14 votes
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Difference between 되었어요 and 됐어요?

I have always considered 됐어요 to be a contraction of 되었어요. They are both equally correct forms of the past tense of the verb 되다. In spoken Korean, I use 됐어요 almost exclusively. In written Korean, I ...
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  • 3,884
12 votes
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What is the politest way in Korean to say that someone is 'old'?

연세 should be definitely mentioned here. 연세 is a more polite form of 나이, and if you want to be super polite, you can say 연세가 많으시다 to mean "old". It's also a very common expression. It might seem odd ...
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  • 7,292
12 votes
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How can a non-native Korean speaker say "Pure Korean" or "Native Korean" in Korean?

순우리말: I think this would be fine coming from a non-Korean. While being a Korean speaker or learner, you can consider it yours. Also the sense of 우리 in 순우리말 (without any spaces in it) has become ...
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  • 1,277
12 votes

Chronology of orthography before and after the separation of North and South Korea

The first orthographic descriptions of Hangul was indeed in Hunminjeongeum, 1443. But the Korean language changed a lot over the centuries, so most of the old descriptions got useless in the Modern ...
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  • 7,292
10 votes
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Is there a Korean word for 'Syllable Block'?

What you call "syllable block" is simply "글자" (character) to Koreans. A 자모 is almost always considered a sub-unit of a character. (When Hangul was invented, the only "characters" most Koreans knew ...
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  • 7,024
10 votes

Easy Korean Poems for Beginners

Okay, while @ting-choe has my gratitude for something that may level me up (my wife says I will "never understand" 김소월의 진달래꽃 - I think some "easier" poems (for my level) are in order here (and my ...
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10 votes
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What does 사자 in this picture mean?

Understading homonyms always requires the context. In that webtoon, I thought the word was 사자(嗣子) which means one who perpetuates the lineage. It's like an heir, although 태자 and 황태자 (For your ...
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  • 3,238
9 votes
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What are the differences between 힘들다 and 어렵다?

In many cases, they are interchangeable. But 힘들다 is more focusing on the amount of effort you have to pay, especially physical effort. 등산은 힘들다(Hiking a mountain is hard) can be a proper example. ...
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  • 1,555
9 votes

What is the difference between 방금 and 금방?

방금 should be used with the past tense or just a short while ago. 방금 뭐 했냐? (친구들이랑 with friends) 방금 뭐 하셨어요? (polite manner) However, 방금 뭐 해요 doesn't make sense to a native Korean. 방금 뭐 했어? 방금 뭐 했어요? ...
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  • 261
9 votes
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Is there a special name in Korean for adverbs like '반짝반짝', '흔들흔들', '빙글빙글'?

They are mimetic words. They're called 음성상징어, and can be further classified into two categories: 의성어 are words that reflect the sound of something (phonomimes / onomatopoeia): 후루룩 (the sound of ...
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  • 5,904
9 votes

Easy Korean Poems for Beginners

진달래꽃 - 김소월 나 보기가 역겨워 가실 때에는 말없이 고이 보내 드리우리다 영변에 약산 진달래꽃 아름 따다 가실 길에 뿌리우리다 가시는 걸음 걸음 놓인 그 꽃을 사뿐히 즈려밟고 가시옵소서 나 보기가 역겨워 가실 때에는 죽어도 아니 눈물 흘리우리다 If someone doesn't know this poem, he or she is not ...
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  • 957
8 votes

Are the words 이상 and 이하 inclusive?

이상 and 이하 is always inclusive. 초과 and 미만 is always not inclusive. Therefore, 3년 이상 is 3 years or more 3년 이하 is 3 years or less cf. 3년 초과 is more than 3 years 3년 미만 is less than 3 years.
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8 votes
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What's the adjective for feeling intense cold pain? (while at the dentist)

The word you are looking for is 시리다, meaning chilly or achingly/painfully cold. Rather than cold pain where cold complements and characterizes the pain, this one is the other way round: it is more ...
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  • 1,320
8 votes
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Basic steps to take when learning Korean

Learning any language can be difficult. That being said, Korean can be quite a challenge if you are only used to reading romanized characters. Learning the Korean alphabet would be the first step ...
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8 votes
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Are there any counter words that some native Koreans might not know?

고등어 한 손 - two mackerels 장작 한 가리 - twenty pieces of firewood, used for things tied together 새끼 한 고팽이 - one roll of rope, only used for rope 북어 한 쾌 - twenty dried pollacks, only used for dried pollacks ...
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  • 7,292
8 votes

How commonly is 풋 used in Korean, and is describing someone's height a common use of it?

In addition to Putri's answer, 풋 can also be a prefix that means immature. Some of examples are: 풋사랑 : 풋 + 사랑(love) puppy love 풋사과: 풋 + 사과(apple) unripe apple 풋내기 : rookie 풋내: idiomatically describes ...
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  • 321
8 votes
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Meaning of 마지노선?

This is a great example of how a historical/literary/cultural/geographical reference is picked up by another cultural sphere and takes on a life of its own. La ligne Maginot, as the Encyclopedia ...
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  • 2,009
7 votes
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What does '여보세요' mean in the middle of a conversation?

여보세요: From 여기 (yeogi) + 보다 (boda) + 세요 (seyo), literally “look here”. It's usually used when you are not sure who you are talking to. For example: Starting a conversation on the phone(You pick up ...
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  • 846
7 votes
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What is the difference between 방금 and 금방?

'방금' and '금방' have same hanja behind: 方今 vs 今方. Although, '방금' is more often used for past, and '금방' is more widely used for the future, they both can mean short time preceding, or following the ...
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  • 1,299
7 votes

기계 (gigye) ==> 機械, 器械, 奇計 (what else?)

Just answering Q1: Naver's dictionary lists six words. However, among them, 奇計 is a very rare word. I'm not even sure if I've seen it anywhere, although I might understand the term if I saw it in ...
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  • 7,024
7 votes
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I started studying Korean at 32. I'm 34 and still terrible. Is it possible to learn in your 30s?

I'll start by depressing you further - I've been learning Korean on and off (and admittedly there has been a lot of 'off') for more than 10 years now, and I'm still pretty terrible! So if you really ...
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7 votes
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Which Korean country names originate from Japanese?

독일(獨逸) - Germany, from Japanese (ドイツ doitsu), ultimately from German Deutsch 화란(和蘭) - Netherlands, from Japanese (オランダ oranda), ultimately from Papiamento Hulanda 불란서(佛蘭西) - France, from Japanese (...
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  • 7,292
7 votes
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How helpful is knowing Russian vocabulary for knowing vocabulary which only occurs in North Korean?

There are some words borrowed from Russian in North Korean, but not nearly as many as there are words from English in South Korean. The North Korean government has really emphasized their ...
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  • 5,904
7 votes

How helpful is knowing Russian vocabulary for knowing vocabulary which only occurs in North Korean?

North Korea and Russia are strategically close countries, but because North Korea uses the same language as Korea, linguistically it is not helpful to learn Russia 북한과 러시아는 친하지만, 북한과 한국만 같은 언어를 사용하기 ...
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7 votes
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진실 vs 진리: What is "the truth"?

I want to know if Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy. I want to know the truth. Am I looking for 진리 or 진실? You're looking for 진실. 진리 is a more or less philosophical/religious/logistical term. ...
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  • 7,292
7 votes
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How to say "neutral flavor" in Korean

Not sure if this matches what you want, but there's a word 담백하다. It means "lacking (unnecessary) strong taste", i.e., not too salty, not spiced, no (or very little) peppers, etc. It is also a very ...
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  • 7,024

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