From Jonathan Gardner's Korean Notebook
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Speaking Korean is much like speaking any other language. It's messy, haphazard, and full of confusion and contradictions.

However, with a few pointers, you can learn to speak like the Koreans speak.


First, you must master pronunciation. Rather, you must learn how the words you know really sound and how to really say them.

Sentence Structure

If you imagine your language ability developing along the following lines, you'll be able to master any sentence structure in speech. Korean speech is much simpler than their writing, so the grammar isn't too difficult.

  • Nouns, yes, no.
  • Basic verbs: go, come, give, take, buy, sell.
  • Adjectives: Sick, well, tall, short.
  • Past tense / future tense / etc...
  • Time / Place
  • Superlatives: more than, less than.
  • Quoting. (He said, "...")
  • Common idioms, expressions, sayings.
  • Dialects.


There is a certain pattern that speakers follow. The more familiar you are with Korean speech, the more likely you can identify those patterns and behave appropriately.

Hidden Meaning

Often, what is not said is just as important as what is said. Also, the way something is said can change its meaning.

Body Language

Koreans speak a different body language than Americans do. Learn to identify the key points.


Koreans are very funny people. Learn how to get them to relax and how the share humor with each other.