Shane & Simeon’s Korean 101


Shane & Simeon’s Korean 101

Here are some Korean words commonly used in the holiday season:

Merry Christmas – 메리 크리스마스 meh-ree-ka-ree-seu-mah-seu (Yes, Koreans use the phrase “Merry Christmas” just as is)

Year-end party – 망년회 mahng-nyun-hweh

Rice Cake Soup – 떡국 dduk-gook

Holidays – 휴일 hyoo-il

Gifts and Presents – 선물 sun-mool

Family get-together – 가족 모임 gah-jok moh-eem
New Year’s Day –  설날 suhl-nal



Happy New Year  – 새해 복 많이 받으세요 sae-hae-bok mah-ni bah-deu-seh-yo

Did you eat rice cake soup ?  –  떡국 드셨어요 ? dduk-gook deu-shut-uh-yo?

Please accept this new year’s bow – 절 받으세요. juhl bah-deu-seh-yo

Be healthy! – 건강하세요 guhn-gahng-hah-seh-yo


A Q&A with authors:

Who are you and why are you involved in “Korean 101”? 

Shane: I am Korean American. I was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in San Diego since I was eleven years old. Doing “Korean 101” allows me to contribute a little to this community.


Simeon: “I am just someone who loves sharing knowledge and happens to appreciate Korean culture. I do Korean 101 as a way to help others learn what I am learning.

Simeon, you’re not Korean, but how and why did you start learning Korean? 

I learn Korean through conversation with native speakers, private study, music, and Korean dramas. I want to be an English teacher in Korea and I never go into a situation unprepared. I love language and building relationships, and it is so much easier to do so when you speak the language of those whom you are trying to build relationships with.



Shane, you’re korean. Which language do you prefer to use and why? 

It is funny that sometimes I am comfortable with English and in other times. I am much more comfortable with Korean.  I find it very grateful that I am able to naturally switch gear back and forth between English and Korean.  I guess that I should owe some of it to my parents who still have not fully learned to speak English all these years.


What are some advice and tips for those learning Korean as a foreign language? 

Shane: With any foreign language, find the opportunities to speak as much as possible especially with natives and if an opportunity to visit Korea comes along, take it!


Simeon: Surround yourself with the language and culture of your targeted language and speak it as much as possible, alone and with native speakers if possible. Also use every possible way to learn the language from music to dramas, or studying from a book. The more ways you try, the easier it is for your brain to connect synapses which help with entering things into your long term memory when you can access it when needed.



What is your favorite Korean word? 

Shane: 배려 (bae-ryuh). Consideration (for), regard, care

Couple of years ago, I picked up a book from Inchon Airport on my return to US.  The entire book was about this word and its meaning.  I realized that this word and its meaning best described how I’ve been living my life. I am constantly trying my best to live up to its meaning.  Its concept is so simple but very difficult to exercise and apply it in life.  It is my personal lifetime goal as I struggle through whatever challenges that I will face to maintain and exercise the principle behind this word. The word just soothes my soul. 🙂


Simeon: It might be weird, but I love the word 화장실 (hwa-jang-shil) simply because it feels good coming off the tongue and sounds cool to me. Random, but the word means basically “restroom”. When I don’t know the words to a Korean song, I will sing this word, hahaha!

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