Hello! 안녕하세요!

Friday, November 5, 2021

Hello and welcome!

If you happened to stumble upon this first blog post, I want to formally say "안녕하세요?". If you are unfamiliar with the Korean language, you may wonder what this scribbling may be.

안녕하세요, pronounced ahn-young-ha-sae-yo, is a formal greeting meaning 'hello'. But if we were to break down this commonly used greeting into parts, it actually translates to something very different from hello.

'안녕' means 'peaceful' or 'well'.

'하다' means 'to do' or 'to be'.

So if we look at these two parts separately and put them together, you can gather that '안녕하세요' actually means 'are you doing well?'

'안녕하세요' is the standard way of saying hello. It is a greeting that can be used for morning, day, and night. But, let's take a look at the different formalities of this phrase. 

안녕하십니까? (ahn-young-ha-ship-nē-gga?)Very formal

안녕하세요? (ahn-young-ha-se-yo?)Formal/Standard

안녕? (ahn-young?) Informal

The above phrases all mean the same thing: Hello? Depending on who you are talking to, formalities are used. Korean culture is very hierarchical and therefore, honorifics are used. But, I will leave honorifics for another scribble.

What About Saying Goodbye?

So, here is when things can get slightly confusing. On top of using honorifics and depending on whether you are the person leaving or the person staying, the goodbyes are slightly different. Let's take a look.

If you are the person staying, the phrase that is correct is '안녕히 가세요' (ahn-young-hē ge-se-yo). The word '가' in this phrase means ‘to go’ and is from the verb '가다'.

If you are the person leaving, the phrase that is correct is '안녕히 계세요' (ahn-young-hē gah-se-yo). The word '계' in this phrase means ‘to be there’ and is from the verb '계시다'.

What if you had met the person at a commonplace? Then, you would use the phrase '안녕히 가세요' because both parties are leaving.

If you are meeting with a familiar friend where formalities are dropped, a simple ‘안녕' is your greeting for both hello and goodbye.

There are many more phrases for saying goodbye but the phrases above are standard.

Teaching the Little Ones

A little girl with a unicorn pop-it that has Korean alphabet letters on it.

Teaching my children Korean and seeing them progress in their learning is probably the most rewarding thing for me to witness. Both my sons use Korean as their main language while my daughter tends to lean more towards speaking in English (and let me tell you, she has a lot to say and I wonder sometimes where she learns most things).

One thing I really want to focus on with them is their '인사' (ēn-sah). '인사' is the word for greeting. Unfortunately with the pandemic, the kids have not had too many opportunities to greet other Koreans (and people in general).

I feel like other parents who have older children may tell me to just keep reminding them and they'll get the hang of it. I surely hope so considering how the coronavirus seems to linger and put a damper on a lot of opportunities we would've had to meet and greet with other people. 

Thank you for stopping by and reading my first scribbles. This blog will mostly be a place where you find simple posts pertaining to Korea, whether it be traditions, foods, pop culture, etc. If you have any suggestions or content you would like to see from me, please feel free to leave your comments below.




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