Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun and welcome to another Korean words tutorial. In this tutorial, we will learn the most common and basic Korean words that you can use to describe your city. Even if you live in a calm peaceful small town, many Korean words in this tutorial will be very helpful in many situations.
City / urban
도시 is a Korean word for ‘urban city’. It sounds very simple but it’s really not. For example, you can’t say something like ‘뉴욕 도시 (New York City)’ because that’s not how you use 도시. you can’t use this Korean word with a proper noun (e.g. New York city). 도시 is natural only when you use it alone like ‘this city is big’.
서울은 큰 도시에요
Seoul is a big city
To be noisy / To be loud (too much)
시끄럽다 is an informal Korean word that describes sound is too loud and noisy especially when the sound is too loud or annoying. This Korean word has a very negative meaning just like ‘noisy’. So, if you say ‘소리가 시끄러워요 (the sound is loud)’, it only has a bad nuance like ‘the sound is too loud and annoying’.
Sometimes, native Koreans use 시끄러워요 instead of ‘shut up’.
여기는 밤에 너무 시끄러워요
This place is noisy at night
시청 means ‘city hall’. 청 means ‘a government building’.
Korean Culture With 시청
If you have ever talked to Koreans, then you might notice they barely mention of 시청 and they always say something like ‘town hall’, ‘distict office’, ‘community center’. Yeah, Koreans barely go to the city hall because we don’t have to. We have a public office in every single town under the district offices and the district offices are under the city halls. If you have to go to the city hall in Korea, then it must be about something big. I have visited a city hall only once in my life and it was for my business licence.
서울 시청 바로 옆에 덕수궁이 있어요
Deoksu palace is located right next to the Seoul city hall.
은행 means bank in Korean.
You can find the same spelled Korean word to 은행 which is Ginkgo tree, 은행 나무. Ginkgo trees are really common in Korea. You can see them literally everywhere and yes we talk about ginkgo trees especially during autumn. Don’t let yourself misunderstand.
Where is the bank?
살다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to live (especially in some place)’. It doesn’t mean ‘go live (for broadcast)’ or ‘live broadcast’.
Many compound Korean words are based on 살다 such as ‘살아남다 (surrive)’, 살아가다 (make a living)’, ‘잘살다 (be wealthy)’ and more. 살다 is a very necessary Korean word to memorize.
저는 미국에 살아요
I live in the states
Then what to use if you want to say something like ‘Seoul city’ or ‘New York city’. Korean language uses a special affix -시 which means means ‘city’. Just add it after the city name like ‘뉴욕시 (New York city)’, ‘서울시 (Seoul city)’ or ‘인천시 (Incheon city)’. This is the most natural way to say a city name.
However, native Koreans prefer not to use the affix -시 when they name foreign cities except for New York. (I’m not kidding, it feels really natural to say ‘뉴욕시’). If you name foreign cities, then just say the city name without -시. You can skip it with cities of Korea like 인천 instead of 인천시, 서울 instead of 서울시.
You can very easily see this Korean words in many many many Korean words. 시청 (city hall), 서울시 (seoul), 시민 (citizen). However, not every 시 affixes mean ‘city’. You lead yourself misunderstand some Korean words.
인천시에 살고 있어요
I live in Incheon city
To be a lot of (something) / many / much
많다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be a lot / many / much’. It’s a bit tricky to understand but you don’t need to try to understand it perfectly. Translate it as ‘There are a lot of (something)’ or ‘I have a lot of (something)’. It always means one of 2.
Another important thing of 많다 is that you can use it to describe uncountable nouns such as ‘water’ or ‘furniture’. Of course, you can use it for countable nouns too.
사람이 너무 많아요
There are a lot of people
= it’s too crowded
To be / To have
있다 is a very tricky Korean word. It has a very important grammatical functions also. I recommend you to read the tutorial about ‘있다 conjugation’ to learn it perfectly.
있다 has 2 meanings. 1st is ‘to be (in place)’ like ‘I’m home’ or ‘I’m at the office’.
And, 2nd is ‘to have’ like ‘I have a crappy computer this froggy peace of shh’. You can’t tell which meaning is used until you read a context. But, to native Koreans, 있다 means both at the same time.
망할 컴퓨터가 있어요
There is a damn computer
Not to be / Not to have
없다 is the exact opposite Korean word of 있다. You have to consider it as a negative form of 있다. 없다 also has a very important grammatical functions. I recommend you to read the tutorial about ‘있다 conjugation’ to learn it perfectly.
없다 has 2 meanings just like 있다. ‘Not to be (in place)’ like ‘I’m not home’ or ‘I’m not at the office’.
And ‘to not have’ for describing a possession like ‘I don’t have a beautiful frog to kiss yet’.
저는 핵폭탄이 없어요
I don’t have a nuclear bomb
동네 is an informal Korean word that is often translated as ‘town’. Yes, often translated as ‘town’. It means English doesn’t have a perfectly matched word for 동네. 동네 is more like ‘a town as a part of a city or a region’ or ‘a town especially where a subject of a sentence live’.
우리 동네에는 미친 사람이 많이 살아요
Many crazy people live in my town
How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives
도시에 사는 게 좋아요
I like living in a city
국제 공항은 인천시에 있어요
The international airport is in Incheon city
Where is the city hall?
돈 찾으러 은행에 가야돼요
I have to go to a bank to withdraw money
저는 서울에 살아요
I live in seoul
음악이 너무 시끄러워요
The music is too loud
저는 돈이 많아요
I have a lot of money
저는 카페에 있을게요
I’ll be in the cafe
저는 돈이 없어요
I don’t have any money
우리 동네는 진짜 시끄러워요
My town is really noisy
References For Korean Words
korean standard unabridged dictionary
- Chris M
- Emily M
- Carly Sisson