Korean Words for School
Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun and welcome to another Korean words tutorial. Everyone becomes a student once in their life and school is their home, even though a lot of young students hate it so much. But you know what? Many teachers hate it as much as they do lol. Anyway, today we are going to learn essential Korean words that you can use for school.
학교 means a school in Korean. The Korean word 학교 is very different than the English word school. In English. school means a place where you can learn something. So, it can be a dance school, a language school or a guitar school. However, 학교 only means elementary school, middle school, high school, college or university.
The pronunciation is supposed to be [hakgyo] but it’s actually pronounced as [ha-ggyo] or [hak-ggyo].
학생 때는 학교가 싫지만 선생님 되면 더 싫어짐 ㅋㅋ
You hate school when you are a student but you will hate it more when you are a teacher lol
다니다 is an informal Korean word for ‘using a path (frequently)’ or ‘going and coming back (regularly)’. English doesn’t have this word (maybe you can find a similar word in your language though). To understand or speak Korean fluently, 다니다 is very essential. Native Koreans use it instead of ‘go’, ‘come’ or ‘use’ in a lot of casual conversations.
Native Koreans use 다니다 to say ‘go to school’. It’s very important because of 2 reasons. 1st, If you say ‘go to school’ with the Korean word ‘가다(go)’, then it literally means ‘you go to some place physically’, it doesn’t have much nuance that you are a student and you go to school everyday.
2nd, Native Koreans often answer ‘학교 다녀요 (I go to school)’ when someone asks if they are a student.
지금 고등학교 다니고 있어요
(I) go to high school now
I’m a high school student
물어보다 is an informal Korean word that is very similar to ‘ask’. You can use it for asking a question or asking someone to do something. 물어보다 is a complex verb that has 2 verbs in it. 묻다 which literally means ‘ask’ and 보다. 보다 makes a meaning ‘try to’ or ‘intent to’ after another Korean verb.
You must remember that usually 물어보다 isn’t used with a noun like ‘질문을 물어보다 (ask a question)’. You have to use it alone.
물어보지 마세요. 저도 잘 몰라요
Don’t ask me. I don’t know either
To ask a question / To make a question
질문하다 is a formal Korean word that also means ‘to ask’. However, the Korean word 질문하다 is more specified for making questions. 질문하다 is made of 2 different words, 질문 and 하다. 질문 means ‘question’ and 하다 means ‘do’. So translating it as ‘making a question’ or ‘asking a question’ is perfect.
질문 is a formal Korean word for ‘question’ as a noun. However, it’s very commonly used in casual conversations.
질문하지마시고 계속 궁금해하세요
Don’t ask a question, keep being curious
학생 means ‘student’ in Korean. However, just like the Korean word 학교. It’s only natural to describe a student of elementary, middle, high school or college, Korean prefer to be specific for this like ‘초등학생 (elementary school student)’, ‘중학생 (middle school student)’, 고등학생(high school student), 대학생 (college / university students)
I’m a middle school student
To take a class / To teach a class
수업하다 is a formal Korean word for teaching or being taught in a class, a school or a private tutoring session. It describes the action for taking a class or a tutoring. A teacher and students both can use this word. English doesn’t have a word for it so it can be a bit confusing. You have to translate 수업하다 differently based on who is the subject of a sentence. If it’s a teacher, then 수업하다 means ‘to teach’. If it’s a student, then it means ‘to being taught’. However, that’s not the correct way to understand this Korean word because 수업하다 describes the both meaning at the same time, it’s more like ‘doing 수업’.
Although, it’s a formal Korean word, native Koreans use it very commonly for casual conversations. You can hear this Korean word especially when a class starts or is ongoing like ‘수업하고 있어요 (I’m in the class)’.
I was in the class
책 is an informal Korean word for book. Yes, Korean language has a formal word for book lol. However, native Koreans use 책 more often for any kinds of conversations unless it’s a very special occasion. The formal Korean word for book is used only for formal writings.
책으로 연애를 배웠어요
I’ve learned dating skills with books
To teach / To give a lesson
가르치다 is an informal Korean word for teaching. Any English words can be ‘가르치다’ if it’s about teaching or giving a lesson.
Many native Koreans are very often confused with 가르치다. The correct one is 가르치다 but they often misspelled or mispronounced it like 가리치다, 가르키다 or 가리키다. Well… technically they all are wrong and one of them has a totally different meaning (가리키다 : to point out). lol and 가리치다 and 가르키다 are not even real words lol. But you should know when Koreans say that, then often want to mean ‘to teach’ lol. Seriously, now I’m teaching wrong Korean words on purpose loool.
Teach me this!
선생님 means ‘teacher’ in Korean but is not perfectly the same as ‘teacher’ because 선생님 is an honorific Korean word. So, this Korean word already has something like ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ itself. 선생 means ‘teacher’ and 님 is a title of respect like ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’.
However, never use 선생 because it sounds very disrespectful even when you refer yourself or when you talk about your job. It doesn’t sound in almost all situations. Seriously, I have even seen some Koreans use this word when they talk to foreigners because foreigners don’t understand the nuance of 선생 and they really don’t want to be nice to others. And those foreigners learn it as a homonym of 선생님. Well it shocks me :/ Please, never ever use 선생 in any time.
팩트 : 선생님도 학교 가기 싫다
Fact : Teachers don’t like to go school either
Exam / Test
시험 is the most common Korean word for ‘exam’ or ‘test’ in Korean. Exam and test both are 시험 in Korean language.
When you pronounce 시험 fast, it sounds like ‘셤 [syeom]’. Actually that’s the real pronunciation of 시험 in real life. And many native Koreans write 셤 when they text to friends. But, that sounds too casual because it’s a sort of slang. I’ve never written 시험 as 셤 in my life, I’ve been many Koreans written it like that, though.
나태를 위한 시험이 있다면 제가 1등이에요
If there was an exam for laziness, I’m the first grade
How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives
학교가 너무 멀어요
(my) school is too far
I go to high school
뭐 좀 물어봐도 돼요?
Can I ask you something?
Do you have a question?
Are you a student?
I’m in the class
책 읽고 있어요
I’m reading a book
준 선생님은 한국어를 가르쳐요
Teacher Jun teaches Korean
준 선생님이 제 선생님이예요
Teacher Jun is my teacher
Was the exam difficult?
References For Korean Words
korean standard unabridged dictionary
- Emily M
- Chris M
- Carly Sisson
- Lev Izraelit
- Tuoc Phan