Naming Colors in Korean

This is officially my first post for this year as I continue to learn Korean.  Some suggested i post something about colors as my header is really colorful =) So i thought of studying colors in Korean.  In fact when i started downloading some applications via iTunes,  i got this flash card type app and colors are one of the most words flashed.

So i read about this lesson on colors in Korean, i thought it was easy though there was some interesting facts i learned which makes it quite complicated for someone who is just starting to learn Korean.  Colors as we know in English is  noun of course and the counterpart in Korean is called 색 (saek – color).   To name colors in Korean, 색 is normally attached to the color it self like the sample below:

  • 파란색 (Paransake) Blue
  • 검정색 (Geomjeongsaek) Black
  • 하얀색 (Hayansaek) White
  • 빨간색 (Ppalhansaek) Red
  • 노란색 (Noransaek) Yellow
  • 초록색 (Choroksaek) Green
  • 주황색 (Chuhwangsaek) Orange
  • 보라색 (Borasaek) Purple
  • 핑크색 / 분홍색 (Pingkeusaek/Bunhongsaek) Pink
  • 은색 (Eunsaek) Silver
  • 금색 (Keumsaek) Gold
  • 갈색 (Galsaek) Light Brown
  • 밤색 (Bamsaek) Brown
  • 회색 (Hoesaek) Gray

All the words above pertains to color it self  when you want to modify a noun using color as modifier (i.e. blue car, red bag, pink shirt etc.) then another form is used.  This is where the little complication begins, the adjective form is a bit different from the noun form.  I may have to write another post about it.  As I have learned back then on  Korean sentence structure,  if there is an adjective form of word in Korean then the word can be used like how they use verb, not only as noun modifier but even as the end part of the statement (since verb , the most important part of Korean statement,  always comes last).

So to say  ‘The house is color gray‘  in Korean would be:  집이 회색이에요 (Jipi hwisaek-ieyo) in casual style or 집이 회색입니다 (Jipi hoesaekimnida) in formal style.  In this sentence form, the subject is described by stating its color.  Another example would be 테마 색이 파란색이에요 (Tema saeki paransaek-ieyo) which means — The theme color is blue.

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9 Replies to “Naming Colors in Korean”

  1. Gray is written as 회색 (Hwisaek) Gray, but if its h[WI]saek, isn’t it to be like 휘색? Because I thought you had it written as h[O]saek. I’m not too sure unless it’s just a Korean thang. : )

  2. Hey thanks. I was looking at another site and I’m a little unclear.

    If I use 보라 (bora) with 구조 (gujo) or 불꽃 (bulkkot) then it appears I don’t need to say 색 (saek).

    So because color here is an adjective, and modifies a noun it is understood by implication, and becomes 보라 구조 (bora gujo) or 보라 불꽃 (bora bulkkot).

    USed informally in speech ok, and writing? Yes, no?

    1. i think you can drop the 색. These words does not impact style of speech the formal or informal style is made through different conjugation of the verb, this is at least from the readings I made.

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