Korean - Say Hello

여러분 안녕하세요!

Happy New Year! Or should I say 행복하세요! Anyway, welcome to our first Korean lesson of the year! I’m so excited, because we’re finally on to creating some sentences! So, as you already know, 안녕하세요 means “hello”! You could even shorten it to 안녕!

Now, let’s move on! Today, I’m going to teach you how to say “goodbye”, why? Because although getting the conversation going is the point of saying “hello” to someone, you also need to know how to end it, and there are several ways to do that. So, strap on your thinking caps, get out your flash cards, because we’re going to start…NOW!

One Quick Note First

Ok, before we get into saying our phrases and writing them down, I do have one last note to give you. Basically, there are two versions of 한글 . The first one is called 존댓말 and this version is literally the polite or the formal version. So, when you’re meeting with business partners, or the Queen, or even just an elder, like a grandmother/grandfather, you have to speak to them in 존댓말, because it’s not only a sign of respect, it’s basically like using full sentences. You have to enunciate and say what you mean, carefully.

The second version is called 반말, this is a more causal version. So, if you’re speaking to a best friend, or a lover, you’ll probably speak to them in 반말, because it’s more natural that way, so, think of it more like slang, but just on the border of it. It’s basically like how you say, “hey guys”, or “what’s up”. In regular speech, you’d say these phrases instead of “hello, how are you doing” it seems more robotic than anything, right? That’s why 한글 has 반말. It’s natural.

Now We Can Learn

Ok, so now we know there are two ways speak in 한글. Let’s look at how to say “goodbye”. First off, there are 5 different ways you can say “goodbye”. That’s right 5 different ways! WHAT? Basically, each way depends on who you are in the situation, and who you’re talking to. So, let’s look at the first one.

안녕히 계세요

Can you remember what each symbol means? For these next few posts, I’ll assist you, but once we start constructing sentences, you’ll have to remember what each symbol means.

So, this phrase is said as “an-nyeong-hi-gye-se-yo”. This phrase is said to the person who is staying behind. So, if you’re leaving a room, or if you’re leaving first, you’ll have to say this phrase. It basically means, “stay well”. It’s also a 존댓말 version of the phrase, so again, use it when speaking to business partners, or people of authority and those who you don’t know.

Are you still with me? Good, let’s move on to the next version of “goodbye”.

안녕히 가세요

Right, let’s take a good look at this version. This one sounds like “an-nyeog-hi-ga-se-yo”. Now, you’re probably wondering what the difference is. It’s the “gye” sound and the “ga” sound. So don’t get confused. Also, don’t confuse this with 안녕하세요. While 안녕하세요has the same “ga” sound, 안녕히 가세요has that extra “hi” between the “nyeong” and the “ga” sound.

This version means saying “goodbye” to someone who is leaving, and again, it’s a 존댓말 version. So, say for example, you called someone into your office, you have the conversation, and decisions have been made, and that person needs to leave, so they say goodbye. In English, you’d just say “goodbye”, but in Korean, instead of repeating what they’re saying to you, you say this phrase back to them. Make sense?

Ok, let’s look at the next one.

잘 있어

So, the way you say this is a little tricky, because of that double consonant there. So, you say it as “Jal-i-seo”. This one is now a 반말 version. Again, this one is said to the person who is staying. So, you’re the one that’s leaving, and you’re saying this to the person who you’re leaving behind.

Are you still good? Great, let’s look at the next one.

잘 가요

Ok this one is another 반말 version of the phrase. This one is said as “jal-ga-yo”, you could even remove the 요 part, to just say “jal-ga”. Again, this one is said the the person who is leaving. So, you’ve just invited someone over to your place, and had a few drinks, talked a little, caught up on news, and the person now needs to leave. So, you say this phrase, to them, since they’re the ones leaving.

Now, if you’ve been doing some research, or you’ve watched variety shows, K-Dramas or even listen to K-Pop, you know that “가” means “go”. So, it makes sense that this version is what you say to the person who is leaving, because it literally means “go well”.

Finally, let’s look at the last version of the phrase.


That’s right, it’s the same way you say “hi”! 안녕is literally like how, in English, we say “bye”, or “see ya”, when we’re saying goodbye to others, even if they’re people we don’t really know. It’s probably the most widely used phrase, because I hear it from celebrities, who join the variety shows I’ve watched in the past, and they aren’t particularly good friends with the hosts.

So, you’re more likely to say this version everywhere, even with colleagues or bosses, because nowadays, no one is that formal. You’re most likely to receive the 존댓말version, if you’re working in the government, perhaps in a very high class and luxurious hotel or restaurant, or somewhere you might meet dignitaries, royalty or people of authority.

Keep Practicing

Ok, so we’ll leave it there for now, because I have a feeling that just confused the hell out of you. So, read this post, read it again, and do some research. It’s one thing to say, “this is how it’s said”, it’s a completely different thing to actually say it. So, keep practicing, keep listening to those who actually speak Korean, and practice saying it yourself.

Well, that’s it from me today, I’ll see you guys next time. For now, don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow for more updates and the latest posts here on Feather’s Charm and on my social media accounts. Oh, and share these posts with family and friends, those who you’d think might enjoy these topics and tips! I’ll see you later!

With love,

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