Communicating with Koreans

You probably won't have a hard time communicating because most Koreans who come to Canada can speak some English. Although there are several different dialects in Korea, they are similar enough for people to understand one another.

It is important for Koreans to determine someone's age so that they know how to address that other person. Koreans have different ways of talking to older or younger people that reflects this aspect of their culture. Koreans use a formal and polite expression for elders and strangers and an informal expression for friends.

Koreans had a system of movable printing blocks in the 14th century and printed books before the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in Europe in the 15th century.

Chinese characters were difficult to learn, so in the 15th century a group of Korean scholars, under the direction of King Sejong, created a new phonetic system. Han-gul has been refined into a ten vowel and fourteen consonant alphabet that can be combined to form any word. It is easy to learn and thus has been a factor in the country's 98% literacy rate.

Did you know?

During the 15th century, Korean scholars published a 112-volume encyclopedia. This work is now housed in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

The subtleties of the English language may not be so easy to learn. Koreans may give a positive answer to a question when they actually mean the opposite. The answers yes, yeh, and no, aniyo, depend upon the nature of the question. This may lead to some misunderstanding. For example, if you ask, "Isn't it raining outside?", A Korean person may reply "Yes". You would think, "Okay, it's raining", but what it means is, "Yes, it isn't raining outside." It is important to know, that to be polite, they agree with your question first, then answer it.
Some Korean Words for You to Try:
English Korean
Hello Ahn yong ha se yo
Good-bye, go in peace Ahn young hi ga senyo
Good-bye, stay in peace Ahn young hi ge senyo (response)
Thank you Ham sa ham ni da
You're welcome Ch'onmaneyo