How To Say Hello In Korean (with Audio!)

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The standard greeting in Korean is 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo). This phrase is used universally across various social settings, making it an indispensable part of your Korean vocabulary.

Let’s break it down: “안녕” (annyeong) means ‘peace’ or ‘well-being’, and “-하세요” (haseyo) is a polite ending. So, literally, 안녕하세요 means ‘Are you at peace?’ or ‘Be well’.

Pronouncing 안녕하세요 might seem daunting at first. The first part, 안녕, is pronounced like ‘ahn-nyeong’, where ‘ahn’ rhymes with ‘wan’ and ‘nyeong’ is like ‘young’ with an ‘n’ at the start.

The second part, 하세요, sounds like ‘hah-say-yo’. The rhythm of the phrase is steady and even, with a slight emphasis on the first syllable of ‘안녕’.

I always encourage my students to listen and repeat, a technique we focus on in our lessons.

For those who are auditory learners, getting the pronunciation right is crucial. That’s why, in our course, we include audio recordings to help you master the correct pronunciation.

Mimicking the sound is a great way to train your ear and improve your speaking skills.

Variations of Hello

Understanding the different ways to say ‘Hello’ in Korean can enrich your speaking ability and help you navigate various social situations. Here are some common variations:

  1. 안녕 (annyeong): This is the informal way of saying ‘Hello’ and is typically used among close friends or people younger than you. It’s casual and friendly.
  2. 안녕하십니까 (annyeonghasimnikka): This is a formal version of ‘Hello’, often used in highly respectful contexts or with people significantly older or in higher positions. It shows a high level of respect.
  3. 여보세요 (yeoboseyo): This isn’t a direct translation of ‘Hello’ but is used when answering the phone, regardless of who is calling.

Each of these phrases is tailored to specific social contexts.

For instance, you’d use “안녕” when greeting a close friend, but switch to “안녕하십니까” in a formal meeting. Understanding these nuances is key to effective communication in Korean.

Using Hello in Conversations

To effectively use ‘Hello’ in Korean, it’s crucial to understand the context. Here are some practical conversation examples:

  1. Greeting a Neighbor:
    • A: 안녕하세요! (Annyeonghaseyo!) – ‘Hello!’
    • B: 안녕하세요! 어떻게 지내세요? (Annyeonghaseyo! Eotteoke jinaeseyo?) – ‘Hello! How are you?’
  2. Answering the Phone:
    • A: 여보세요? (Yeoboseyo?) – ‘Hello?’
    • B: 네, 김 선생님과 통화할 수 있을까요? (Ne, Kim seonsaengnim-gwa tonghwahal su isseulkkayo?) – ‘Yes, may I speak with Mr. Kim?’
  3. Meeting Someone for the First Time:
    • A: 안녕하십니까, 저는 이민호입니다. (Annyeonghasimnikka, jeoneun I Min-ho imnida.) – ‘Hello, I am Min-ho Lee.’
    • B: 만나서 반가워요, 이민호 씨. (Mannaseo bangawoyo, I Min-ho ssi.) – ‘Nice to meet you, Mr. Lee.’

Each of these scenarios demonstrates the versatility of ‘Hello’ in Korean and how it sets the tone for respectful and polite conversation.

Examples of Hello in Korean

To further enhance your understanding, here are some examples of how to use ‘Hello’ in various contexts, complete with romanization and English translations:

  1. Casual Greeting Among Friends:
    • Korean: 안녕, 잘 지냈어? (Annyeong, jal jinaesseo?)
    • English: ‘Hi, how have you been?’
  2. Formal Greeting in a Business Setting:
    • Korean: 안녕하십니까, 오늘도 좋은 하루 되십시오. (Annyeonghasimnikka, oneuldo jo-eun haru doesipsio.)
    • English: ‘Hello, have a good day today.’
  3. Greeting an Acquaintance:
    • Korean: 안녕하세요, 오랜만이에요. (Annyeonghaseyo, oraenmanieyo.)
    • English: ‘Hello, long time no see.’
  4. Greeting in a Casual Phone Call:
    • Korean: 여보세요, 뭐해? (Yeoboseyo, mwohae?)
    • English: ‘Hello, what are you doing?’
  5. Formal Greeting to an Elder:
    • Korean: 안녕하십니까, 건강하게 지내셨나요? (Annyeonghasimnikka, geonganghage jinaesyeossnayo?)
    • English: ‘Hello, have you been well?’

These examples should give you a clearer picture of how ‘Hello’ can be adapted to fit different situations, enhancing both your linguistic skills and cultural understanding.

When To Use Hello in Korean

15 examples of using various forms of ‘Hello’ in Korean, including when to use them, their romanization, and the English translation:

SituationKorean PhraseRomanizationEnglish Translation
Meeting someone for the first time안녕하세요AnnyeonghaseyoHello
Greeting friends casually안녕AnnyeongHi/Hey
Answering the phone여보세요YeoboseyoHello (on the phone)
Greeting an elder respectfully안녕하십니까AnnyeonghasimnikkaHello (formal)
Saying hello in a business meeting안녕하세요, 만나서 반가워요Annyeonghaseyo, mannaseo bangawoyoHello, nice to meet you
Greeting a group formally여러분, 안녕하세요Yeoreobun, annyeonghaseyoHello, everyone
Greeting a neighbor in the morning좋은 아침이에요, 안녕하세요?Joeun achimieyo, annyeonghaseyo?Good morning, hello?
Greeting someone at a social event안녕하세요, 오랜만이에요Annyeonghaseyo, oraenmanieyoHello, long time no see
Greeting a teacher선생님, 안녕하세요Seonsaengnim, annyeonghaseyoHello, teacher
Welcoming someone to your home안녕하세요, 어서 오세요Annyeonghaseyo, eoseo oseyoHello, welcome
Greeting a colleague at work안녕하세요, 오늘도 좋은 하루 되세요Annyeonghaseyo, oneuldo jo-eun haru doeseyoHello, have a good day today
Greeting someone on a casual evening안녕, 오늘 어떻게 지냈어?Annyeong, oneul eotteoke jinaesseo?Hi, how was your day today?
Greeting someone at a formal event안녕하십니까, 이 자리에 초대해 주셔서 감사합니다Annyeonghasimnikka, i jarie chodaehae jusyeoseo gamsahamnidaHello, thank you for inviting me to this event
Greeting someone you haven’t seen in a while안녕하세요, 정말 오랜만이네요Annyeonghaseyo, jeongmal oraenmanineyoHello, it’s really been a long time
Greeting someone in a casual group setting여러분, 안녕!Yeoreobun, annyeong!Hi, everyone!

Each of these phrases is tailored to fit different social contexts and levels of formality in Korean culture.


These greetings are the gateway to meaningful conversations and deeper cultural understanding.

Whether it’s a casual 안녕 (Annyeong) among friends or a respectful 안녕하십니까 (Annyeonghasimnikka) in formal settings, each greeting carries the essence of Korean etiquette and respect.

So, if you’re ready to expand your horizons and embrace the Korean language, join us in our Free Korean Course.

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