I’m not a big fan of phrasebooks, especially those made by those publishers that have a whole series of them in various languages. Sure, they are convenient, well known, but also highly irrelevant and basically they are just the translations of the most common phrases from the perspective of English (for some of them at least).
Some books contain awkward phrases too. And the question is: how relevant are they? Are these ‘common phrases’ really used in everyday life?
These questions have been bugging me for a long time, so I’ve decided to come up with a list of phrases most commonly used (in real life) in the most common situations – based on personal experience in Korea ^^
The following list contains phrases of what the Koreans will say. I find that it’s harder for us to catch what they are saying compared to getting our meaning across since the following are such set phrases that they usually say it really fast.
I won’t be putting up romanisations, but I hope you will be finding it useful all the same! ^^ I’ll be compiling another list of how you should reply next time to prevent information overload.
At the restaurant
- 몇분이세요? (how many people?)
- 잠시만 기다리세요 (please wait for a moment)
- 이쪽으로 안내 드리겠습니다 (please go this way – used when directing you to the seat)
- 예약했어요? (have you made a reservation?)
- 지금 자리 없는데요, XX분을 기다려야 하는데 괜찮으세요? (there are no seats right now, is it okay to wait for xx mins?)
- 성함이 어떻게 되세요? (may I have your name?)
- 자리가 나오시면 연락드리겠습니다 (we will contact you again when there are seats)
- 주문 도와 드리겠습니다. (may I take your order?)
- xxxx, 주문 맞으시죠? (xxx, is the order correct?)
At the casual food place
- 뭐 드릴까요? (can i take your order?)
- 결제 도와 드리겠습니다 (lit: I will assist you in payment – used when you are paying for something)
- 포인트 카드 있으세요? (do you have any point card?)
- 연수증 필요하세요? (do you need a receipt?)
- 현금 연수증 필요하세요? (do you need a cash receipt?)
- 서명 부탁드리겠습니다 (please sign)
- 봉투에 담아 드릴까요? / 봉투 필요하세요? (should I put these in a bag for you? / do you need a bag?)
현금 연수증 is a something that we do not have in Singapore. I’m still not sure of its purpose but be rest assured that foreigners have no need for it. I once said 예 and the cashier ask me for my social security number. 😐
Point card. Every Korean has at least a dozen point cards. Or so it seems. I’ve always been asked if I have xxx point card or yyy point card almost anywhere I go. The most common one seems to be the Happy point card or the CJ card.
The translations are not direct translations of the phrases. If you look at them carefully, you will find that some of them are statements functioning as questions when translated to English. We tend to expect a direct translation of our native language and that is why we often do not understand how the natives speak.
During my first week here in Korea, I get really nervous when the Koreans start to rattle off these set phrases at top speed. My Korean is not bad, but I was just unaccustomed to these phrases. Anyone has similar experiences?
All those phrases are not really found in the typical phrasebooks right? ^^ But trust me, they are used everywhere in Korea!
Let me know what you think about the list. And suggestions / feedback is always welcomed!