Whether you are having friends over, or you are wondering what shop assistants are saying to you, it is useful to know how to say ‘welcome’ in Korean.
Once you learn this word you will start noticing it a lot. Let’s get to it, and give this phrase a nice warm ‘welcome’!
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‘Welcome’ in Korean
If you look up ‘welcome’ in the dictionary, you will more than likely see the word 환영하다 (hwanyeonghada).
This word is easy to remember (it sounds like 안녕, the word for ‘hello’), and is easy to use as it is a ‘hada’ verb, so can be used it a similar way to the Korean word 좋아하다 (to like).
However, this is not the most common way of saying ‘welcome’ in Korean. In fact, the most common way of saying welcome uses the word 어서 (eoseo), which means ‘quickly’, and the verb 오다 (oda), which means come.
These words are used in what is known as the ‘imperative’ form, the form used in order to give commands or orders. By learning how to say ‘welcome’ in Korean, you will also learn how to use this type of grammar.
Formal ‘Welcome’ in Korean
1. 어서 오십시오 (eoseo oshipsio)
This phrase is used on its own and can be heard when someone welcomes you into a room or place.
Formal Korean usually ends in ‘입니다’ or ‘습니다’, but the imperative (commands and orders) is an exception to this.
Formal Korean should be used when making announcements, doing presentations, or during an interview.
Standard ‘Welcome’ in Korean
1. 어서 오세요 (eoseo oseyo)
You can use this expression when talking to people who are older or not particularly close to you. It is also the most likely form of the word that you will hear when entering a shop.
The ending ‘세요’ comes from inserting ‘시’ into the word in order to make it polite. You will come across ‘세요’ in several situations: Giving orders and commands; asking questions; and speaking to your elders.
Other examples of commands in Korean
앉으세요 (anjeuseyo) – Please sit.
가세요 (gaseyo) – Please go.
주세요 (juseyo) – Please give.
사세요 (saseyo) – Please buy
(사세요 could also mean ‘live’ so be careful when hearing this word)
Informal ‘Welcome’ in Korean
1. 어서 와 (eoseo wa)
You can use these expressions with people who are close to you and who are of a similar or younger age.
In informal Korean, there is no difference between the imperative (commands and orders) and the words used when saying a regular sentence. As a result, 와 can mean ‘come’ as in ‘I come’ but it can also mean ‘please come’ depending on the context.
You’re Welcome in Korean
The phrase ‘you’re welcome’ uses neither 어서 오다, nor 환영하다. If you want to say ‘you’re welcome’ in Korean, you can use the phrase ‘천만에요’ (cheonmaneyo). This is the closest equivalent to the English phrase ‘you’re welcome’. However, rather than saying this, people usually just say ‘no’ or ‘I should be the one who is thanking you’, or sometimes nothing at all.
A Word of Caution About Romanization
The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, is easy to learn. It may look complicated at first but can actually be learned in less than a day. Take the time to learn it now, and your Korean studies will be easier in the future. As well as improving your reading and pronunciation, understanding Hangul can help you improve your Korean grammar.
Now that you know some basic words, it is time to push on. Sign up for our full Korean course and start speaking like a pro.
Now that you know how to say ‘welcome’ in Korean, you can listen out for this phrase when you enter shops and restaurants. Don’t worry, when you hear it, you don’t have to give a response. Instead, relax and enjoy the nice feeling of being welcomed!