The Korean Word 월급 (Salary) In English, salary is defined as a fixed compensation periodically paid to a person for regular work or services. When 월급 is broken into to parts, this idea of periodical compensation goes hand in hand. The first part is 월, which means month or moon. The second part, 급, means wage, pay, class, grade, or level. Combine the two parts together, and you get monthly wage (월급). Pronunciation In the previous lesson we learnt about the pronunciation of the Korean vowel diphthongs with a ‘w’ sound, ㅝ which has the sound wo, as in “Woe is me!” when we add theRead More →


The Korean word 위험하다 (to be dangerous) In this lesson, we are going to cover another diphthongs with a ‘w’ Sound, and as you know from the previous lessons, diphthongs combine two vowels to produce one sound. In this case, we’ll be looking at 위, which is a combination of the vowels 우 and 이. When put together we get 위 with the sound ‘wi’ which is similar to the English word ‘we’ or more closely to the French word ‘oui.’ 위험하다 is an adjective but it is comprised of two part, 위험, which means danger, hazard, peril, risk is a noun, and 하다 which meansRead More →

Double Korean Consonants-

Double Consonants in the Korean Language By now, you probably have a decent grasp of the 14 Korean consonants (ㄱ, ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄹ, ㅁ, ㅂ, ㅅ, ㅇ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅎ). These are the basic consonants in the Korean Language. Now, we’re going to cover a few bonus consonants, double consonants (ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅆ, ㅉ). As you can see, there are only 5 double consonants in the Korean Language. Double Consonants in the Korean Language are very similar to regular consonants. In fact, non-native Korean speakers may have difficulty hearing the difference between the regular and double consonants. To put it simply, the double consonants areRead More →


The Korean Word 뭐 (what) In the last article, we learned the word 왜 (why). Today, we’ll take on another Korean vowel diphthong with a ‘w’ sound (뭐). 뭐 (what) 뭐 in English means ‘what.’ Like 왜 (why), it is an interrogative. Unlike 왜 (why), which has a variety of atypical uses for English speakers, 뭐 tends to be used very much like the English “what” for specific inquiries to obtain information. Please note that 뭐 is actually a contraction of 무엇 ‘mu ot’ 무+어=뭐. Bonus: Notice the 엇 is pronounced with a ‘t’ sound. Typically when a syllable ends with a 시옷 (s) and isn’t followed by a vowel, it’llRead More →


The Korean word 왜 (why) In an earlier lesson, we learnt about the Korean vowel diphthongs with a ‘w’ sound, where ㅙ (wae) was covered. 왜 (why) In English, 왜 basically means WHY. Why is an interrogative used to obtain explanation or reasons. In Korean, 왜 is also used as an interrogative. However, it can also be used to express annoyance or to challenge, similar to the way English speakers might use the word “what,” as in, “What? You don’t like that?” The Korean translation would be “왜? 싫어? Koreans also use 왜 while answering a call. While in some cultures this might be considered rude. In Korea itRead More →


This lesson continues to cover Diphthongs with a ‘w’ Sound, by looking at the ㅘ (wa) vowel. 사과하다 (to apologize) In a prior lesson we covered how to say “to be sorry” in simple terms and in a more formal/polite way. Continuing along the same lines, we have to apologize. Interesting enough, 사과 is a homophone for ‘apple.’ As a result, it’s not uncommon for Korean to offer an apple with the apology. Pronunciation The first part of the word, 사, uses sounds covered in previous lesson. A quick review gives us ㅅ, which sounds like an ‘s’ and ㅏ, which has an ‘a’ sound,Read More →


미안하다 (to be sorry) was covered a couple of lessons ago. This lesson also covers to be sorry, but in a more formal way. 죄송하다 (to be sorry) 죄송하다 is more formal and polite than 미안하다. One might use it when one is extremely sorry. It would also be used with strangers or people of a higher hierarchy, such as the elderly or supervisors. Unlike 미안하다, which might be shortened to 미안, one would not do the same with 죄송하다. In fact, think of doing so as an oxymoron. Since 죄송하다 is a polite and formal, shortening it to be informal defeats the purpose. Pronunciation As Diphthongs with a ‘w’ Sound wasRead More →


Before we learn about a more formal way of saying sorry, we’ll briefly cover the last few vowel sounds. In a previous lesson, the concept of Diphthong Vowels were covered. This lesson covers a few more. Diphthongs with a ‘w’ Sound Though diphthongs are really two vowels combined together in a way that the first glides into the other, the following diphthongs often sound like they begin with a ‘w’ sound to English-speaking ears. ㅘ (wa) This first diphthong vowel ㅘ combines the ㅗ, which has a long ‘o’ sound, as in open with the vowel ㅏ, which sounds like ‘ah’ as in father. When put together, it sounds similar to ‘wa’Read More →


All the sounds in today’s word should be familiar. If not, it would be good to review some of the earlier lessons. Today, we’ll focus on an aspect of the Korean language similar to the last lesson… etiquette. There are a couple of ways to say sorry in Korean, depending on the person being addressed. We’ll start with a generic way of saying sorry. 미안하다 (to be sorry) First, let’s break the words apart. The first part 미안 simply means “sorry”. If you read the last lesson, you’ll notice there were different forms of conjugating a word. Though our focus is not conjugating in this lesson,Read More →


Before we start conjugating Korean Verbs, it’s important to understand a bit of the cultural etiquette. If you’re American and over 35, you’ve probably seen a lot of respectful features in the United States fade. “Yes, ma’am” “No, sir” are often replaced with a simple and less than polite “Yeah” or “Nah” when addressing the elderly or individuals of higher social status. Not so much the case in Korean, as politeness is written into the language itself. Failing to conjugate a verb ending properly can be akin to telling your boss, “oh… and by the way, screw you” at the end of a sentence. WithRead More →