50 Most Common Korean Words and Phrases You Should Learn First

Updated:26 Oct, 2022

Nowadays, learning basic Korean words and phrases is simple. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in Southeast Asia. Numerous Korean books, plays, films, Korean music, and even Korean cuisine all illustrate how popular Korean culture is. Many individuals are interested in learning the Korean language so that they might broaden their vocabulary and learn the language spoken by their prejudices and favorite performers. Whatever the reason, it is evident that the Korean language has advanced significantly in terms of global recognition beyond Asia.

Korean Food Words:

You will undoubtedly want to be familiar with some fundamental Korean culinary terminology if you intend to study the language. Since there are so many delectable choices and a wide selection, you'll be pleased you did! Learning these basic Korean terms can benefit you as you investigate Korean and South Korean culture. By mastering these basic Korean terms, it will be easier to discuss cuisine in South Korea. The basic South Korean language terms for food are listed below:

Korean WordMeaning in EnglishExample Sentence
 mul (물 )WATER 하루에 물 세 잔 마셔요.
Every day, I drink three glasses of water.
(harue mul se jan masyeoyo.)
bap ( 밥 )RICE내일 밥 같이 먹을래요?
Shall we eat together tomorrow?
(naeil bap gachi meogeullaeyo?)
yachae ( 야채 )VEGETABLES시장에서 야채를 샀어요.
I bought vegetables at the market.
(sijangeseo yachaereul sasseoyo.)
gwail ( 과일 )FRUIT 어떤 과일 좋아하세요?
What kind of fruit do you like?
(eotteon gwail joahaseyo?)
 gogi ( 고기)MEAT 어제 저녁에 고기를 구워 먹었어요.
Last night I ate grilled meat.
ppang ( 빵 )BREAD빵 먹을때 버터랑 잼이랑 같이 먹어요.
I consume butter and jam on my toast.
(ppang meogeulttae beoteorang jaemirang gachi meogeoyo.)
saengseon ( 생선 )FISH생선을 열 마리나 잡았어요!
I caught ten fish!
(saengseoneul yeol marina jabasseoyo!)
keopi ( 커피 )COFFEE여자친구와 유명한 카페에 갔습니다.
I went out with my girlfriend to a well-known cafe.
(yeojachinguwa yumyeonghan kapee gatseumnida.)
maekju ( 맥주)BEER 내 남자친구는 맥주 한 병도 못 마셔요.
Even one beer bottle is beyond the reach of my guy.
(nae namjachinguneun maekju han byeongdo mot masyeoyo.)
 soju ( 소주)SOJUf나랑 친구는 소주를 좋아해요.
With my companion, I enjoy consuming soju
(narang chinguneun sojureul joahaeyo).

Simple Korean Words:

These words are easy to memorize and master. You may hear these expressions in Korean dramas, movies, variety shows, or live performances by K-pop celebrities. Here are some simple Korean words you may learn:

Korean WordMeaning
예 (ye)yes
아니요 (aniyo)no
 우리 (uri)we
오늘 (oneul)today
어제 (eoje)yesterday
내일 (naeil)tomorrow
 밤 (bam)night/evening
아침 (achim)morning
왜 (wae)why
 언제 (eonje)when

Basic Korean Words:

Since they are often used during Korean dramas, films, and other forms of entertainment, Korean words for beginners like you may be readily learned. They are accommodating since they are frequently employed in everyday speech. The following is a list of essential Korean words:

안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo)Hello
감사합니다 (kamsahamnidaThank you
천만에요 (cheonmaneyo)You’re welcome
 잠시만요 (jamsimanyo)Excuse me
괜찮아요 (gwaenchanayo)Okay
죄송합니다 (joisonghamnida)I’m sorry
주세요 (juseyo)Please give me
몰라요 (mollayo)I don’t know
알아요 (arayo)I know
이해해요 (ihaehaeyo)I understand
좋아요 (joayo)Good
 안 좋아요 (an joayo)Not good

Other Useful Korean Words:

Words from the original South Korean language make up lovely Korean words. The South Korean language has several terms that have Chinese roots. These Chinese-derived terms are sometimes referred to as "loan words." However, you'll discover a handful of the many beautiful native Korean terms in the following part.

Korean WordMeaning
 하늘 (haneul)sky
비 (bi)rain
 고양이 (goyangi)cat
강아지 (gangaji)puppy
사람 (saram)person
바람 (baramwind
 마음 (maeum)mind/heart
가람 (garam)river
바다 (bada)ocean
미르 (mireu)dragon
나르샤 (nareusha)to fly
나래 (narae)wing
누리 (nuri)world
 나라 (nara)nation

How to Expand Your Vocabulary in Korean?

1. Creating Word Lists

The most popular techniques for learning vocabulary are word lists and flash cards. Make note cards with Korean words on a single column and respective meanings on the other, or create a two-column table with the words in one column and their definitions on the other (you can even add extra columns, such as sample sentences, etc.).

List of a few Korean Greetings:

  • Nice to meet you - Mannaseo Bangapseumnida
  • What’s up? - Museun ir-iya?
  • Long Time No See - Oraenmanieyo
  • Please stay well - Annyeong Hi Gyeseyo
  • Excuse me - Jam-shi-mahn-yo

2. Search The Dictionary

Always have a dictionary close at hand and look up unfamiliar words. Try to break the habit of choosing a different way to say what you mean when you don't know (or can't remember) the correct term. Although it may be laborious to look up a term in a dictionary, doing so is eventually helpful.

3. Learn Words in Context

Rarely are words used alone. They are employed with other terms, phrases, and grammatical constructions. It is not sufficient to understand a word's meaning; you also need to understand "who," "where," "when," and "how." Otherwise, there's a significant probability that you'll slip up at some point.

4. Make Connections

Create links and correlations between the new vocabulary you are learning and the Korean words and phrases concepts you already know. For instance, a term in your native language could sound distinct, hilarious, or fascinating. Or perhaps some words bring up a memory for you.

5. Examine & Apply

To learn a word permanently, we must frequently be exposed to it by listening, speaking, writing, or reading. Words need 20–30 reviews or repetitions to be permanently stored in the human mind. Use new terms as much as possible, even if you are unclear on how to do so.

Also Read:

Wrapping Up:

It is difficult to communicate well with the natives since you will constantly encounter idioms and words you do not recognize. As a result, knowing the key Korean terminology and phrases might help you survive in such situations.


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