영상들도 너무 좋네요~ 특히 제 캐나다친구한테 한국말 설명하기 힘든
    때도 많았는데 마이클 선생님 사이트랑 팟캐스트 보면서 많은 도움받고
    있어요!! You r the best Korean teacher Ever!!!!

  5. Eddie Provencher

    Hi Micheal. I remember when you introduced yourself when we worked together a few years back. We never got to meet since I was leaving as you were coming in.

    I just discovered your website today because of an article about you on

    I watched this video and I am really impressed with your Korean language ability. Congratulations on your success!

    I have a question for you. Do you intentionally lower your voice when speaking Korean? I noticed that your voice sounds a little deeper when speaking Korean. If it it intentional, is it because it helps your pronunciation?

    Like you said on your “About” page, I agree that grammar is difficult in the first couple of years, but I think pronunciation and a quick pace of speech is the second major hurdle I’ve encountered. Any tips/strategies for improving my pronunciation would be appreciated.

    Also, if you are conducting the study group, I’d like to know more about that. I passed the TOPIK level 4 last summer.


    • Michael

      Hi, Eddie.

      Thanks a lot for getting back in touch.

      As to your question, this is an issue that I’ve pondered a lot recently. The peculiar thing is that Koreans almost unanimously say that my voice is lower when I speak English, and Americans (including Korean Americans) all seem to think that my voice is lower when I speak Korean. I think that the idea of “lower” is sometimes confused with “more confident,” and that Koreans think my voice is lower in English because my native-speaker pronunciation is impressive to them — not that it should be. On the flip side of that, foreigners think that my Korean sounds lower because it is more impressive to them to see a white person speak an Asian language.

      If I had to pick a side in this debate, I’d probably agree with the Americans that my voice is in fact lower, or at least my throat is more open, when I speak Korean. I think Koreans perceive my voice to be higher in Korean because some of the mannerisms I use are at times effeminate — a side effect of so many female Korean teachers. This is something that western males universally have to tackle when learning Korean. It is also partly due to the fact that I leave out the linguistic bravado and machismo that most Korean males use.

      As far as advice for learners goes, I’d just suggest a more open throat when speaking Korean. Proper enunciation of an 어 sound takes a more open throat than any sound I can think of in English. It’s very important for learners not to try to pronounce Korean with their tongue, throat and lips in the same position they use to speak English.

      I hope that helps.

      By the way, I took a look at your site and enjoyed it very much. How about a link exchange? I’ll go ahead and post your site on my homepage tonight. You may also be interested in my photography site,

      Thanks for stopping by.


      • Julia

        I would say is that you speak with less volume in Korean vs English. The softer/quieter voice makes me lean forward whenever you switch to Korean.

  6. Jenny

    Really helpful and easy to understand site to learn Korean language from basic… Hope can practice together ^_^

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