Learning how to say “Hello” in Korean is probably the first thing people want to do. So let’s jump right in.
Honorific Korean Level
안녕하세요 (an-nyeong-ha-se-yo) is “Hello” in Korean.
Bowing while saying “Hello” is customary in Korea.
안녕하세요 is used when greeting strangers and people the same age or older than you.
안녕하세요 is an honorific form of “Hello” in Korean.
안녕 (an-yeong) is “Peace” in Korean.
하세요 (ha-se-yo) is “Do” or “Please do” in Korean.
Therefore, 안녕하세요 literally means do peace or, “Be in peace.”
And in case I don’t see ya…
Good afternoon, good evening, and good night.
Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank
Koreans don’t say good morning, good afternoon, or good evening.
No matter what time it is, the usual greeting is 안녕하세요 (an-nyeong-ha-se-yo).
Informal Korean Level
안녕 (an-nyeong) is also “Hello” in Korean.
안녕 is used when greeting friends or family that you are very close with.
How to Say “Hello” in Korean for Business
안녕하십니까 (an-nyeong-ha-shim-ni-kka) is also “Hello” in Korean
This is a very formal and polite way to say hello.
안녕하십니까 can be heard in business situations, news casts, public speaking or other formal situations.
You probably won’t use 안녕하십니까 but it is good to know.
Learn Korean Language Tips
Make sure to use the correct politeness level of “Hello” in Korean based on Korean Honorifics.
(also explained in Lesson 1)
♦ Korean honorifics is a system used to change speech based on relation, age, and seniority of people involved.
♦ Korean honorifics also change based on situation.
♦ Speech also changes in English based on what situation you are in.
Ex. Business meeting, church, school, wedding, with friends, etc.
안녕하세요 should be used instead of 안녕 if you are not sure which to use.
It is better to be too polite than too rude.
Koreans take their honorific language seriously but understand if you make a mistake.
How to Say “Hello” in Korean on the Phone
여보세요 (yo-bo-se-yo) is “Hello” in Korean on the phone.
Only use 여보세요 when using the phone.
The politeness form of this never changes based on Korean honorifics.
When using the phone in Korea, both people say 여보세요.
A: How have you been?
B: Blah blah blah…
I challenge you to say 안녕하세요 to 10 Korean people today. Leave a comment to tell me how you did.