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Survival Korean

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Pick up quick tips to read and speak Korean.

Traveling Korea by Bike but don’t know Korean. Is that a problem? How much do you need to know?

Let’s find out. Then let’s learn some Korean.

A picture of a Korean classroom.
Learning Korean? Is it nessecary to bike in Korea? A little bit can't hurt.

Should You Learn?

Should you learn Korean if you plan to bike in Korea? Yes. A little. To survive.

Beyond Language

Travel to any foreign country and you’ll realize that some things don’t need language. Context communicates 90%.

Walk into a restaurant at around 6 or 7. They’ll assume you want dinner. Stroll into a motel after sundown looking ragged. They’ll suppose you want a room.

Fingers show amounts. Gestures replace words.

So, the answer to “do you need to learn Korean?” is “no.” Don’t let your limited communication skills hold you back.

English in Korea

How about the second question? How much English is in Korea?

Global Tongue

English is a global language.

  • 370 million folks are native speakers.
  • 978 million employ it as a second language.
  • That makes 1.35 billion total users, surpassing all other languages.

The language’s universality doesn’t just benefit native English speakers. It facilitates business around the world.

  • Indian developers communicate with German architects in English.
  • Japanese businesspeople use it when calling up their Mexican parts suppliers.

This motivates Korea, like many nations, to pour time and money into English education.

  • Hagwons (학원), or private academies, teach millions of students every day after school.
  • Schools pay foreign English teachers airfare and rent to teach children in Korea.
  • Korea’s college entrance exam (대학수학능력시험; CSAT), a test that determines the socioeconomic outcomes of 18-year-olds, includes English as one of its primary subjects.

International Signage

Korea was once an insular nation. During the Joseon Dynasty, because of past invasions and imperialism, they barred the doors to the outside world shut. And for much of the 20th century, the Korean War and its decimation limited the nation’s international exposure.

However, after a miraculous economic turnaround (1961~1997), Koreans sought recognition on the world stage by hosting high-profile events.

Korea is one of the most homogeneous countries in the world (95% ethnic Korean). So before these games, the country needed only Hangul (한글; /han-geul/; 🔈) for signs, maps, and public notices.

The international events forced Korea to accommodate the needs of foreigner travelers. That included reprinting all signage with at least one second language beneath.

Guess which subtitle language they chose? English.

While the 1988 and 2018 Olympics spurred foreign friendly infrastructure changes, each stuck to a specific region or city.

For the 2002 World Cup, however, Korea erected ten stadiums in every corner of the country. This forced a tsunami of English to wash over the nation.

The Benefits of Hangul

Let’s make the other case. Should you learn the basics of Hangul?

Yes. Three simple reasons.

  1. It’s easy.
  2. It shows respect.
  3. English has limits.

Ease of Hangul

King Sejong and his court invented Hangul, Korea’s writing system, about 600 years ago. Unlike the English writing system, whose evolution mixed competing styles, Hangul obeys its phonetic rules.

That means an “ㅏ” vowel always makes an /a/ sound. The “ㅍ” consonant never not sounds like /p/.

Once you memorize Hangul’s alphabet, you can sound out any menu, map, and sign. (Learning Korean vocabulary and grammar is another matter.)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Koreans aren’t French. They won’t scoff at Isles born tongues. In fact, older people welcome the opportunity to try out their English on a native.

But Koreans love when foreigners are interested in Korean culture.

Try tossing one of these phrases when chatting with a Korean:

  • 진짜! (/jēn-jja/; 🔈) — “Really!”
  • 맞아요. (/maj-a-yō/; 🔈) — “That’s right.”
  • 화이팅 (/wa-ē-tēng/; 🔈) — “Fighting!” or “You can do it!” (Konglish)

Watch the astonishment wash over them.

Why? Take the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those flicks play in every theater on and off earth. That means most living humans sipped from the well of the United States’ culture.

However, South Korea only shares a common language and history with its bad-boy brother to the north. Though K-pop continues to conquer, Korea’s culture remains hidden from the world.

Show some interest in the peninsula’s particulars and gratitude will flow your way.

The Limits of English

Just a reminder. Korea is Korean. There aren’t enough minority ethnic groups for the municipalities to devote a good chunk of their treasury to foreign language services.

Limited Speakers

In Korea, paradox thrives in ESL speakers.

Older generations spark when they spot a foreigner. They dust off their dozen English phrases. “Where are you from?” they’ll ask, soon realizing that’s all the ammo in their conversation depot.

What about younger Koreans? Two factors limit their English.

  1. Young Koreans learn English to score high on standardized tests. After elementary school, instruction shifts away from conversation.
  2. With their parents’ retirement spent on their education, some feel too much pressure to perform and shy away from native English speakers.
Disordered Order

Visit a restaurant beyond the borders of the tourist hot spots. Glance at the menu on the wall. Wow! No English. All Hangul.

Ask the owner, an older ajeoshi (아저씨; /a-jeo-ssē/; 🔈), to explain the menu. He offers a rapid fire paragraph. So you hold up a finger: “one,” of what you’re not sure. Just, “one.”

Twenty minutes later, he sets down a plate of fermented stingray, a.k.a. Hongeo-hoe (홍어회; /hōng-eo-hwā/; 🔈). Hover your nose over. Take a deep breath. Mmm. Notes of septic tank.

Pick up your chopsticks (젓가락; /jeot-kka-rak/; 🔈) and whisper, “cultural experience.” You promise to memorize the Hangul phonetic chart once you crash into your motel bed.

Learn Korean

So let’s learn Korean!

Where are you going? It’s a painless process.

  1. Understand the simple system’s backstory.
  2. Learn your letters.
  3. Drill into the decayed tooth’s nerve.
  4. Make some words.
  5. Build your vocabulary
A picture of a book written in Hangul on a bookshelf.
Read to get down to business and learn some Hangul? Great! Pay attention. We'll have a quiz near the end.

Simple System

Hangul (한글) might be the easiest foreign writing system to learn. Why?

Before the 1400s, Korea used Hanja (漢字; 한자). This writing system adapted Chinese characters, with its thousands of logographs or “picture words,” to Korea’s spoken language.

Only the aristocracy could afford schooling to learn the complex system. The result? The rich got richer. Nepotism grew stronger.

So in the 1400s, King Sejong, seeing the untapped potential among the unfortunate, ordered his court’s thinkers and tinkerers to create Hangul.

This new phonetic writing system contained 26 letters that correspond to Korea’s current spoken sound language.

Phonetic? So Hangul is just like English.

Umm… 

  • Cough
  • Knight
  • Wednesday

Hangul doesn’t have silent letters (“lamb”). No vowel combinations that sometimes work (“pie”) and sometimes not (“chief”). Or other strangitudes (“pneumonia). Hangul sounds like it looks.

That means everyone, from Joseon peasants to hipster backpackers, who memorized its alphabet can read, write, and speak Korean.

Learn Your Letters

Unlike English, every Hangul letter makes a fixed sound that varies little. No irregular spellings or “I before E, except after C.”

You’ll gain a new superpower — reading and speaking Korean — once you memorize Hangul’s letter.

The Letter Form

How do you create a Hangul letter? Imagine a box (☐). Now shove vowel (10) and consonant (14) elements inside. Bon appétit.

Here are four basic rules:

  1. Elements can’t exist by themselves. (E.g. ㅌㅗㅁㅏㅌㅗ. Gibberish!)
  2. Letters must have at least one vowel and consonant. (E.g. 토마토; /tō-ma-tō/; “tomato” 🔈)
  3. A consonant element must come first.
  4. Letters have a minimum of two elements and a maximum of four.

So how do you combine letters?

The Chart

The first step to making letters: learn the Hangul Phonetic Chart. Memorize the Hangul Phonetic Chart. Make a cozy little room for the Hangul Phonetic Chart in your noggin.

How does it work? Super simple.

  • The top bar lists consonant elements.
  • The sidebar lists vowel elements.
A phonetic Korean alphabet chart.
This phonetic chart shows consonants in the columns and vowels in the rows.

Note: vowels with an overline (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū) indicate long vowels. For example, “ē” sounds like the “ea” in “eat.” Pronounce non-overline (a, e, i, o, u) letters as short vowels.

Remember the multiplication table from elementary school? The Hangul Chart works the same way.

On the top bar, place your right index finger on a consonant. On the sidebar, drop your left index on a vowel. Bring your fingers together. Ta-da! A Hangul letter.

Let’s try to make some letters.

  • ㅁ (/m/ sound) + ㅜ (/ū/ sound) = 무 (/mū/; 🔈)
  • ㅋ (/k/ sound) + ㅓ (/eo sound) = 커 (/keo/; 🔈)
  • ㅍ (/p/ sound) + ㅣ (/ē/ sound) = 피 (/pē/; 🔈)

Hey! 커피. We just made a word. Sound it out: /keo-pē/… /Keo-pē/… Yes! “Coffee.” A Konglish word.

Mouth Letters

Hangul doesn’t paint pictures like Chinese characters, or wiggle like Japan’s Hiragana alphabet. But was their intention behind their design? You bet.

Each vowel and consonant element mimics your lips, tongue, teeth, and throat when speaking.

  • The “ㄴ” consonant looks like the tip of your tongue curling to touch the bridge of your mouth when pronouncing the /n/ sound.
  • The top two lines in the “ㅍ” consonant mimic how your lips press, then release when saying the /p/ sound.
  • The forward dash on the “ㅏ” vowel copies how you leave extra space in the front of your mouth when enunciating a short /a/ vowel.
  • The “ㅡ” vowel replicated your flattened tongue by uttering a short /eu/ sound.

Double Consonants & Vowels

The letters in the Hangul Phonetic Chart, are those all? I wish.

To paint more detail into Korea’s phonetic landscape, Hangul allows writers to double-up elements.

Double Consonants

Doubling consonants? How does that work?

Write two consonants together: ㅂ + ㅂ = ㅃ. The double consonant becomes a single element. For example, 뽀뽀 (/bbō-bbō/; 🔈; “kiss”).

Check the chart to learn the lucky five vowels that get the double treatment. 

A Hangul phonetic chart showing double consonants.
The double consonants Hangul letter is pronounced with more stress.

In English, double consonants don’t affect the stress of a word. “Swimming” doesn’t sound like “swimm-mm-ing.”

What about Hangul? Double consonants ask you to pucker up and let the spit fly!

Double Vowels

Double vowels? Same concept. Add two vowels together to get a new vowel.

  • ㅏ (/a/) + ㅣ (/ē/) =  ㅐ (/āe/; 🔈)
  • ㅏ (/a/) + ㅓ (/eo/) = ㅒ (/yāe/; 🔈)
  • ㅓ (/eo/) + ㅣ (/ē/) = ㅔ (/ā/; 🔈)
  • ㅕ (/yeo/) + ㅕ (/yeo/) = ㅖ (/yā/; 🔈)
A Hangul phonetic chart showing double vowels.
Hangul's double vowels combine two short vowels to create a long vowel sound. Think the "bossy 'e'" rule in English.

Double vowels test the limits of the native English speakers’ ear.

All four elements make a long “ā” vowel sound (e.g. “take”), but with subtle shifts in stress.

  • Compared with “ㅔ,” the “ㅐ” vowel elongates the /ā/ sound.
  • Both “ㅒ” and “ㅖ” vowels include a /y/ sound. But, “ㅒ” elongates the /ā/ sound.

The Mighty Letter

A superhero hides in Hangul’s alphabet. The “ㅇ” symbol serves two functions. It’s either:

  1. a silent placeholder,
  2. Or it creates a /ng/ sound.
Silent Placeholder

What’s the third rule for creating a Hangul letter? A consonant always comes first.

But, you say, there are countless Korean words that start with a vowel sound.

You see that? In the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s “ㅇ” swooping down to save the day.

The “ㅇ” symbol takes the place of a consonant. It’s silent when placed first, allowing the vowel sound to come first.

  • 렌지 — /ō-rān-jē/ (🔈); “orange” (Konglish))
  • — /a-nē-/ (🔈); “no”
“NG” Generator

The “ㅇ” symbol wields one superpower. When seated at the bottom of a letter, it creates a /ng/ sound.

  • — /yeong/ (🔈); “zero”
  • — /an-nyeong/ (🔈); “hi”
  • — /sa-lang/ (🔈); “love”

The 7 Ws

To reiterate, English and Korean aren’t the same language. Many letters and elements survive the apples-to-apples translation journey.

However, a few of Hangul’s vowel combos sound similar to English letters.

For example, combine a wide (ㅗ, ㅜ, ㅡ) and a tall vowel (ㅏ, ㅓ, ㅣ, ㅐ, ㅔ). What do you get? Let’s try one out:

  • ㅗ + ㅏ = /ōa/

Say it five times fast. /Ōa/. /Ōa/. /Ōa/. /Wa/. /Wa/.

Hangul allows for seven different combinations of wide and tall vowels. Each creates a different type of /w/ sound to an English-reared ear.

A Hangul phonetic chart showing vowels that combine to create a sound similar to the "w" in English.
Hangul sometimes combines two vowels. The result sounds like the letter "w" in English.

Why are there 7 Ws? You can’t just throw any two vowels together. There are a few rules.

  • Vowel combos have one tall and one wide vowel. (The wide vowel is pronounced first.)
  • You can’t combine two wide (ㅗ + ㅜ = “no”), two tall (ㅏ+ㅓ= “absolutely not”), or double-dashed vowels (e.g. ㅠ + ㅕ = “we need to have a talk”).
  • Some vowels are too similar or incompatible:
    • ㅡ (/eu/) and ㅏ (/a/)
    • ㅡ (/eu/) and ㅓ (/eo/)
    • ㅜ (/ū/) and ㅏ (/a/)
    • ㅗ (/ō/) and ㅓ (/eo/)

Here are some Ws in actions:

  • — /wāe/ (🔈); “why?”
  • — /weon/ (🔈); “won” (₩)
  • 자 — /ūēja/ (🔈); “chair”
  • 국인 — /wāgūkin/ (🔈); “waygookin” or “foreigner”

Notice, the combos of ㅙ (/wāe/), ㅞ (/wā/), ㅚ (/wē/) sound the same to your Anglo ears. Don’t worry. Koreans also have a hard time, too.

Make Hangul Letters

Imagine a box (☐). Hangul shoves different combinations of vowel and consonant elements inside to create letters.

So how do you arrange the elements in the letter box (☐)? Well, that’s the cipher that’ll unlock your ability to read Hangul. 

Before we begin, let’s review three basic rules:

  1. A letter must have at least one vowel and one consonant.
    1. (Silent “ㅇ” consonants are acceptable.)
  2. Consonants always come first.
  3. Pronounce each element like reading a book: left to right, top to bottom.

Now let’s learn how to arrange two, three, and four element letters.

Two Elements

Two element letters? Simple. Consonant first. Then a vowel.

How do they fit into Hangul’s letter box (☐)? It depends on the shape of the vowel. Some are tall (ㅏ, ㅓ, ㅣ). Others are wide (ㅗ, ㅜ, ㅡ).

Tall Vowels

For tall vowels, imagine the letter box split vertically (◫). The consonant occupies the left side. The tall vowel settles on the right.

Wide Vowels

For wide vowels, divide the box horizontally (⊟). Consonants perch on top. Vowels squat below.

Three Elements

Letters with three elements? They can either include:

  • Two consonants and one vowel.
  • Two vowels and one consonant.
Two Consonants and One Vowel

Consonants with one vowel also depend on the shape of the vowel element.

If a letter holds a tall vowel, the first consonant and vowel cluster in the top half. The last consonant lounges below.

If the letter has a wide vowel, the vowel sandwiches (🥪) between the two consonants.

Two Vowels and One Consonant

As explained in the 7 Ws, Hangul combines two vowels to create a sound similar to /w/. 

Because double vowel letters have a tall and wide vowel, there’s just one way to write them. 

Split the letter box vertically (◫). On the left side, the first consonant sits above the squeezed wide vowel. The second vowel stands tall on the right side.

Four Elements

Now comes Hangul trigonometry. Four elements!

Like three element letters, you’ll find two ways to write a four elemental letter:

  • Two consonants and two vowels.
  • Three consonants and one vowel
Two Consonants and Two Vowels

A letter with two consonants and two vowels forms Hangul’s most claustrophobic cluster.

The first consonant curls in the letter box’s (☐) upper left corner. The wide vowels squeeze in the middle and right side. The bottom consonant splays out on the lower thirds. 

  • 듼 (/deuēn/; 🔈)
  • 좥 (/jōat/; 🔈)
  • 쉉 (/sūeong/; 🔈)
Three Consonants and One Vowel

Hangul’s three consonants and one vowel letter are the writing system’s most exotic. But it has the simplest placement of elements.

Divide a Hangul letter box into four (⊞). Place one element in each quadrant.

Hey! Wait a second. Are those last consonants silent.? Sometimes.

  • The last consonant makes a sound if the next letter starts with a vowel sound.
  • The last consonant makes no sound if the next letter starts with a consonant.

Confusing? Yes. Want examples? Sure.

없어요 (/eops-eo-yō/; 🔈) opens with a four element letter. By itself, 없 sounds like /eop/ (🔈). But when mixed with 어 (/eo/), the ㅅ (/s/) emerges and creates /eop-sa/ (🔈).

The opening letter of 없나요 (/eob-na-yō/; 🔈) loses the ㅅ (/s/) sound. Why? Because the next letter starts with the consonant ㄴ (/n/).

Special Combos

That last bit was complicated. Any more atypical vowel and consonant combos? Glad you asked.

T Dressed as S

Beware! In a three element letter, when you spot a consonant at the bottom of the letter, it could mean one of three things.

  1. The last consonant makes no sound if the next letter begins with a consonant.
    • E.g. 있나요 sounds like /ē-na-yō/ (🔈). No ㅆ (/ss/) sound.
  1. The last consonant makes its usual sound if the next letter starts with a vowel.
    • E.g. 알았어 sounds like /al-eoss-eo/ (🔈). The ㅆ combines with ㅓ (/eo/)
  1. The last consonant forms a /t/ sound if it’s a word’s last letter.
    • E.g. 헬멧 sounds like /hāl-māt/ (🔈). The ㅅ (/s/) sounds like /t/.

The examples above use the ㅅ (/s/) and ㅆ (/ss/) consonants. However, consonants like ㅈ (/j/), ㅉ (/jj/), ㄷ (/d/), and ㄸ (/dd/), and ㅊ (/ch/) behave similarly.

Shifting Letters

To English ears, a few Hangul consonants shift when combined.

  • The ㅅ (/s/) sounds like /sh/ when combined with ㅣ (/ē/).
    • E.g. 시; /shē/ (🔈)
  • The ㄱ (/g/) consonant sounds like /k/ when at the bottom of a letter.
    • E.g. 낙동; /Nakdōng/ (🔈)
  • The ㅂ (/b/) consonant sounds like /p/ when at the bottom of a letter.
    • E.g. 고맙습니다; /gōmap-seubnēda/ (🔈)
  • The ㄹ (/l-r/) transforms to /n/ when following the /ng/ form of ㅇ.
    • E.g. 강릉시; /Gangneung-shē/ (🔈). (“릉” in a city or place name indicates a royal tomb.)

Make Some Words

Okay. We’ve mastered reading and writing. Now let’s make some words.

But, you don’t know any Korean words.

Yes, you do. The first time you uttered “chocolate” (초콜릿; /chōkōlēt/ 🔈), begging your mum for a piece of the sweet stuff, you’ve known Konglish, Korean loanwords.

So buckle up! First, we’ll explore the familiar, then we’ll break down some bike path signs.

Because this is Survival Korea, we won’t delve into grammar and sentence formation. Want to go Hangul spelunking? Dive into this rabbit hole.

Konglish

What is Konglish? Korean + English = Konglish.

Before the 20th century, Korea isolated itself from colonial powers near and far. However, the Korean War and the United States’ heavy presence cracked the nation open to the outer world.

Soon after, a tidal wave of western-made goods and ideas washed on the peninsula’s shore. Overwhelmed by the alien jargon, many speakers and writers, instead of creating new words, repeated and transcribed the English terms.

Today, Koreans plaster Konglish words on menus, ads, and more. If you memorize the Hangul Phonetic Chart, reading them will be a 피스 어 케이크 (/pē-seu eo kā-ē-keu/).

Letter Subs

Korean and English have specific methods for folding, twisting, and fluttering human mouths and vocal folds. Like plugging your Nintendo 64 into a grandfather clock, the two phonetic spectrums don’t always line up.

The Korean language doesn’t have English /f/, /v/, /r/, and /z/ sounds. So speakers and writers imagineered some substitutes when creating Konglish words. Peruse our list below.

  • ㅍ (/p/) is used for /f/ sounds.
    • E.g. 커피 (/keo-pē/; 🔈) — “coffee.”
  • ㅂ (/b/) is used for /v/ sounds.
    • E.g. 비디오 (/bē-dē-ō/; 🔈) — “video.”
  • ㄹ (/l-r/ sound) is used for either /l/ or /r/ sounds.
    • E.g. 콜라 (/kōlla/; 🔈) — “cola”.
    • E.g. 오렌지 (/ō-rān-jē/; 🔈) — “orange/.”
  • ㅈ (/j/ sound) is used for /z/ sounds.
    • E.g. 피자 (/pē-ja/; 🔈) — “pizza.”
Konglish Practice

Konglish reads like a Pre-K puzzle.

  • Break apart letters and sound out the elements.
  • Smash the elements together to read the letters one-by-one.
  • Repeat until the English word emerges.

Let’s try one.

  • 컵 (🔈) — /keop/

What is it? Repeat, /keop/. Thirsty. Yes, get a “cup” of water (물; /mūl/; 🔈).

How about a harder one?

  • 버스 (🔈) — /beo/ (버) + /seu/ (스) = /beo-seu/ 

This one’s a little tricky.

The Korean language often forces speakers to add an extra vowel to the ends of words. Here’s another example:

  • Starbucks in Korean is /Seu-ta-beok-seu/ (스타벅스; 🔈)

So chop the “ㅡ” (/eu/) off the end of 버스 and you’ve got /beos/. Like, let’s take an intercity “bus” to the bike path.

Let’s try three syllables.

  • 케이블 (🔈) — /kā/ (케) + /ē/ (이) + /beul/ (블)

Is your shifting or branks a little wonky? Just dismount, squat down, and check your “cables.” 

Let’s scoop a five letter word out of the Hangul carton.

  • 아이스크림 (🔈) — /a/ (아) + /ē/ (ㅣ) + /seu/ (스) + /keu/ (크) + /rēm/ (림)

Say it fast: /a-ē-seu keu-rēm/.

This is also a trick. It’s actually two English words. So I’ll give you a hint. I scream. You scream. We all scream for mint-chocolate, chocolate chip, cookie dough “ice cream.”

The Konglish Game

It’s like a game, right? Decode the letters, shove them together, then see what gushes up from the brain’s language nether regions.

Try a few more. But we’re only going to give you the Hangul. Do your own deciphering, then click here or below to check your math.

  1. 핫도그
  2. 샌드위치
  3. 스트레스
  4. 키보드
  5. 택시
  6. 카메라
  7. 인터넷
  8. 컴퓨터
  9. 팝송
  10. 팬시
  11. 맥도날드
  12. 비타민
  13. 에어콘
  14. 아파트
  15. 핸드폰

I Saw the Sign

You’ll find English subtitled on countless signs throughout Korea. However, far out in rural bits, Hangul-only signs prevail.

Most of the country’s signage includes intuitive illustrations that need no decoding. Others require a touch of translation to grasp their meaning.

So let’s put our new Hangul reading skills to the test and translate some common traffic and bike info signs in Korea.

A traffic sign on a park pathway that lets people know that the path is shared by bicyclists and pedestrian walkers.
Some bike signs in South Korea need no translation. A sign with bike and pedestrian icons let folks know that cyclists and walkers should share the path.
Bicycle Traffic Signs

Common sense can decode most instructional signs in Korea. They’re blue with pics that transcend the shackles of language.

Bike Road Sign
A bicycle only road sign in Korea.
This round blue sign reads: “자전거 전용.” What does that mean? Bike road only.

The prime sign for bikers in Korea. 자전거 전용 (/ja-jeon-geo jeon-yōng/; 🔈).

First, let’s learn an honest Korean word: 자전거 (/ja-jeon-geo/; 🔈), or bicycle. If you’re riding around Korea, tattoo it on your palm.

전용 (/jeon-yōng/; 🔈) translates to, “exclusive.”

Put two-and-two together. This round blue fixture declares the path for bicycles only.

Bike Road Sign
A bicycle only road sign in Korea.
This round blue sign reads: “자전거 전용.” What does that mean? Bike road only.

The prime sign for bikers in Korea. 자전거 전용 (/ja-jeon-geo jeon-yōng/; 🔈).

First, let’s learn an honest Korean word: 자전거 (/ja-jeon-geo/; 🔈), or bicycle. If you’re riding around Korea, tattoo it on your palm.

전용 (/jeon-yōng/; 🔈) translates to, “exclusive.”

Put two-and-two together. This round blue fixture declares the path for bicycles only.

Crosswalks
A Korean traffic sign that says
Most Korean crosswalks don’t permit bikers to ride across. This traffic sign, however, reads “자전거횡단,” or Bicycle Crosswalk.

Let’s learn another phrase.

  • 횡단 (/hwāng-dan/; 🔈) — “crossing”
  • 보도 (/bō-dō/; 🔈) — “sidewalk”

Hmm. A sidewalk crossing. Oh. A “crosswalk” (횡단보도 /hwāng-dan bō-dō/; 🔈).

If you brush up on Korea’s bicycle laws, you’ll learn that common crosswalks (횡단보도; /hwā-dan bō-dō/; 🔈) don’t allow cyclists to ride across. They need to dismount and walk it. (Enforcement is rare.)

However, some intersections sport a blue pentagonal gem that reads: 자전거횡단 (/ja-jeon-geo hwā-dan/; 🔈).

Let’s break that down with what we already know.

  • 자전거 (/ja-jeon-geo/; 🔈) — “bicycle”
  • 횡단 (/hwāng-dan/; 🔈) — “crossing”

Saddle up and feel free to fly across these intersections.

Crosswalks
A Korean traffic sign that says
Most Korean crosswalks don’t permit bikers to ride across. This traffic sign, however, reads “자전거횡단,” or Bicycle Crosswalk.

Let’s learn another phrase.

  • 횡단 (/hwāng-dan/; 🔈) — “crossing”
  • 보도 (/bō-dō/; 🔈) — “sidewalk”

Hmm. A sidewalk crossing. Oh. A “crosswalk” (횡단보도 /hwāng-dan bō-dō/; 🔈).

If you brush up on Korea’s bicycle laws, you’ll learn that common crosswalks (횡단보도; /hwā-dan bō-dō/; 🔈) don’t allow cyclists to ride across. They need to dismount and walk it. (Enforcement is rare.)

However, some intersections sport a blue pentagonal gem that reads: 자전거횡단 (/ja-jeon-geo hwā-dan/; 🔈).

Let’s break that down with what we already know.

  • 자전거 (/ja-jeon-geo/; 🔈) — “bicycle”
  • 횡단 (/hwāng-dan/; 🔈) — “crossing”

Saddle up and feel free to fly across these intersections.

Parking
A bicycle parking road sign in Korea that reads "자전거 주차."
“자전거 주차” reads, “Bicycle Parking.” But you didn’t need the translation. The big “P” and bike icon provided enough info.

자전거 주차 (/ja-jeon-geo jū-cha/; 🔈). Hungry? Need to use the bathroom (화장실; /hwa-jang-shēl/ 🔈). This one’s important. 

  • 자전거 (/ja-jeon-geo/; 🔈) — “bicycle”
  • 주차 (/jū-cha/; 🔈) — “parking”

These areas allow cyclists to lock up their wheels. (Don’t worry about bolt cutter wielding thieves. They’re endangered in Korea.)

Parking
A bicycle parking road sign in Korea that reads
“자전거 주차” reads, “Bicycle Parking.” But you didn’t need the translation. The big “P” and bike icon provided enough info.

자전거 주차 (/ja-jeon-geo jū-cha/; 🔈). Hungry? Need to use the bathroom (화장실; /hwa-jang-shēl/ 🔈). This one’s important. 

  • 자전거 (/ja-jeon-geo/; 🔈) — “bicycle”
  • 주차 (/jū-cha/; 🔈) — “parking”

These areas allow cyclists to lock up their wheels. (Don’t worry about bolt cutter wielding thieves. They’re endangered in Korea.)

A Combined Sign
A combined sign bicycle and traffic sign in Korea that tells cyclists the road gradient and a rest stop with a pump lies 200 meters ahead.
Traffic and bicycle signs stack notices atop another. This one lets readers know the downhill gradient and that there’s a rest stop with a pump 200 meters ahead.

Some local transportation departments maximize post space by stacking a few traffic and notice signs atop another.

Here’s just such beauty!

The top sign displays a bike icon on an angle (7%) and a distance (2,000 meters). Below reads:

  • 내리막 (/nāe-lē-mak/; 🔈) — “downhill”
    • What’s the opposite? 오르막 (/o-leu-mak/; 🔈) — “uphill”

Put them together: the downhill road gradient averages about 7% (medium steep) for the next two kilometers.

Dart your eyes one sign down. It’s text explains:

  • 쉼터 200m (/swēm-teo/; 🔈) — “rest area in 200 meters”

The bottom sign’s text needs some translation. The bike icon and arrow bordered by two white columns don’t convey its full meaning.

  • 공기주입기 (/gōng-gē-jū-ēb-gē wēm-teo/; 🔈) — “tire inflator” or “air pump”
  • 전방 200m (/jeon-bang/; 🔈) — “200 meters up ahead”

Now the double white columns make a little more sense: they’re tires. Or topped-off gauges… maybe.

A Combined Sign
A combined sign bicycle and traffic sign in Korea that tells cyclists the road gradient and a rest stop with a pump lies 200 meters ahead.
Traffic and bicycle signs stack notices atop another. This one lets readers know the downhill gradient and that there’s a rest stop with a pump 200 meters ahead.

Some local transportation departments maximize post space by stacking a few traffic and notice signs atop another.

Here’s just such beauty!

The top sign displays a bike icon on an angle (7%) and a distance (2,000 meters). Below reads:

  • 내리막 (/nāe-lē-mak/; 🔈) — “downhill”
    • What’s the opposite? 오르막 (/o-leu-mak/; 🔈) — “uphill”

Put them together: the downhill road gradient averages about 7% (medium steep) for the next two kilometers.

Dart your eyes one sign down. It’s text explains:

  • 쉼터 200m (/swēm-teo/; 🔈) — “rest area in 200 meters”

The bottom sign’s text needs some translation. The bike icon and arrow bordered by two white columns don’t convey its full meaning.

  • 공기주입기 (/gōng-gē-jū-ēb-gē wēm-teo/; 🔈) — “tire inflator” or “air pump”
  • 전방 200m (/jeon-bang/; 🔈) — “200 meters up ahead”

Now the double white columns make a little more sense: they’re tires. Or topped-off gauges… maybe.

Rural Roads

Ride Korea’s countryside paths and you’ll stumble upon a few of these signs.

The Tractor Combo
A traffic sign in Korea stating the bicycles and tractors share the road.
This traffic sign explains that bicycles and tractors share the road.

Bike paths bordering farm fields often display this round blue sign. It reads: 자전거 농기계 겸용도로 (🔈).

Let’s decode:

  • 자전거 (/ja-jeon-geo/; 🔈) — “bicycle” (eeeasy!)
  • 농기계 (jōng-gē-gyā/; 🔈) — “farming equipment”
  • 겸용도로 (/gyeom-yōng-dō-rō/; 🔈) — “combined road”

Watch out for dirt clumps. Tractors roam the paths in these parts.

Safety Together
A Korean traffic sign that urges users of the road to share space and yield to one another.
What does this traffic sign say? The icons let road users know that farmers, bikers, and vehicles share the road. The text urges them to keep the peace. Share. Yield.

Here’s another rural signifier stuck next to Korea’s outskirt bike paths.

The top reads: 함께 나누는 길.

  • 함께 (/ham-ggā/; 🔈) — “together”
  • 나누는 (/na-nū-neun/; 🔈) — “we share”
  • 길 (/gēl/; 🔈) — “road”

“Together we share the road.” Glance at the icons below and we can deduce that cyclists, farmers, and combustion engine enthusiasts share this same stretch of pavement.

At the bottom of the sign, a white box addendum reads: 양보가 곧 안전입니다.

  • 양보가 (/yang-bō-ga/; 🔈) —”yield”
  • 곧 (/gōt/; 🔈) — “equals”
  • 안전입니다 (/an-jeon-ēb/; 🔈) —”safety”

“Yield equals safety.” A lesson to float on the surface of your mind. Compete with a 40 ton tractor and you could fertilize the earth a couple decades early.

Rural Roads

Ride Korea’s countryside paths and you’ll stumble upon a few of these signs.

The Tractor Combo
A traffic sign in Korea stating the bicycles and tractors share the road.
This traffic sign explains that bicycles and tractors share the road.

Bike paths bordering farm fields often display this round blue sign. It reads: 자전거 농기계 겸용도로 (🔈).

Let’s decode:

  • 자전거 (/ja-jeon-geo/; 🔈) — “bicycle” (eeeasy!)
  • 농기계 (jōng-gē-gyā/; 🔈) — “farming equipment”
  • 겸용도로 (/gyeom-yōng-dō-rō/; 🔈) — “combined road”

Watch out for dirt clumps. Tractors roam the paths in these parts.

Safety Together
A Korean traffic sign that urges users of the road to share space and yield to one another.
What does this traffic sign say? The icons let road users know that farmers, bikers, and vehicles share the road. The text urges them to keep the peace. Share. Yield.

Here’s another rural signifier stuck next to Korea’s outskirt bike paths.

The top reads: 함께 나누는 길.

  • 함께 (/ham-ggā/; 🔈) — “together”
  • 나누는 (/na-nū-neun/; 🔈) — “we share”
  • 길 (/gēl/; 🔈) — “road”

“Together we share the road.” Glance at the icons below and we can deduce that cyclists, farmers, and combustion engine enthusiasts share this same stretch of pavement.

At the bottom of the sign, a white box addendum reads: 양보가 곧 안전입니다.

  • 양보가 (/yang-bō-ga/; 🔈) —”yield”
  • 곧 (/gōt/; 🔈) — “equals”
  • 안전입니다 (/an-jeon-ēb/; 🔈) —”safety”

“Yield equals safety.” A lesson to float on the surface of your mind. Compete with a 40 ton tractor and you could fertilize the earth a couple decades early.

Bicycle Information Signs

Let’s dive into some bicycle-specific signs found on Korea’s bike paths. These can mark which path you traverse, your distance, and more.

Some signs differ depending on the bike path and region. Most follow the same format, though.

Numbered City & Distance Marker Sign
A bike path distance and city marker sign for the Yeongsangang Bicycle Path in Korea.
Bicycle Path distance and city marker signs appear along every certification bike path in Korea. They list the current city or county, and the distance the till the next city or county.

On all twelve of Korea’s certification bicycle paths, you’ll spot gable-topped blue signs marking every half-a-kilometer.

What’s on these signs? Let’s break down a typical example, from top to bottom:

  • 현위치 (/hyeon-wē-chē/; 🔈) — “current location”
  • 익산 (/ēk-san/; 🔈) — “Iksan” City
  • No. 21 — the sign’s number.
  • 군산시까지 23.5km (/gūn-san-shē-gga-jē/; 🔈) — “23.5 kilometers until Gunsan City”
  • 긴급신고 119 (/gēn-geup-shēn-gō/; 🔈) — “Emergency Phone Number: 119”

When you enter a new city or county, these distance markers refresh. The next set of signs will show the new city’s name, and the sign numbers and distances will begin a new countdown until the next city.

(The signs count down to the end of the bike path if you’re riding the last city or county.)

Numbered City & Distance Marker Sign
A bike path distance and city marker sign for the Yeongsangang Bicycle Path in Korea.
Bicycle Path distance and city marker signs appear along every certification bike path in Korea. They list the current city or county, and the distance the till the next city or county.

On all twelve of Korea’s certification bicycle paths, you’ll spot gable-topped blue signs marking every half-a-kilometer.

What’s on these signs? Let’s break down a typical example, from top to bottom:

  • 현위치 (/hyeon-wē-chē/; 🔈) — “current location”
  • 익산 (/ēk-san/; 🔈) — “Iksan” City
  • No. 21 — the sign’s number.
  • 군산시까지 23.5km (/gūn-san-shē-gga-jē/; 🔈) — “23.5 kilometers until Gunsan City”
  • 긴급신고 119 (/gēn-geup-shēn-gō/; 🔈) — “Emergency Phone Number: 119”

When you enter a new city or county, these distance markers refresh. The next set of signs will show the new city’s name, and the sign numbers and distances will begin a new countdown until the next city.

(The signs count down to the end of the bike path if you’re riding the last city or county.)

Bicycle Path Marker Sign
A bike path identification sign for the Ocheon Bicycle Path in South Korea.
Some bike paths put up simple bike path identification signs. This sign tells cyclists they’re riding the Ssang Stream section of the Ocheon Bike Path.

Some bike paths opt for a simple sign.

This sign from the Ocheon Bicycle Path lists its name and a geographical marker:

  • 국토 종주 (/gūk-tō jōng-jū/; 🔈) — “National Territory”
  • 오천자전거길 (/ō-cheon-ja-jeon-geo-gēl/; 🔈) — “Ocheon Bicycle Road”
  • 쌍천 구간 (/ssang-cheon/ gū-gan; 🔈) — “Ssang Stream Section

“Ocheon” in the bike path’s name translates to Five (오; /ō/) Streams (천; /cheon/). This sign marks lists which of the five streams (“Ssang Stream”; 쌍천) you’re following.

The symbol between “쌍천” and “구간” is the Hanja (Sino-Korean character) for “stream.”

Sign’s bottom displays its government ID number and the Goesan County (괴산군) logo.

Bicycle Path Marker Sign
A bike path identification sign for the Ocheon Bicycle Path in South Korea.
Some bike paths put up simple bike path identification signs. This sign tells cyclists they’re riding the Ssang Stream section of the Ocheon Bike Path.

Some bike paths opt for a simple sign.

This sign from the Ocheon Bicycle Path lists its name and a geographical marker:

  • 국토 종주 (/gūk-tō jōng-jū/; 🔈) — “National Territory”
  • 오천자전거길 (/ō-cheon-ja-jeon-geo-gēl/; 🔈) — “Ocheon Bicycle Road”
  • 쌍천 구간 (/ssang-cheon/ gū-gan; 🔈) — “Ssang Stream Section

“Ocheon” in the bike path’s name translates to Five (오; /ō/) Streams (천; /cheon/). This sign marks lists which of the five streams (“Ssang Stream”; 쌍천) you’re following.

The symbol between “쌍천” and “구간” is the Hanja (Sino-Korean character) for “stream.”

Sign’s bottom displays its government ID number and the Goesan County (괴산군) logo.

Certification Center Notice Sign
A certification center notice sign along the bike paths in South Korea.
A certification center notice sign lets riders know when a red stamp booth is near on the bike paths in Korea.

Are you a bike passport stamp fiend and don’t want to miss a certification center? Watch out for these roadside signs.

These signs appear every 500 meters, beginning two to three kilometers before a certification center (인증센터; /ē-jeung-sān-teo/; 🔈), or red stamp where you can stamp your bike passport.

Let’s take one apart and see how it ticks:

  • 4대강 (/4 dāe-gang/; 🔈) — “4 Major Rivers” bike path network.
  • 자전거길 인증센터 (/ja-jeon-geo-gēl ē-jeung-sān-teo/; 🔈) — “Bicycle Road Certification Center”
  • 양산 물문화관 (/yang-san mūl-mūn-hwa-gwan/; 🔈) — “Yangsan Water Culture Hall
  • 1.0 km 전방 (/jeon-bang/; 🔈) — “One kilometer down the road”

The “Yangsan Water Culture Hall” (양산 물문화관 인증센터) is the second to last certification center along the Nakdonggang Bicycle Path.

Certification Center Notice Sign
A certification center notice sign along the bike paths in South Korea.
A certification center notice sign lets riders know when a red stamp booth is near on the bike paths in Korea.

Are you a bike passport stamp fiend and don’t want to miss a certification center? Watch out for these roadside signs.

These signs appear every 500 meters, beginning two to three kilometers before a certification center (인증센터; /ē-jeung-sān-teo/; 🔈), or red stamp where you can stamp your bike passport.

Let’s take one apart and see how it ticks:

  • 4대강 (/4 dāe-gang/; 🔈) — “4 Major Rivers” bike path network.
  • 자전거길 인증센터 (/ja-jeon-geo-gēl ē-jeung-sān-teo/; 🔈) — “Bicycle Road Certification Center”
  • 양산 물문화관 (/yang-san mūl-mūn-hwa-gwan/; 🔈) — “Yangsan Water Culture Hall
  • 1.0 km 전방 (/jeon-bang/; 🔈) — “One kilometer down the road”

The “Yangsan Water Culture Hall” (양산 물문화관 인증센터) is the second to last certification center along the Nakdonggang Bicycle Path.

Korean Words & Phrases

Don’t have time to become a fluent Korean conversationalist. Who does? But get discouraged.

Here’s a quick list of common Korean words and terms. We promise, if you memorize and pair them with your Hangul reading skills, words will leap from signs, menus, and more when you bike around Korea.

Korean Words

Below sits a list of vocabulary you’ll encounter when riding Korea by Bike.

Geography

Government

Biking

  • Bicycle  자전거  /ja-jeon-geo/  (🔈)
  • Bicycle Path  자전거길  /ja-jeon-geo gēl/  (🔈)
  • Certification Center  인증센터  /ēn-jeung-sān-teo/  (🔈)
  • Bicycle Shop  자전거 가게  /ja-jeon-geo ga-gā/  (🔈)
  • Tire  타이어  /ta-ē-eo/  (🔈)
  • Flat Tire  펑크 타이어  /peong-keu ta-ē-eo/  (🔈)
  • Pump  펌프  /peom-peu/  (🔈)
  • Helmet  헬멧  /hāl-māt/  (🔈)
  • Chain  체인  /chā-ēn/  (🔈)
  • Battery  배터리  /bāe-teo-rē/  (🔈)

Transportation & Infrastructure

Eating 

  • Restaurant  식당  /sēk-dang/  (🔈)
  • Bakery  빵집  /bbang-jēb/  (🔈)  (“bread house”)
  • Convenience Store  편의점  /pyeon-weuē-jeom/  (🔈)
  • Rice  밥  /bap/  (🔈)  (also used to refer to a “meal”)
  • Side dishes  반찬  /ban-chan/  (🔈)
  • Noodles  국수  /gūk-sū/  (🔈)  (Korean)  &  면  /myeon/  (🔈)  (Sino-Korean)
  • Meat  고기  /gō-gē/  (🔈)
    • Chicken  닭고기  /dak-gō-gē/  (🔈)
    • Pork  돼지고기  /dōā-jē-gō-gē/  (🔈)
    • Beef  쇠고기  /sōw-gō-gē/  (🔈)
  • Soup
    • 국  /gūk/  (🔈)  (thin soup)
    • 탕  /tang/  (🔈)  (thick soup)
    • 찌개  /jjē-gāe/  (🔈)  (stew)
  • Table  /tak-ja/  탁자  (🔈)
  • Chair  의자  /ōē-ja/  (🔈)
  • Person  사람  /sa-lam/  (🔈)
  • Chopsticks  젓가락  /jeot-ga-rak/  (🔈)
  • Spoon  숟가락  /sūt-ga-rak/  (🔈)
  • Fork  포크  /pō-keu/  (🔈)
  • Knife  나이프  /na-ē-peu/  (🔈)
  • Water  물  /mūl/  (🔈)
  • Beer  맥주  /māk-jū/  (🔈)
  • Bathroom  화장실  /hwa-jang-shēl/  (🔈)

Sleeping

  • Motel  모텔  /mō-tāl/  (🔈)
  • Hotel  호텔  /hō-tāl/  (🔈)
  • Campsite  캠핑장  /kāem-pēng-jang/  (🔈)
  • Pension  펜션  /pān-shyeon/  (🔈)  (vacation home)
  • Hostel  호스텔  /hō-seu-tāl/  (🔈)
  • Bed  침대  /chēm-dāe/  (🔈)
  • Refrigerator  냉장고  /nāeng-jang-gō/  (🔈)
  • TV  텔레비전  /tāl-lā-bē-jeon/  (🔈)
Counting In Korea

Korea employs two counting systems: Native Korean and Sino-Korean, which was borrowed and adapted from China hundreds of years ago.

Sino-Korean Numbers

Koreans employ Sino-Korean numbers (Chinese system) for money, minutes (not hours), dates, addresses, phone numbers, and all numbers above 100.

Sino-Korean numbers are easier to remember. Each number contains one syllable. To create numbers with a factor of 10, just add ten 십 (/ship/; 🔈).

  • 7  칠  /chēl/  (🔈)  “seven”
  • 17  십칠  /ship-chēl/  (🔈)  “ten-seven”
  • 27  이십칠  /ē-ship-chēl/  (🔈)  “two-ten-seven”
  • 127  백이십칠  /bāek-ē-ship-chēl/  (🔈)  “hundred-two-ten-seven”
Native Korean Numbers
Koreans use the homegrown number system for hours, ages, people, things, and counting. 
  • 1  하나  /hana/  (🔈)
  • 2  둘  /dūl/  (🔈)
  • 3  셋  /sāet/  (🔈)
  • 4  넷  /nāet/  (🔈)
  • 5  다섯  /da-seot/  (🔈)
  • 6  여섯  /yeo-seot/  (🔈)
  • 7  일곱  /ēl-gōp/  (🔈)
  • 8  여덟  /yeo-deol/  (🔈)
  • 9  아홉  /a-hop/  (🔈)
  • 10  열  /yeol/  (🔈)
  • 11  열하나  /yeol-hana/  (🔈)
  • 12  열둘  /yeol-dūl/  (🔈)
  • 20  스물  /seu-mūl/  (🔈)
  • 30  서른  /seo-reun/  (🔈)
  • 40  마흔  /ma-heun/  (🔈)
Power of 10 numbers have distinct names. For example, 쉰하나 (/sweon-hana/; 50) sounds nothing like 다섯 (/da-seot/; 5) or 열 (/yeol/; 10). Native Korean numbers stop at 100. Then the easier Sino-Korean numbers begin. When counting things, Koreans chop off the number’s last vowel or consonant and add 개 (/gāe/) or “thing.”
  • One apple  사과 한개  (🔈)  /sa-gwa han-gāe/  (/a/ removed from /hana/)
  • Two apples  사과 두개  (🔈)  /sa-gwa dū-gāe/  (/l/ removed from /dūl/)
  • Three apples  사과 세개  (🔈)  /sa-gwa sāe-gāe/  (/t/ removed from /sāet/)
  • Four apples  사과 네개  (🔈)  /sa-gwa nāe-gāe/  (/t/ removed from /nāet/)

Korean Phrases

Now we know some words, let’s hop into the weeds and learn some helpful phrases. This list of basic terms will help you communicate with the locals while cycling Korea’s bike paths.

Greetings

  • Hello.  안녕하세요.  /An-nyeong-ha-sā-yō./  (🔈)
  • Yes.  네.  /Nā./  (🔈)
  • No.  아니요.  /A-nē-yō./  (🔈)
  • Thank you.  감사합니다.  /Gam-sa-hab-nē-da./  (🔈)
  • I’m sorry.  미안해요.  /Mē-an-hāe-yō./  (🔈)
  • You’re welcome.  천만에요.  /Cheon-man-ā-yō/  (🔈)
  • My name is Thomas.
    • 제 이름은 토마스입니다. 
    • /Jā ē-leum-eun Tō-ma-seu ēb-nē-da./  (🔈)
  • I’m from New Zealand.
  • 나는 뉴질랜드에서 왔어요.  /Na-neun nyū-jē-lāen-deu ās-eo wass-eo-yō./  (🔈)
    • South Africa  남아프리카  /nam a-peu-rē-ka/  (🔈)
    • Australia  호주  /hō-jū/  (🔈)
    • United Kingdom  영국  /yeong-gūk/  (🔈)
    • United States  미국  /mē-gūk/  (🔈)
  • Nice to meet you.  만나서 반가워.  /Man-na-seo ban-ga-weo./  (🔈)
  • That’s right!  그렇지!  /Geu-leo-jē./  (🔈)
  • I see.  알겠습니다.  /Al-gāss-seub-nēda./  (🔈)

Directions

  • Here.  여기.  /Yeo-gē./  (🔈)
  • There.  거기.  /Geo-gē./  (🔈)
  • This.  이거.  /Ē-geo./  (🔈)
  • Straight.  직진.  /Jēk-ēn./  (🔈)
  • Left.  왼쪽.  /Wen-jjōk./  (🔈)
  • Right.  오른쪽.  /Ō-leun-jjōk./  (🔈)
  • Behind.  뒤에.  /Dwē-ā./  (🔈)
  • Where?  어디?  /Eo-dē./  (🔈)
    • Where is the hospital?
      • 병원이 어디야?  /Byeong-weon-ē eo-dē-ya?/  (🔈)
    • Where can I eat?
      • 어디서 먹을 수 있나요?
      • /Eo-dē-seo meok-eul sū ēt-na-yō?/  (🔈)
    • Where is a motel?
      • 모텔이 어디예요?  /Mō-tāl-ē eo-dē-yā-yō?/  (🔈)
    • Where is a bike shop?
      • 자전거 가게가 어디에 있나요?
      • /Ja-jeon-geo ga-gā-ga eo-dē-ā ēt-na-yō./  (🔈)

Eating 

  • Excuse me! (to get the server’s attention)
    • 저기요!  /Jeo-gē-yō!/  (🔈)
  • How much is it?
    • 얼마예요?  /Eol-ma-yā-yō?/  (🔈)
  • It’s delicious!
    • 맛있어요!  /Mash-ēs-eo-yō!/  (🔈)
  • Please.  주세요.  /Jū-sā-yō./  (🔈)
    • Water, please.
      • 물 주세요.  /Mūl jū-sā-yō./  (🔈)
    • Beer, please.
      • 맥주 주세요.  /Māek-jū jū-sā-yō./  (🔈)
    • A little spicy, please.
      • 조금 매운 주세요.
      • /Jō-keum māe-ūn jū-sā-yō./  (🔈)
    • Very spicy, please.
      • 많은 매운 주세요.
      • /Man-eun māe-ūn jū-sā-yō./  (🔈)
    • No spice, please.
      • 없어 매운 주세요.
      • /Eobs-eo māe-ūn jū-sā-yō./  (🔈)
    • Check, please.
      • 계산서 좀 주세요.
      • /Gyā-san-seo jōm jū-sā-yō./  (🔈)

Trouble

  • Help!
    • 도와 주세요!
    • /Dō-wa jū-sā-yō!/  (🔈)
  • I’m lost.
    • 나는 길을 잃었다.
    • /Na-neun gēl-eul ēl-eot-da./  (🔈)
  • I’m injured!
    • 다쳤어!
    • /Da-chyeoss-eo!/  (🔈)
  • I have a flat tire.
    • 펑크난 타이어가 있어요.
    • /Peong-keunan taē-eo-ga ēss-eo-yō./  (🔈)
  • I have it.
    • 있어요.
    • /Ēss-eo-yō./  (🔈)
  • I do not have it.
    • 없어요.
    • /Eobs-eo-yō./  (🔈)

Konglish

  1. Hotdog  핫도그  /hat-dō-geu/  (🔈)
  2. Sandwich  샌드위치  /sāen-deu-wē-chē/  (🔈)
  3. Stress  스트레스  /seu-teu-rā-seu/  (🔈)
  4. Keyboard  키보드  /kē-bō-deu/  (🔈)
  5. Taxi  택시  /tāek-shē/  (🔈)
  6. Camera  카메라  /ka-mā-la/  (🔈)
  7. Internet  인터넷  /ēn-teo-nāt/  (🔈)
  8. Computer  컴퓨터  /keom-pyū-teo/  (🔈)
  9. Pop song  팝송  /pap-sōng/  (🔈)
  10. Fancy  팬시  /pāen-shē/  (🔈)
  11. McDonald’s  맥도날드  /māek-dō-nal-deu/  (🔈)
  12. Vitamin  비타민  /bē-ta-mēn/  (🔈)
  13. Air conditioning  에어콘  /ā-eo-kōn/  (🔈) 
  14. Apartment  아파트  /a-pa-teu/  (🔈)
  15. Smartphone  핸드폰  /hāen-deu-pōn/  (🔈)  (“handphone”)