Korean Words for Study
Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun and welcome to another tutorial for Korean words. Whoever it is, if you are reading this, you must be studying (of course lol). I want to say you are an amazing person because no one forces you but you searched Korean language stuff and found this website for your self-study. I really admire your passion for learning. Anyway, so, you are studying right now. So, why don’t you study the essencial core Korean words about studying in Korean?
배우다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to learn’. 배우다 is not much different than ‘learn’ in English. Native Koreans use ‘배우다 (learn)’ instead of ‘공부하다 (study)’ specially when they say their major that they are currently studying.
저는 한국어를 배워요
I’m learning Korean
쓰다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to write’ or ‘to write down’.
Yes… another 쓰다, I don’t even remember how many 쓰다 homonyms we’ve learned in this course. This Korean word means ‘to write’, same spelled to other 쓰다s but has a different meaning. Other 쓰다s mean ‘to be bitter’, ‘to use’ and ‘to wear (something on head)’.
쓰다 has subtle differences comparing to ‘write’ in English. 쓰다 can’t be used to say ‘write a record or a log’ or ‘write someone’. The important thing you must know about 쓰다 is that Koreans use 쓰다 very commonly when they read a sign or quote a text line. For example, if you read some sign, for example, ‘nuclear butt’, then you probably say ‘it says nuclear butt‘. However, in Korean, we use 쓰다 (write), so it would be ‘원자력 엉덩이라고 쓰여있다 (it’s written as nuclear butt)
원자력 엉덩이라고 써요
Write ‘nuclear butt’
공부하다 is an informal Korean word for studying. 공부하다 is super different than ‘study’ in English. 공부하다 only means ‘the action of learning or training especially with text or lectures’. It doesn’t mean research or academic studies.
Sometimes, native Koreans uses it for experiences also like 인생 공부 (lesson for being wise, lesson from a mistake)
아이들은 유치원에서 물리학을 공부해요
Kids study physics at kindergarten
Doing something hard [adverb]
열심히 is an informal Korean word for ‘doing something hard’ or ‘trying your best to do something’. 열심히 is an adverb, so you have to use it to describe a verb like ‘study hard’. 열심히 is normally used with ‘work’, ‘labor’, ‘study’.
You should remember this word doesn’t mean ‘hard’. It’s ‘doing something hard’. It’s a very positive Korean word like making efforts to do something.
열심히 가만히 있어야지
I’m going to do nothing hard
To be difficult
어렵다 can be translated as ‘to be difficult’ and ‘to be hard’ in English. However, it’s related to difficulty only.
Technically, 어렵다 should be good for formal situations and informal situations both. However, native Koreans tend to avoid to use 어렵다 in formal situations.
이거 너무 어려워요. 죽여줘…
This is too hard. Kill me…
To be easy
쉽다 means ‘to be easy’ in Korean. 쉽다 is the opposite word 어렵다. So, it’s normally used to describe difficulty only. It doesn’t mean ‘to be comfortable’.
The Korean word 쉽다 often happens to have a negative nuance. For example, if you say ‘쉬운 인생 (easy life)’. It doesn’t sound positive. You can use it to insult others.
If you say ‘easy’ or ‘be easy’ in Korean. It doesn’t mean anything.
Native Koreans sometimes say ‘쉽게 쉽게 해 (do easy and easy)’. It seems like a nice phrase, but what it really means ‘compromise and don’t make trouble’ or ‘don’t make things complicated yourself’
하! 쉽네요! 저는 천재에요!
Ha! It’s easy! I’m a genius!
To be right / To be correct
맞다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be right’ and ‘ to be correct’. But, 맞다 doesn’t describes ‘something is righteous’. It means you can’t use 맞다 to say ‘do the right thing’. 맞다 is natural only when you talk about some facts and if it’s correct or not / reasonable or not.
Sometimes 맞다 doesn’t only describes something is right or correct. You can find more same spelled Korean words (homonyms) with 맞다. They mean ‘to be hit’, ‘to be against’, ‘to encounter new things’, ‘to get a shot’.
In a Korean language mindset, 맞다 as ‘to be hit’ or 맞다 as ‘to be correct’ is very similar. Imagine your arrow flies to the target and hits. And imagine your arrow was actually your answer or speech.
I’m right and…
To be wrong / To be incorrect
틀리다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to be wrong’ or ‘to be incorrect’. However, it’s more similar to ‘to be incorrect’. It’s the exact opposite Korean word of 맞다. It doesn’t describe something or someone is not righteous. Naitve Koreans use it mostly to say if a fact is correct or not.
You are wrong, Chacha
알다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to know’. Native Koreans use it also as ‘to get’, ‘to understand’, ‘to be familiar with’. It’s a very complicated Korean word to fully understand but you can use it without any troubles even with small mistakes.
The Korean word 알다 is very important than you expect because of how native Koreans speak. When they ask other if they know how to do something, they mostly use 알다. It’s like this ‘기타 칠 줄 알아요? (do you know how to play guitar?)’. They barely use ‘할 수 있다 (can)’ because 할 수 있다 sounds a bit unclear in Korean language for asking if someone knows how to do something)
A: 준씨는 다른 거 뭐 할줄 알아요?
What else can you do? Jun?
B: 저는 걸을 줄 알아요
I know how to walk
To not know
모르다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to not know’. Yes, Korean language has a word that you can use when you don’t know something. Naitve Koreans barely use the negative form of ‘알다 ([alda] : to know)’. It’s one of biggest differences between Korean and European languages.
Native Koreans use this word very often conciously when they are not so sure about something like ‘몰라? 2만원 쯤 할껄? (I don’t know, I guess it’s about 20000 won). But, it’s really not that they don’t know. Mostly they know the almost correct answer for your question but they use it when they are not 100% sure.
저는 숨 쉬는 법을 몰라요
I don’t know how to breathe
How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives
저는 한국어를 배우고 있어요
I’m learning Korean
저는 제 이름을 한국어로 쓸 수 있어요
I can write my name in Korean
저는 이제 열심히 공부할거예요
I’m going to study hard from now on
저는 매일 공부해요
I study everyday
이 문장이 너무 어려워요
This sentence is too hard
Swimming is easy
You’re right, Chacha
이 문제를 틀렸어요
You answered wrong this question
저 이 노래 알아요
I know this song
어떻게 말해야될지 모르겠어요
I don’t know how to say
References For Korean Words
korean standard unabridged dictionary
- Emily M
- Chris M
- Carly Sisson
- Lev Izraelit
- Tuoc Phan