You might say that karaoke is the universal language.
Anyone who has participated in karaoke knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Without exchanging names or even saying anything to each other, fellow singers can forge a deep connection.
All it takes are locked eyes and a shared passion for the power of music!
Karaoke may be the universal language, but at some point you’re going to have to learn how to say hello to the friends you make at 노래방 (noraebang/karaoke).
But never fear! Even though it can take years to master Korean, you can learn how to introduce yourself in less than 15 minutes.
In this article we’ll teach you how to say “Hello, my name is…” and some other useful phrases you can use when you first meet somebody. We’ll also provide you with a sample conversation and some resources you can use to help solidify what you’ve learned.
Let’s get started!
How to Introduce Yourself in Korean: The 15-minute Guide
In English, when you first meet somebody, you probably say some variation of “Hello, my name is…” You can use the same phrase in English no matter who you’re talking to. In Korean, you need to change the phrase slightly depending on who you’re speaking with.
In case you’re not familiar with the different levels of formality in Korean, here’s a quick guide.
- 반말 (Casual language): Used with people younger than you and close friends.
- 존댓말 (Polite language): Used with strangers and people you don’t know well. It comes in two forms: informal and formal. Sentences that are written in the informal version usually end with a “요” on the verb. Sentences written in the formal version often end in (ㅡ)ㅂ니다.
For the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on the polite informal way of speaking. You can use this form in most day-to-day situations.
Basic Phrases for Introducing Yourself in Korean
How to Say “Hello, My Name Is…” in Korean
When you’re meeting somebody for the first time, you’ll use one of the following two phrases to say “Hello, my name is…”
You can use this phrase if your name ends in a vowel:
안녕하세요? 저는 _____예요.
Hello, my name is _____.
You can use this phrase if your name ends in a consonant:
안녕하세요? 저는 _____이에요.
Hello, my name is _____.
Just like in English, there are several ways to introduce yourself in Korean. You can also use one of the following phrases with no difference in meaning.
If your name ends in a vowel:
제 이름은 _____예요.
My name is _____.
And if your name ends in a consonant:
제 이름은 _____이에요.
My name is _____.
If you want to ask somebody else what their name is, you can say this:
What is your name?
How to Say “Nice to Meet You” in Korean
There are several ways to say “nice to meet you” in Korean, but the following is one of the most simple:
Nice to meet you.
How to Say “I’m From…” in Korean
Shortly after meeting somebody, you might get asked about your background. You can use this phrase to tell somebody what country or city you come from:
저는 _____에서 왔어요.
I come from _____.
Korean speakers often drop the word “I” from sentences. Usually, when you can guess the subject of the sentence by the context, you can drop 저는 without changing the meaning.
Here’s a list of some countries you might be from. Most countries sound similar to their English counterpart, but some others such as America and Australia change.
- Canada: 캐나다
- England: 영국
- America: 미국
- Ireland: 아일랜드
- Scotland: 스코틀랜드
- Northern Ireland: 북아일랜드
- New Zealand: 뉴질랜드
- India: 인도
- Australia: 호주
- The Philippines: 필리핀
- Jamaica: 자메이카
- The Bahamas: 바하마 제도
How to Talk About Your Age in Korean
Asking and expressing your age in Korean is an essential skill. As we mentioned, there are different formalities of speech in Korean. When meeting somebody for the first time, you may want to ask them how old they are so you know how formal you should be when speaking.
Saying your age is easy. You can just say the following with your age in the blank:
I am _____ years old.
There are two different number systems in Korean. For saying your age, you should use native Korean numbers. If you need to brush up on your Korean numbers, here’s a reminder.
- One: 하나 (한)
- Two: 둘 (두)
- Three: 셋 (세)
- Four: 넷 (네)
- Five: 다섯
- Six: 여섯
- Seven: 일곱
- Eight: 여덟
- Nine: 아홉
- Ten: 열
- Twenty: 스물 (스무)
- Thirty: 서른
- Forty: 마흔
- Fifty: 쉰
- Sixty: 예순
- Seventy: 일흔
- Eighty: 여든
- Ninety: 아흔
If you want to ask someone how old they are, you can use either of the following expressions. The first is more formal, while the second sounds more casual:
나이가 어떻게 되세요?
How old are you? (Formal)
How old are you? (Casual)
If you’re asking somebody older than you their age, you should say the following:
연세가 어떻게 되세요?
How old are you?
How to Talk About Your Job in Korean
If you want to tell somebody what you do for work, you can use the following expression, putting your job title in the blank:
I am a _____.
And, here’s a quick refresher on some jobs you might have.
- Teacher: 선생님
- Student: 학생
- Doctor: 의사
- Nurse: 간호사
- Scientist: 과학자
- Athlete: 운동 선수
If you want to ask somebody what their job is, you can use the following expression. It loosely translates to “what is your profession?”
무슨 일 하세요?
What’s your job?
Sample Conversation for Introducing Yourself in Korean
Congratulations—you now have a solid foundation for introducing yourself and striking up a conversation in Korean! Now that you’ve learned some basic phrases, here’s an example of a basic conversation putting them together:
Ryan: 안녕하세요? 저는 Ryan이에요. 이름이 뭐예요?
Hello, I’m Ryan. What’s your name?
Min-Soo: 저는 Min-Soo예요. 한국에서 왔어요.
I’m Min-Soo. I’m from Korea.
Ryan: 만나서 반가워요.
Nice to meet you.
Min-Soo: 저도요. Ryan, 나이가 어떻게 되세요?
Same to you. How old are you, Ryan?
Ryan: 25살이에요. 무슨 일 하세요?
I’m 25 years old. What’s your job?
I’m a student.
This is just one example of how this conversation might go. In order to really get the ball rolling, call up a classmate, conversation partner or Korean-speaking friend and run this dialogue several different times, with variations in how the two characters respond. Record yourself and then listen back for extra pronunciation practice.
Online Resources to Practice Introducing Yourself in Korean
Merely learning these phrases once isn’t enough. You have to make time to practice! Here are a few ways we recommend reinforcing what you’ve learned here:
Watch Authentic Korean Videos on FluentU
The FluentU app uses interactive videos from the real world to make learning Korean fun. You can listen to movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks to improve your Korean language skills while being entertained at the same time. Because FluentU only uses authentic videos featuring native speakers, you’ll learn Korean as it’s really spoken in day-to-day life. Follow along with interactive subtitles, which allow you to easily look up any unfamiliar word.
Since introductory phrases like “Hello” and “How are you?” are so common, you’re sure to find them in a number of videos. For example, check out this video of Kim Yoo-Jung, a Korean actress, as she fields questions from fans. She starts by quickly introducing herself to her viewers, and you can follow her lead in learning the correct vocabulary and pronunciation to introduce yourself.
Connect with Native Speakers on HelloTalk
HelloTalk is a social media app that connects you with native speakers interested in learning your language. You can chat, ask questions and make corrections to each other’s speech and writing. This app is great for practicing introductions, because you’ll have to introduce yourself every time you connect with someone new!
Run Grammar Drills on How to Study Korean
If you want to improve your grammar and develop your fluency, How to Study Korean is one of the best free resources available on the internet. It has more than 150 lessons to help you improve your Korean language ability, plus games and activities to help you practice.
Work on Memorization with Korean Flashcards
If you want to learn even more phrases that you can use right away in the real world, this Quizlet card set can help. Once you have the phrases memorized, you can test yourself to see if you’ve retained them. If you want to customize your flashcards, you can also use the user-generated flashcard feature on FluentU to make a flashcard deck with all the words you want to learn. FluentU’s flashcards show you not only a word and its English translation, but also a definition, example sentences and an entertaining image to help you retain new vocabulary.
If you prefer your flashcards to be on paper, that’s great too: simply make some the old-fashioned way, on notecards. Writing these phrases down will help you practice spelling and may aid in memorization as well.
Chat with a Robot on MondlyAR
MondlyAR—part of the broader Mondly language-learning service—provides a virtual reality chatbox feature that can help you practice phrases you’ve learned. Try starting a conversation and practicing the phrases you’ve learned today. Chatting with a chatbot can be a great way to build confidence before reaching out to an actual native speaker.
See? 15 minutes of your time, and you’re already a more confident Korean speaker.
Now that you know some basic phrases, you can use them to kickstart your next conversation in Korean. This just might be the perfect moment to transform that karaoke partner into a new friend.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.