How to say hello in Korean

It is a universal gesture for a person to greet a friend with a warm hello to make him feel accepted and to let him perceive that it is great to see him. This form of greeting is used by men worldwide regardless of sexuality, age, beliefs, or nationality.

In Korea, the commonly used greeting when seeing somebody is “annyeonghaseyo” which means “hello” in Korean. The country is predominantly influenced by Confucianism thus as a result, there is an emphasis on order in society and respect for elders. A lot of the customs and traditions existent nowadays in the Korean society still demonstrate the great respect Koreans have for others and the elderly. It is a common practice for Koreans to bow when meeting people. If the two people meeting each other have like social status, they both bow. On the other hand, if one person has a lower social position than the other, then only the person with the lower social position will bow when exchanging salutation. This traditional practice applies for instance, to a teacher and a pupil. The student demonstrates respect by bowing towards his teacher. The instructor then nods to acknowledge his student’s gesture. To Koreans, bowing is not the sole form of greeting practiced. A different form of greeting is by waving at one another when two close friends meet. In business, a handshake is another sort of salutation.

As a rule of thumb, when talking in Korean you should endeavor to make sure that you are using the polite form of a salutation or expression by adding the suffix ‘yo’ to the end of the salutation or expression. Most polite forms of words end in ‘yo’ in Korean and this ending can be seen in some phrases such as “annyeonghaseyo” which translates as hello. Those older than you, strangers or anyone in a higher social status should be spoken to using the courteous form.

There are many basic greetings in the Korean language that you can quickly study besides “annyeonghaseyo.” If you want to ask a person “How are you?”, you can say “Jaljineseyo.” To become more familiar with somebody and when presenting yourself, you could say: “Hello, I am ….” and the way to say this in Korean is “Anneyonghaseyo, ……. imni da.” To ask the person his or her name, you could use “Sungham-i mu-uht ipnika?” When meeting or upon knowing the name of someone, you could say in appreciation “Chuh-eum bepgetseupnidal ” which is the same as ” glad to see you!” An additional basic expression in the Korean language you may wish to learn is “Na-iga Myut Sal-ipnika? or “How old are you?”

There are several manners of greeting someone and saying hello in Korean. When learning how to greet people in the Korean language, it is vital that you become acquainted with the basic words, phrases and sentences. Learning both the informal and formal greetings and their correct usage is also important.