Korean FAQ

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Got a burning Korean question that you can’t seem to find the answer for? Look no further with our Korean FAQ! You can ask us any questions related to the Korean language or South Korean culture and life and we’ll do our best to answer. Ask us questions in the comments or email us at [email protected]

We’ll update this post regularly, so be sure to check back for the latest question and answers. Let’s get answering!

<Last Updated 2/28/2020>

An illustration of a character answering the questions of another

2/28/2020

Question: How do you pronounce “R” and “L” in Korean?

Answer: The “r/l” sound is made by the one Korean character ㄹ and it is like a blend between the two sounds. Don’t be confused by romanization, which sometimes write the character as an “l” and other times as an “r.”

For the ㄹ, you can use the “r” and “l” sounds interchangeably, but it can vary when romanized, so we recommend learning to read the Hangeul ASAP. Generally, the ㄹ is pronounced and written as an “r” in the first syllable position, and an “l” in the last syllable position.

It’s probably easiest to just think of the ㄹ as a mix between the two sounds in English (it is its own distinct sound in Korean).


2/27/2020

Question: What is the difference in pronunciation between ㅈ and ㅊ?

Answer: "ㅈ" should be pronounced more like "j" in English, "ㅊ" is pronounced "ch" in English.

For example, "저기요" is pronounced "jeo-gi-yo".

Some speakers may sound like they are pronouncing ㅈ more like a mix between j/ch, but this should not be the norm. If you are ever in doubt, try checking with Naver Dictionary and other sources to hear the pronunciation to confirm.

Sometimes when you are getting started, it can sound to you like certain words are pronounced differently than expected. This will change as you continue practicing your listening and you develop your "ear" for Korean.

For example, you'll be able to more clearly differentiate when Koreans are using ㅊ and when they're using ㅈ. As practice, listen to this word and then this word one after the other to try and develop an ear for the difference. Just click the speaker button next to the word to listen.


2/21/2020

Question: How can I practice typing in Korean?

Answer: The best practice would be to go through and start making your own flashcards for letters or words in Korean that you want to remember. We've written a guide to help you do just that. However, if you are looking for a focus typing approach you can try using some of the sites recommended in this article.

Out of that list, each game is really focused on a different language level. If you are an absolute beginner at typing in Korean and need help remembering where each character is on the keyboard I would recommend THIS game. It is less about making words and more about just being as fast as possible to press the characters you see.

If you are a bit more advanced than this and are looking to increase your WPM in Korean I would recommend trying THIS or THIS game. They are much more focused on getting a better WPM at typing and less about learning or training yourself to know where the characters are on the keyboard.


2/14/2020

Question: Is there a way to say "and you?"? Like if someone asks "뭐해요 (mwohaeyo)?" and I wanted to say "i'm watching tv and you?".

Answer: You can say '너는 (naneun)? ' for 'and you?' in casual speech.

For example,

  • 나는 tv 보고 있어, 너는? (naneun tv bogo isseo, neoneun?) = I'm watching TV, and you? (to a friend)

In polite speech, you can say the person's name or title +은/는 (eun/neun) and then add 요 (yeo) at the end.

  • 나는 tv 보고 있어요, 제이미는요 or 제이미 씨는요? (naneun tv bogo isseoyo, jeimineunyo or jeimi ssineunyo) = I'm watching TV, and you? (to Jamie or Jamie 씨)
  • 저는 tv 보고 있어요, 할머니는요? (jeoneun tv bogo isseoyo, halmeonineunyo) = I'm watching TV, and you? (to grandma)

2/04/2020

Question: What is the difference between 이용하다 (iyonghada) and 사용하다 (sayonghada)? Do they mean the same?

Answer: Both have the meaning, "to use". However they are slightly different.

사용하다 is used to express simply "to use" or "to consume".

  • 휴대폰을 사용하지 마세요. (hyudaeponeul sayonghaji maseyo.) Please don't use mobile.
  • 나는 피부를 위해 순한 화장품을 사용해요. (naneun pibureul wihae sunhan hwajangpumeul sayonghaeyo.) I use gentle beauty products for my skin.

이용하다 (iyonghada) is often used for "to make (good) use of" or "take advantage of".

  • 그는 친구의 약점을 이용했어요. (geuneun chinguui yakjeomeul iyonghaesseoyo.) = He took advantage of friend's weakness.
  • 우리는 이 기회를 이용해야 해요. (urineun i gihoereul iyonghaeya haeyo.) = We should use this opportunity.

Got a question and can't find the answer? Drop it in the comments or email us at [email protected] and our professional Korean coaches will help out!

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