Korean Days of the Week

Korean days of the week are pretty easy to learn since they follow a similar pattern to English days of the week. First we need to learn the word for “day”, this is “요일” (yo-il) in Korean.  Next we need to ad the prefix to determine which day we are saying.  This works just like “mon” in Monday or “tues” in “Tuesday”.  Here are the prefixes:

  • 월 (wol) – moon
  • 화 (hwa) – fire
  • 수 (soo) – water
  • 목 (mok) – tree
  • 금 (geum) – metal
  • 토 (toh) – earth
  • 일 (il) – sun

As you may have noticed, the prefixes are the natural elements.  Starting with the moon (Monday) and ending with the sun (Sunday), these are the days of the week:

  • 월요일 (wol-yo-il) – Monday
  • 화요일 (hwa-yo-il) – Tuesday
  • 수요일 (soo-yo-il) – Wednesday
  • 목요일 (mok-yo-il) – Thursday
  • 금요일 (geum-yo-il) – Friday
  • 토요일 (toh-yo-il) – Saturday
  • 일요일 (il-yo-il) – Sunday

Ordering Food in Korean: Part 2

Last time we talked about ordering individual items in a restaurant.  This would be the equivalent of “I want one cheeseburger.”, or “I want one bottle of soda.” Today we will talk about ordering food in portions.

Koreans often eat meals in groups from a community dish, and orders are made as such.  Once you have decided on what you want from the menu, you say “여기요” which translates to “here”.  This is said to get the waiter/waitress’ attention.

When they arrive at your table, you can order with a special phrase.  “인분” is the Korean word for “servings”.  The person ordering will use this simple formula for ordering a group meal:

[ (food item)+(Sino-Korean number)+(인분)+(주세요) ]

Lets review some vocabulary:

  • 인분 (in boon) – serving
  • 주세요 (ju se yo) – please

The Sino-Korean number system is also called the Chinese-Korean number system.  It is aptly named as the numbers were adopted from the chinese language.  Korea uses both Sino-Korean and native Korean numbers in different situations. When ordering with “인분”, Sino-Korean numbers are used. When ordering with a measure word such as “개”, “병”, or “컵”, the native Korean number system is used.

Sino-Korean number review:

  1. 일 (il)
  2. 이 (ee)
  3. 삼 (sahm)
  4. 사 (sa)
  5. 오 (oh)
  6. 육 (yook)
  7. 칠 (Chil)
  8. 팔 (Pahl)
  9. 구 (goo)
  10. 십 (ship)

Ok, so let’s make a sentence. I really enjoy a dish called “샤부샤부” (Shabu-shabu).  This is similar to Mongolian hot-pot.  You are given a pot of hot broth with a fire at your table to keep it hot, you are also given fresh ingredients to put in on your own.  To determine how much of these ingredients you get, you need to order according to how many people you want to feed (or how many servings).  Here is a simple sentence for ordering Shabu-shabu:

샤부샤부 사인분 주세요. (Shabu-shabu sa-in-bun ju-se-yo.)

Take a moment to figure out how many people I want to feed (or how hungry am.)

That’s right, I ordered enough Shabu-shabu for my three closest friends and myself. But wait! I am thirsty for more than just water (which is usually served before you even order).  One of my friends and I want beer, the other two want soda.

The lesson gets a bit more complicated now.  Remember last lesson when I sad that native Korean numbers are used to order things like bottles, cups, and pizzas? Well now we are ordering one bottle of beer (맥주 – mek-ju), and one bottle of soda (콜라 – kola) as well as four servings of Shabu-shabu.

If you recall from the first part of the “Ordering Food in Korea” lesson, the word in native Korean for “one” is “하나”.  When using it with a measure word like “병” (bottle) we just use the shortened form “한”. This shortening also changes “둘” to “두”, and “셋” to “세” (two and thee respectively).

Only one more word to learn, and we can make a full order at our imaginary Shabu-shabu restaurant! The next word we are going to learn is “and”, a very common and useful word.  “하고” (hago) is one of the korean words for “and”, and it will work nicely for our situation. Let’s try to fit together an order.

First, we will order the shabu-shabu:

샤부샤부 사인분

Second, we will use our newly learned word “하고” (and):

샤부샤부 사인분 하고

Third, we add the next item we are ordering:

샤부샤부 사인분 하고 맥주

Fourth, we add how many bottles of beer we want:

샤부샤부 사인분 하고 맥주 한 병

Fifth, we will order the soda using “and” again:

샤부샤부 사인분 하고 맥주 한 병 하고 콜라 한 병

Sixth, and finally, we use “주세요” to complete the order:

샤부샤부 사인분 하고 맥주 한 병 하고 콜라 한 병 주세요.

There it is, a complete order for Shabu-shabu, a bottle of beer, and a bottle of soda. If there are any words that I did not translate phonetically, you can use the Korean alphabet chart below.

Here is a quick reference.
Here is a quick reference.

Fast food burgers in Korea

I decided to get a late night snack in Gyeongju yesterday. I don’t usually eat fast food, but this time it sounded good. Actually it was pretty good as far as fast food goes. The sandwich both looked and tasted better than its USA counterpart. The prices were comparable as well.

The presentation was better due to the paper circle that held the sandwich together.


Winter Vacation

My Winter vacation started a few days ago, though I haven’t taught a class since the end of December.  I have 10 work days off for Winter vacation, but since I planned optimally I have three weekends as well.

Tonight I am heading back to Gyeongju.  I went there in the summer for one day, but this time I will stay for three days.

Gyeongju (Bulguksa)


So here I am, six months later, writing and posting pictures from Gyeongju.  The good thing about putting all of these photos off is that now, in the dead of winter, I have some interesting things to show.

Bulguksa is a very famous temple in Gyeongju.  Gyeongju is located in Gyeongsangbuk province in the south east region of Korea.  gyeongju-150

Located at the entrance of the temple grounds is a gate with four traditional guardians called sacheonwang. Their names from left to right are: Jeungchangcheonwang (South Guardian), kwangmokcheonwang (West Guardian), Damuncheonwang (North Guardian), and Jagukcheonwang (East Guardian).
gyeongju-148The temple grounds are very beautifully maintained.

gyeongju-151Further inside is the main attraction, Bulguksa.  Gyeongju was the capital of the Shilla Dynasty, and during the Shilla Dynasty Buddhism was the national religion.

gyeongju-157In the front of the temple are two staircases and bridges.  In times past there was water beneath these bridges, but now they are dry.  Because these bridges are national treasures, you cannot walk on them.

gyeongju-152Inside the temple are two of the most famous pagodas in Korea.  The pagoda on the right (Dabotap) is so important that it is also found on the back of the South Korean 10 Won coin.

The pagoda on the left is called Seokgatap, and it has an interesting story.  Both Dabotap and Seokgatap were designed and constructed by a man called Asadal.  Asadal was a married man, but he was not able to see his wife because he became so engrossed in his work.  She tried to visit him, but since she was a woman she was not allowed into the temple where the pagodas were being constructed.  She was told to wait by the pond where she would be able to see the the progress of the work.  She waited at the pond, and one day she saw that a pagoda had been completed.  She believed that this meant she would be able to see her husband soon.  Despite the pagoda being completed, her husband did not come.  She was so distraught that she threw herself into the pond and drown.  What she did not know was that, though Dabotap was completed, her husband was still working on Seokgatap.  Thus Seokgatap is named “the shadowless pagoda” because his wife never saw it’s shadow.

Gyeongju is a great place in Korea for a history enthusiast to visit.  Aside from Bulguksa there are several tombs and old sites from the Shilla dynasty.





Ordering Food in Korean: Part 1

There are two ways to order food when you are in Korea.  Actually there are three, but pointing at a menu and saying “I want this” is not something anyone needs any help with.

There are two number systems in Korea; the Sino-Korean numbers (adopted from China), and the native Korean numbers.  Each of these systems are used for a variety of different occasions (telling time, months, counting objects, phone numbers, Etc.)

The first way to order food is by using the native Korean number system and a measure word.  In English a measure word would be “cup” in the sentence, “I want a cup of coffee” (커피 한잔 주세요.)

Here are a few Korean numbers:

  1. 하나 Hana
  2. 둘 Dul
  3. 셋 Set
  4. 넷 Net
  5. 다섯 Da seot

Now that we have covered a few numbers we can move on to some measure words:

  • 판 Pan (used for pizza or flat things)
  • 조각 Jogak (slice or piece)
  • 병 Byeong (bottle)
  • 잔 Jan (cup)
  • 개 Ge (general measure word)

Now we only need to know one more thing (other than the name of the food) before we can make a simple order.  Let’s look at the previous sentence about coffee. 커피 한잔 주세요. Lets disassemble this sentence:

  • 커피 Keopi (coffee)
  • 한 Han (one)
  • 잔 Jan (cup)
  • 주세요 Juseyo (please give me)

주세요 is a very common part of a sentence in Korean, and it is found at the end of the sentence.  Literally it means “give me”, but it is an a polite form, so it does not sound as rough in Korean. Since it is in the polite form, it can be read as “Please give me”.

So our sentence “커피 한잔 주세요.” literally translates to, “Coffee one cup give me please.” Much of Korean will sound strange translated directly into English because they use a different word order.

Here are some food items that can be used with the above measure words:

  • 피자 Pija (Pizza)
  • 차 Cha (Tea)
  • 커피 Keopi (Coffee)
  • 맥주 Mekju (Beer)
  • 물 Mul (Water)