Speak Korean With Confidence

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Soyeung Koh & Gene Baik
TUTTLE Publishing
Tokyo | Rutland, Vermont | Singapore

Introduction Pronunciation guide Basic grammar 1. The Basics
1.1 Personal details 1.2 Today or tomorrow? 1.3 What time is it? 1.4 One, two, three… 1.5 The weather 1.6 Here, there… 1.7 What does that sign say? 1.8 Legal holidays 2. Meet and Greet 2.1 Greetings 2.2 Asking a question 2.3 How to reply 2.4 Thank you 2.5 I’m sorry 2.6 What do you think? 3. Small Talk 3.1 Introductions 3.2 I beg your pardon? 3.3 Starting/ending a conversation 3.4 A chat about the weather 3.5 Hobbies 3.6 Invitations 3.7 Paying a compliment 3.8 Intimate comments/questions 3.9 Congratulations and condolences 3.10 Arrangements 3.11 Being the host(ess) 3.12 Saying good-bye 4. Eating Out 4.1 At the restaurant 4.2 Ordering 4.3 The bill 4.4 Complaints 4.5 Paying a compliment

4.6 The menu 4.7 Alphabetical list of dishes 5. Getting Around 5.1 Asking directions 5.2 Traffic signs 5.3 The car 5.4 Renting a car 5.5 Breakdowns and repairs 5.6 Motorcycles and bicycles 5.7 The gas station 5.8 Hitchhiking 6. Arrival and Departure 6.1 General 6.2 Customs 6.3 Luggage 6.4 Questions to passengers 6.5 Tickets 6.6 Information 6.7 Airplanes 6.8 Trains 6.9 Taxis 7. A Place to Stay 7.1 General 7.2 Hotels/B&Bs/apartments/holiday rentals 7.3 Complaints 7.4 Departure 7.5 Camping/backpacking 8. Money Matters 8.1 Banks 8.2 Settling the bill 9. Mail, Phone and Internet 9.1 Mail 9.2 Telephone 9.3 Internet 10. Shopping 10.1 Shopping conversations 10.2 Food 10.3 Clothing and shoes 10.4 Photographs and electronic goods 10.5 At the hairdresser 11. Tourist Activities

11.1 Places of interest 11.2 Going out 11.3 Booking tickets 12. Sports Activities 12.1 Sporting questions 12.2 By the waterfront 12.3 In the snow 13. Health Matters 13.1 Calling a doctor 13.2 What’s wrong? 13.3 The consultation 13.4 Medications and prescriptions 13.5 At the dentist 14. Emergencies 14.1 Asking for help 14.2 Lost items 14.3 Accidents 14.4 Theft 14.5 Missing person 14.6 The police 15. English-Korean Dictionary

Welcome to the Tuttle Essential Language series, covering all of the most popular Asian languages. These books are basic guides to communicating in the language. They’re concise, accessible and easy to understand, and you’ll find them indispensable on your trip abroad to get you where you want to go, pay the right prices and do everything you’re planning to do.
This guide is divided into 15 themed sections and starts with a pronunciation table which explains the phonetic pronunciation of all the words and sentences you’ll need to know, and a basic grammar guide which will help you construct basic sentences in the language. At the end of the book is an extensive English–Korean mini-dictionary.
Throughout the book you’ll come across boxes with a symbol beside them. These are designed to help you if you can’t understand what your listener is saying to you. Hand the book over to them and encourage them to point to the appropriate answer to the question you are asking.
Other boxes in the book—this time without the symbol—give alphabetical listings of themed words with their English translations beside them.
For extra clarity, we have put all phonetic pronunciations of the foreign language terms in italics.
This book covers all topics you are likely to come across during the course of a visit, from reserving a room for the night to ordering food and drinks at a restaurant and what to do if you lose your credit cards and money. With over 2,000 commonly used words and essential sentences at your fingertips you can rest assured that you will be able to get by in all situations, so let Essential Korean become your passport to learning to speak with confidence!

Pronunciation guide
Korean words and expressions in this book are romanized using the Revised Romanization of Korean prepared and authorized by the Korean Government. Along with the principles of this system, some transcription conventions are adopted as follows: (a) Words are romanized according to sound rather than to Korean spelling.
However, in the case of verbs in the dictionary, the transcription of tensed sounds has been minimized so that the user can identify and utilize the verb stem without much confusion (e.g. to be = itda, instead of itta). (b) Where there is an expression consisting of more than one word, a space is given to mark the word boundary. (c) Three dots (…) are used in a grammatical phrase where a noun is required. (e) In the dictionary, a hyphen (-) is used to indicate a verb stem or the optional adjective form derived from an adjectival verb. (f) In the dictionary, for descriptive words, both adjectival verb forms (e.g., to be pretty = yeppeuda) and adjective forms (e.g., pretty = yeppeun) are given.
The Korean alphabet and its romanization
1) Consonants
(a) Simple consonants ㄱ g, k ㄴ n ㄷ d, t ㄹ r, l ㅁ m ㅂ b, p ㅅ s ㅇ ng ㅈ j ㅊ ch ㅋ k ㅌ t ㅍ p ㅎ h

(b) Double consonants ㄲ kk ㄸ tt ㅃ pp ㅆ ss ㅉ jj
2) Vowels
(a) Simple vowels ㅏ a ㅓ eo ㅗ o ㅜ u ㅡ eu ㅣ i ㅐ ae ㅔ e ㅚ oe ㅟ wi
(b) Compound vowels ㅑ ya ㅕ yeo ㅛ yo ㅠ yu ㅒ yae ㅖ ye ㅘ wa ㅙ wae ㅝ wo ㅞ we ㅢ ui
Reading romanized Korean
There is a very important distinction between the reading of romanized Korean and

English. The Korean romanization system depicts the sound of Korean in English letters to help foreigners communicate in Korean. Because English letters used in romanized Korean are sound symbols, they have to be pronounced in a certain way only. They should not be treated as those in English words. In English words, the sound value assigned to a certain letter varies according to different words. For example, ‘a’ in apple, father, syllable and date all have different sound values. Unless you have learnt the English phonetic symbols, you might read the romanized Korean a differently from the expected sound depending on what romanized Korean words you have. For example, you might read a as ‘a’ in apple when you get
the romanized Korean word sam (삼) ‘three’; or you might read it as ‘a’ in syllable
for either a in the romanized Korean word saram (사람) ‘person’, etc.
To avoid this type of confusion, some examples of English words containing sounds equivalent to some of the romanized Korean vowels and consonants are given as follows (approximate guideline only):
Vowels eo, eu, ae and oe are single vowels in romanized Korean as shown below. Therefore careful attention should be given to these vowels in not splitting them into two. Also, careful attention should be given to u [우] not to be read as English ‘you’. Some common vowels which might confuse you are:


ah, father

(but shorter)


cut, pot

(but shorter)


ball, pore

(but shorter)


shoe, school

(but shorter)


pronounced like the French word euh


bee, sheep

(but shorter)


apple, bad


bed, egg


wet, welcome

There won’t be much trouble in pronouncing romanized Korean consonants except some tensed ones which require a relatively strong muscular effort in the vocal organs without the expulsion of air. Some examples are given as follow:


ski, sky


steak, sting


speak, spy


sea, sir


bridge, midget

(k after s) (t after s) (p after s) (s before a vowel) (similar to a tutting sound in an exhaling way)

Basic grammar
1 Word order
Unlike in English, the Korean verb (action verb or adjectival verb) comes at the end of a sentence or clause. Also the Korean word order is quite flexible because there are special markers attached to the words in a sentence. They are called particles, and they mark the function of the words in a sentence: which word is a subject or an object etc. By contrast, in English you cannot simply change the word order in a sentence without violating its meaning because the position of words in a sentence tells us which is a subject or an object. One could not say, for example, “A mouse chased the cat’ to mean ‘The cat chased a mouse’. In Korean, the meaning is clear irrespective of the position because of the particles affixed to the subject and the object: ‘The cat-ga a mouse-reul chased’ and ‘A mouse-reul the cat-ga chased’ (ga indicates ‘the cat’ is the subject, reul indicates ‘a mouse’ is the object).
2 Common particles
Some of the common particles are: Subject marker: i (이) (after a word ending in a consonant), ga (가) (after a word ending in a vowel); Topic/contrast marker: eun (은) (after a word ending in a consonant), neun (는) (after a word ending in a vowel); Object marker: eul (을) (after a word ending in a consonant), reul (를) (after a word ending in a vowel); Place/time marker (in/at/on) : e (에) (place marker eseo (에서) has a special usage but it is not covered here)
3 Leaving out the subject of a sentence
Although the subject comes at the beginning of the sentence, it is often omitted if it is clearly understood from the context by the participants in a conversation.
Where do you live?
Eodi saseyo?
(lit., where live?) I live in Sydney
Sidenie sarayo
(lit., Sydney at live) What are you doing?
Mwo haeyo?
(lit., what do?) I am studying
Gongbu haeyo

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Speak Korean With Confidence