At the Latest and At Least in Korean

I just learned how say ‘at the latest’ and ‘at least’ in Korean.  There are two descriptive verbs when added with 어도 gives that maximum and minimum meaning.

  • 늦어도 (neujeodo) –  at the latest (even though it is late)
  • 적어도(chokodo) – at least (even though its few or small)

It’s like an idiomatic expression because 늦어 means to be late and 적어 means to few or small.  Here are some examples patterned from this lesson:

  • 여기부터  공항까지 적어도 2시간은 걸리겠어요.  (Yeogibuto gonghangkajji chokodo 2shiganeun keollikesseoyo) – From here to the airport must take at least 2 hours.
  • 제가 늦어도 11시까지는 집에 가야. (Chega neujeodo 11shikkajineun jipe kaya) – I need to be home by 11pm at the latest.

Korean Wordbook for Beginners

A year ago when I got the chance to visit Seoul, I bought a handful of Korean books to help me learn the language fast.  I have not opened most of them except the culture  comic book.  Now that I temporarily stopped reading Continuing Korean to review my previous learnings, I took the time to open this small handbook called Korean Wordbook for Beginners.  Its a Korean-English wordbook but it doesn’t have romanization which I really don’t mind.  One language adviser once said that to be able to learn Korean, one must get rid of romanization. Instead, the focus should be on reading and writing in Hangul.

The book is relatively cheap. It only cost me 4800KRW or less than 5USD.   It contains common Korean words used.  It has synonyms and antonyms which I find really helpful in making the right choice of word.   It also has example of the word’s use written in Korean without any English translation so it will somehow challenge your proficiency.

I appreciate the appendix as well as it contains collection of words commonly used in expression like Question Pronouns, Conjunctive Adverbs (normally used to connect 2 sentences), counting units or marker, number, colors and a lot more.

Here is a collection of Question Pronouns:

  • 어느 / 어떤 (eoneu/eoddeon) – which
  • 어디 (eodi) – where
  • 누구 (nugu) – who
  • 누가 (nuga) – who as subject
  • 무엇 (mueo) – what
  • 무슨 (museun) – adjective form of what
  • 언제 (eonje) – when
  • 얼마 (eolma) – how much
  • 얼마나 (eolmana) – how much, how long, how many
  • 어떻게 (eotteoke) – how, by what means
  • 몇(myeot) – how, what
  • 왜 (wae) – why

It Has Been Ages–I am Back!

I hibernated for so long. Honestly I have not been reading my book since the last post I made.  I have so many excuses — yes they are excuses because when you are determined to do something you will make time for it.   My other activities made me escape such determination to fully learn Hangul.

I was a bit disappointed with myself.  After reading Elementary Korean which is seriously thick and started with Continuing Korean (advance book), I had this thinking that I am advance as well but I wasn’t — and I figure it out in a little painful way.  Sometimes you really have to humble yourself.   It kinda distracted me in away. 

Anyway I am back with my senses and there are two key learnings that are too basic but I almost neglected, first, it’s best to apply what you learned by communicating to someone who is native either orally or written.  Second, make sure you review what you have learned. 

In this post let me share some points I have learned from my Language Exchange Partners (LEP).   I really did not stop from learning but took the time to see other venues to learn the language.  Thanks to my LEPs 🙂

One very important thing to know is the use of words.  In any language there are synonyms and it’s quite important to know when to use one from another.  It also allows you to understand better the meaning of the statement.

From my previous post on couting days, I have learned that  day is 일 (il) in Korean, which also means one (1) in Sino Korean or the verb ‘work’.   So there is a possiblity of hearing 일일 (iril) to day one day but a month is normally used with it such that 삼월 일일 (samwol il il) means 1st of March.

Still on the word day, I also encountered 하루 (haru) which also means day but is specifically one day.  I first encountered this word when another LEP wrote to me 하루 잘 보내요 (haru jal bonaeyo – have a good day).  According to my LEP this is more used to pertain to 1 day than 일일.  So this is how 하루 하루 (Haru Haru) song of 빅뱅 (Big Bang — a popular boy group in Korea) became known as ‘Day by Day’.   Likewise he said 하루하루 could also mean everyday which is similar to 매일 (maeil).

Another word in Korean which also means day is 날  (nal).  Well, I have no idea this word means day until that song 다음 날 (Daum nal) of Seungri from the same group Big Bang.  I like that song so I tried to find for the translation of the lyrics and in the course, I have learned it means  ‘the next day’ or ‘the day after’.   I also took the chance to clear this with my LEP and he said that this word normally cannot stand on its own.  It cannot be used to with a count word to count  days,  so it’s not normal to hear 두 날 (du nal) to say 2 days such that 일날 (il nal) cannot be used in the context of Sino Korean number 일 (means 1) and word 날 as day together.  Instead 일날 would simple mean day.   This explains why my LEP mentioned that this Korean word is commonly used together with the word 일.   I remember reading about this on Elementary Korean, that it is acceptable to use 날 along with 일 when counting days, seems to be redundant but acceptable.  Likewise, 날 is used to pertain to anniversaries  like 어버이날 (Eobeoinal) which means Parent’s Day.

This learning is really something basic but it worthwhile to know so you can effectively use word in its appropriate context. 

I hope to keep up with this, thanks to my LEPs for helping me to continuously learn despite my excuses.

More Tips on Use of Future Marker

Still on use of future,  verbs of knowing is usually expressed uisng -겠- or the future presumptive.  Like when you say  I know or I don’t know one may expect this in Korean as 알아요 (arayo) 몰라요 (mollayo) respectively.  They are both in present form but you will hear people use 알겠어요 (algesseoyo) to say I know.  The -겠- marker gives a hint of tentativeness.  You will often hear 알겠어요 when asking do you know? or do you understand?  Again this is because the marker makes it tentative and it sound more polite when used for second person question.

For future statement expressing willingness to or wants to, the future presumptive verb is preferred.  When making questions or suggestions that is indicative of the future, never ever use the probable future or immedaite future style.  The future presumptive style -겠- is often used.  Check this example:

  • 신보하시겠어요? (shinbohashikesseoyo?) Would you like to walk?
  • 신보하실거에요? (shinboshilkeoeyo?) Are you going to take a walk

Note the difference in meaning the second one which is the one in probable future form is a question that is not meant to be answered but rather just a matter-of-fact question. 

Also when speaking about intention of other people, never ever use the immediate future -(으)ㄹ께요 as Koreans don’t allow others to speak about their intention with certainty.  In such cases use the presumptive or probable future 🙂


Taking a Ride or Getting on a Vehicle

Yesterday i posted about the verb 가 (ka) and 와 (wa) which means go and come respectively.   Now this post is a simple follow through to this line of thought. 

When you travel, taking a ride or getting on  a vehicle the verb to remember is 태요.  It means to ride or gets on <vehicle>.  This verb takes a direct object marked by particles 을/를 (eul/reul). So, 기차를 태요 (Kichareul taeyo) means gets on a train or ride on a train.

A simple format can be made to structure sentence using this verb along with 가 and 와, see below:

[destination] vehicle을/를 타고 [destination] 가/와요.

This means that destination can either be place before the vehicle or after the verb form 타고. Vehicle should be marked with object particle 을 or 를.  The verb ending can either be 가 or 와.

학교에 바스를 타고 가요. (Hakyoe basureul tago kayo) would mean the same as 바스를 타고  학교에 가요 (Basureul tago hakyoe kayo).  That is,  I go to school by bus. 가 can be replaced by 와요 (wayo) to mean Come to school by bus. 

The same verb 타고  can be attached to a negated 가 or 와  like this:  택시를 타고 오지/가지 않아요 (Taekshireul tago  waji/kaji anayo).  This would mean ‘does not come/go by taxi’.

Expression: Going (가) and Coming (와) and Particle 로

The verb 가 (ka) and 와 (wa – infinitive form) are just two of the most commonly used verbs.  가 means go while 와 means come.  This post is a tip on how the particle 로 (ro) works perfectly with this two verbs.  As discussed in previous post 로 is a particle attached to noun which creates the meaning via, through or by means of the nound to which it is attached.

Vehicle+로 then destination and the verb does the trick.  Here are examples:

  • 기차로 학교에 가요  (Kicharo hakyoe kayo) Goes to school by train
  • 기차로 학교에 와요  (Kicharo hakyoe wayo) Comes to school by train
  • 바스로 가요 (Basuro kayo) Goes by bus
  • 택시로 왔어요 (Taekshiro wasseoyo) Came by taxi

내가 자동차로 사무실용 건물에 가요  (Naega chadongcharo samushilyong keonmure kayo).  I go to the office by car.

아주 (Aju) and 너무 (Neomu)

These two Korean words have the same meaning. 아주 and 너무 both mean very or too in English. For the longest time i am always inclined to use 너무 than 아주. Last Saturday in my Korean class, my 선생님 (seonsaengnim — yes this is how teachers are addressed in Korean) gave a tip on how to differentiate the use. 

According to my teacher 아주 is positive compared to 너무.  The latter tends to be negative and a bit exaggerated.  It may even sometimes sound sarcastic.  So when complimenting people it would be safe to use 아주 instead.

Typing Korean Characters in PC

Aside from blogging I am also an avid fan of Yahoo Answers.  These are the common questions being asked by those who are interested in typing Korean Characters known as 한글 (Hangeul sometimes romanized as Hangul) in their PC:

  • How do I enable display of Korean Characters on my screen?
  • How can I type Korean Characters from my PC?

I also did try a lot of foolish things before.  I downloaded a lot of Korean Fonts and they are never displayed properly on my screen and what is worst I don’t know what to type to display a certain character.  Anyway, if you are Microsoft Windows and Office XP user, Global IME is pre-installed in your computer. You just need to enable it doing the following simple steps (Note:  Please ensure you have your Operating System – OS installation disc with you) : 

  • Open the Control Panel of your computer then select ‘Regional and Language Options’. 
  • Go to ther Language Tab and select ‘Install East Asian Font’ tick box as seen below:


  • At this point, you will be asked to insert your Windows installation disk as your PC tries to decompress the file.  Locate the file from the CD (in most cases the files being asked are automatically located during the process –there are about 3 reference files needed from the installation disc)
  • Once this is done, you can then add Korean (and other East Asian Language such as Mandarin and Japanese) as one of the languages you can input with using your computer, see screen shot below:


  • The language bar will then be installed in your windows task bar like the one shown below:


  • To select Korean Input Method click on EN then select KO (Korean) to allow typing in 한글, notice that the windows task bar changes from EN to KO.  You can switch from alphabet to 한글 keyboard by just pressing ‘alt’ key.


  • The Global IME works from almost all application that allows you type in text, but there are also exceptions.  Samsung PCs are normally marked with Korean Characters in the keyboard, incase you are using another type (just like my laptop) here is a guide on the 한글 characters in your keyboard (you just have to memorize it unless you want to mark your keyboard with it):


  • If its hard for you to memorize the keyboard and do not wish to put any markings on it, you can draw the characters using the IME Writing Pad, just select it from your language bar.  The writing pad is guided, as you know, Korean writes in block formation.   The maximum number of characters that can be inputed is 4, panel from the right will suggest the block of characters, select from the suggestion on which block to use and it will automatically reflect on your document.  When using the writing pad be sure you are familiar with the correct strokes in writing 한글 as it plays an important role in character block recognition otherwise you might be wondering why the block that you just draw is not available from the panel.


If you are using Windows Me, Windows 98, Windows 95, or Windows NT 4.0 and not running Office XP then you have to download the Global IME file 5.02 to enable East Asian Font in your PC.  Check out the Microsoft site.  The Global IME is pre-installed only for Windows and Office XP user.

Practical Tips on Learning Korean

I am writing some of my recommended activities in learning Korean.  This is based on my experience as Korean Language entusiast.  To learn this language really needs passion, so I just couldn’t imagine how challenging it is for someone who needs to learn Korean because it is simply required in their profession or job.

There are 4 things worth considering which I find helpful in my day to day learning of Korean.

  • Learn how to read Hangul.  If you really intend to understand the language you need to study their writing system and pronunciation rules using Hangul.  Romanization will not help you speed your fluency.  You will only be troubled by the way characters are translalated from Hangul to alphabet as there are different ways to romanize Hangul.  I remember in my earlier days of learning, i had language exchange partners who i wrote emails with in romanized Korean and they are so confused on what I mean.  Like the word 십팔 (shippal) which is actually eighteen, another word sounding like this means vulgar.  The word 씨발 (sshipal) means fu*k.  Although they are romanized differently since there is no single standard in romanization,  one should be cautious in using this word the romanized way.
  • Buy a book that explains the Korean language structure and use.  Instead of buying phrase book, get to know how sentence are formed.  How words are structured for conversational use.  I remember buying every phrase book that I saw from the bookstore simply because there are pointers from one book which is not discussed on the other book.  I ended up having 5 phrase book and it contains almost the same thing except for a portion or section.  Each of the book tells me how to say 안녕하세요, 반갑습니다 etc.  At the end of the day you will only memorize these words and never really know how each word is used.  You might end up wondering why nouns or verbs have different pronunciation (and later discover that there is such thing as particles or post-positioning in Korean). I suggest you invest on a book that explains the language the linguistics approach.  I am very much happy with my Elementary Korean Book.  I learned a lot from it.
  • Invest on a good English-Korean Dictionary.  Make sure you buy the one that has Hangul characters on it and not a pure romanized Korean-English dictionary.  If you are confused on word, search on my posting about dictionary entry =)
  • Watch Korean movies and listen to Korean songs. Reading the book may trouble you with the pronunciation so you can validate sounds when you listen to native speaker speacilly on the characters that become glutha rest or with dual sound (ㄹ-l/r; ㄱ-g/k).  There are likewise nuisance in the pronunciation of Korean words so this will help you.  Listening to music will also help you practice Korean translation. It likewise help you validate what you have learned on you own. 

I know it sometimes becomes a bore but you just have to be patient.  Try to read something in Korean a day may it be a lesson from a book, a post in the internet, etc. and if it seems to be tiring get hold of your dictionaty and learn at least 2 to 3 new words… this way you learn slowly but surely.  Happy Learning.