As I promised you, today I’m going to teach you some Korean conversation skills!
The First class is: how do I say ‘how are you’ in Korean?
I chose this topic as it is a very important expression in English.
‘How are you?’ is a phrase that is used in everyday conversation in English.
It is asking if you are happy or sad, and generally asking about your feelings. Sometimes, you can also you can answer it with what is going on with you.
The most proper translation in Korean is “기분이 어때요?”. This is the best translation and the most proper.
However, somehow, lots of foreigners instead say “잘 지내세요?”
This is the WRONG translation.
기분이 어때요? – Gi-boon-ee eo-ttae-yo? How are you feeling/what mood are you in?
잘 지내세요? – Jjal ji-nae-sae-yo? Are you doing well?
It is wrong because “잘 지내세요?” is asking ‘are you doing well?’ but is often interpreted as ‘how have you been?’.
So, it is more like “how have you been?”
Now, think about saying “잘 지내세요?” to a person you just met. It’s a bit weird to ask someone how they have been when you are meeting them for the first time.
This is the one of the most common mistakes Korean beginners usually make.
For that reason, don’t ask “잘 지내세요?” to strangers because as I said, it means “How have you been?”
It is a expression you can use when you see someone you know but you haven’t seen them for a while.
So, what should you say on a first meeting? You can just say:
안녕하세요 – hello
처음 뵙겠습니다 – how do you do? (this one is necessary on important and serious situation. You don’t need to use this if it’s a casual meeting.)
저는 _____입니다 – I am ______ (your name in the blank)
And then wait for their reply. Then, you can talk about yourself.
Which country you are from, how old you are, what do you do, etc.
Or anything else you would want to know on the first meeting (age is very important in Korea, so it’s better to introduce yourself with your age).
After the 3 sentences above, you can talk about anything you want.
Actually, in Korean there is no ‘how are you?’
Because Korean is a language that has completely different characters and cultural basis.
I don’t know how or why they started saying “How are you?” in English.
I also don’t know why we don’t the same phrase in Korean. They are just two different languages from different countries.
But in Korea, “기분이 어때요?” is not essential for opening a conversation.
You can ask “기분이 어때요?” but people usually won’t ask you.
If someone asks me how I am in Korean every time we talk, then I would think that person is either extremely caring or into me.
So, you might lead someone on without knowing.
I am not saying Koreans are not caring enough, but this expression is not necessary when you speak Korean.
Today I taught you one of the most common mistakes.
If I have recommendation for you studying another language, do not study it with an old grammar book.
Rather, study it with TV shows and children’s books.
Lastly, study it with someone fluent in those languages and someone who has the same mother language.
That way you can get better explanation because you have same way of thinking.
If you have more questions contact me or DM me.