Useful Korean phrases and words to know (Classroom Edition)

Useful Korean phrases and words to know (Classroom Edition)

As I try my best to learn the Korean language while barely understanding it being spoken to me everyday, there are some rather useful words I’ve managed to pick up that are both awesome to use and slightly (very) difficult.

Still, if you’re going to be teaching these are some of the words I often hear students use the most.

*Literal sounding out

1. 잠깐만요 (Jamkanmanyo) *Jahm-kahn-mahn

“Just a minute.”

I definitely use this one the most, especially when students are doing an activity and they’re all shouting “SEONSAENGNIM?!” at me like I’m only going to help one of them and then just be silent for the rest of class. It’s very easy to placate them by letting them know I do indeed hear them, loud and clear, but will be with them in just a minute.

2. 잠시만요! (Jamshimanyo) *Jamh-she-man-yo

“Wait a moment.”

This is essentially the same thing as 잠깐만요, but I typically use this one when we are coming inside or going outside and they have to line up at a door or wait for me to get to them to begin.

3. 배고파요 (Paegopayo) *Pay-go-pie-oh

“I’m hungry~”

Self explanatory. Used most often by my students just before lunch and right before their last class of the day. I don’t ever have a real response to this one except “나도…“, which just means, “Me too…”

4. 시퍼요(Shipeoyo) *She-poe-yo

“I want…”

This is a handy little verb that can be connected onto virtually anything. “이게시퍼요, for example, is “I want this.” Basically if I catch nothing else in the sentence but 시퍼요, I can normally piece that together with whatever my student is pointing at and respond appropriately.

5. 기다려 (Gidaryeo) *Gi-dahl-yo

“Please wait.”

This is a tad bit stronger than either 잠깐만요 or 잠시만요 because it literally means, “Wait.” For example, when my students are re-enacting the stampede scene from The Lion King to get outside for Sports Activity, I will have to calmly tell them “기다려” to get them to form a (hectic) straight line.

6. 조용히해수세요 (Joyonghi Haeseusaeyo) *Joe-yong-ee -HEY-sue-say-yo

“Please be quiet.”

Very rarely do I ever use this one, but for rowdy classrooms that just won’t calm down you can use this one. However, normally a simple “Ya” will get their attention and then you can simply tell them to settle down in English.

These are simply useful when you’re asking students “Who’s is this?”, or “What?”, and are useful especially if you don’t know how to conjugate or add onto Korean sentences just yet. Typically I only have to point to someone’s shoes and ask the students, “누구?” Though it is by no means an eloquently put together sentence, they understand what I’m trying to communicate and will tell me.

7. Who – 누구 (Nu-gu) *New-goo

8. What – 뭐 (Mwo) *Moe

9. When – 언재 (Eonjae) *On-jay

10. Where – 어디서 (Eodiseo) *Oh-dee-so

11. How –  어떡해 (Eeoteokhae) *Oh-toe-kay

12. Why – 왜 (Wae) *Way

13. Today – 오늘 (Oneul) *Oh-newl

14. Tomorrow – 내일 (Naeil) *Nay-eel

15. Yesterday – 어제 (Eojae) *Oh-jay

16. Everyday – 하루 (Haru) *Hah-rue

Though this is a very simple list of words and phrases, sometimes it’s the little words that can make the biggest difference in the classroom. I find myself learning Korean not just to get around, but to have my students understand me better. It’s an uphill battle learning a new language, but having my students as my teacher is sometimes the best for us both.

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One thought on "Useful Korean phrases and words to know (Classroom Edition)"

  1. Shadey says:

    By the way you spelt I want wrong in Korean. It’s 싶어요 just wanted to let you know.

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