Saying or writing “hello” in Korean

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In response to the one of the higher referrals to my site via the search phrase: “thank you in Korean”, I thought I’d write a post about how to say another simple phrase “hello.” It appears lots of travelers want to know how to at least start a conversation with a Korean.

Spelled out in an English friendly manner, you say hello in a casual way by saying “Ahn-young”. This version of Hello in Korean is used between friends and family. It’s definitely not something you want to say to someone you just met.

In the more formal manner which most people use because they don’t know each other, you have to say a longer version of it “Ahn-young-ha-seh-yo.” (click on the word for the audio version of hello in Korean) The latter part places the formal ending to the phrase so you can use this with strangers or when you meet someone for the first time. There’s a more formal way of saying it, but I’ll leave that up to people who are interested enough to contact me. It can get more complicated. It’s for VERY formal situations like meeting a higher level official.


Filed under Advice, Communications, Education, Globalization, Korea life, Learning Korean

81 responses to “Saying or writing “hello” in Korean

  1. Alan

    I am not a native speaker of Korean, and excuse me but I think you have their hello expression backwards – I am told by my Korean friends that the “hah-say-yo” is the “hello” part of the greeting, while the “ahn-nyung” precursor is for respect, just like the Usted instead of tu form in Spanish. An example their “Goodbye” is very similar to “Hello” with the exact same “Ahn-nyung” precursor for full respect but the very different “He-Ga-se-Yo”, meaning literally “now go away”.

    My friends toss out their “hah-se-yo” greeting just as we English toss out our “hi” or “hey” as their “hello”.



  2. Thanks for the comment Alan, but you may want to check with your Korean friends again. It’s actually not backwards.

    If you pay attention to how younger children speak to one another, they will commonly say “Ahn-nyung” as an informal way of saying “hello.” “Hah-say-yo” basically means “to do” and semantically can be used in different situations like “go ahead and do it.” If you add “geh-seh-yo” to “ahn-nyung”, it means “good-bye” to someone who is staying in one place because they are “geh-seh”‘ing which is to stay put. Additionally, “gah-seh-yo” added to “ahn-nyung” means “good-bye” to someone who is departing.

    I like the way you compare Spanish to the language, but they are definitely different and thus, the correction is false not just because they are from different roots. You might be able to compare the phrase “ahn-nyung” more closely with “aloha” in Hawaiian which can be used also as good-bye in addition to hello. Except, the difference here is that you have to add different endings to “ahn-nyung” to change the meaning when moving to the formal level of addressing people. Younger Koreans would not, however, throw the endings on.

  3. Emma

    I was just wondering if when saying hello to someone, if you put in their name after ahn-nyung-hah-say-yo. (Like, for example, saying ‘hello John’ through e-mail would be ‘Ahn-nyung-hah-say-yo John’)

  4. Sure. It’s o.k. both with the person’s name before and after. I think it’s become common for people to do it both ways. Good question though…

  5. Andrea

    I was wondering how do you write:
    Hello i’m Andrea in korean.
    I think that the korean language is very interesting and wanted to see how my name is wrritten in korean.
    Thanks in advance!

  6. Hi Andrea,

    It would be:

    안녕하세요 (hello) 제 이름은 (my name is) 앤드리아 (Andrea) 에요(normal ending to phrases – not sure what the ending is called in terms of linguistics).

    Hope that was helpful.

    • Andy

      I’m not sure about Korean, but in many other languages a symbol or phrase that ends a statement or denotes something like subject, verb, object, or whatever else is called a particle. For example, adding “ma” in Chinese or “ka” in Japanese to denote a question — one would just call these the ma/ka particles or question particles.

    • regine

      hi.. im interested to know how to write regine orbes in korean… well you please help me.. thank you,,

    • Rinalyn

      ummm.. can you do that also with my name? Just wanted to see also in korean!
      Hello my name is Rina!

  7. Nancy

    Hi! Could you please confirm if “Annyong ha shimnikka” is another way of saying hello? If yes, how is this different from “ahnyoung hasehyo”?

  8. Yes, it its…the “…nikka” part makes it even MORE formal than the “…yo” ending to the word. There’s a couple permutations of “thanks”, but the one you have is very good & fine. Makes you sound like you’re being VERY polite when saying thanks.

  9. Charmaine

    just like Andrea,
    I would like to know how to write,
    Hello, my name is Charmaine in korean.

  10. Hello, my name is Charmaine in korean.

    안녕하세요 (hello) 제 이름은 (my name is) 샤매인 (Shah-may-een) 에요

    Koreans like to change the “Sha” into basically “Shyah”. If it was phonetically correct, it would be closer to “샬” but Koreans would think this is unusual. So, the above Korean (hangul) spelling is more common.

  11. sajeel

    i was wondering isnt saying goodbye something like “kum say hum ni da”??

  12. sajeel

    i wasl also wondu ering how you say “sajeel” in korean?

  13. “Kam sah ham ni da” is “Thank you” in Korean.

    If you pronounce Sajeel “Sah-jeel” in English, you would write 사질 in Korean.

  14. I recognize “Ahn-young” from the late, great TV show “Arrested Development.” The family thought it was the boy’s name, not a greeting.

    • Reagan

      Sorry if someone has already answered, as this was posted quite awhile ago. They named him Anyong, because that was the only thing he said. Anyong is casual greeting in Korea. Again, sorry if you’ve been answered already

  15. Don

    I’m working with a Korean team and I’ve been able to visit Seoul twice in the last three months. Both trips were a wonderful experience. I’d also like to see how my name (Don and Donald Louis) would look in Korean. Thank you for your help.


  16. Koreans would spell it “돈” most likely which would sound more like “Doe-eun” with the long “o” sound. If it was exactly the sound it should be, it would or should look more like “단” as in “dawn.” Donald Louis would be “돈을드” (Doe-eun Eul Deu) “루이스” (Loo ee seu). Again, if I had it my way, it would be “단을드” “루으쓰”…

    Just curious, but what sort of Korean team? Do they speak in English with you?

  17. Don

    The people I work with are a sales and marketing team for a Korean company that is part of a US based business group. Most of the team has excelent english skills. Many of the people on the team with less robust english skills are working very hard to speak in english and there are a few situations where I use and in house interpreter. This is my first job with international responsibilities and working with our Korean team has been wonderful experience.

  18. Priscilla

    Hey! i passed by this web! i find it kind of useful (: hehe..can u tell me how to write my name in KOREAN? my name :Priscilla


  19. Priscilla

    Priscilla ..i meant 😀 that smiley took away my ‘P’!

  20. 프리씨라 – it’s like “Peh-ree-see-lah.” If you want it to end like “uh” vs. “ah”, you would change the last character from 라 to 러.

  21. shan

    hiya im plannig a trip to seoul and busan with my family next month and like to know how would you say ‘how much is this?’ when im buying stuff and ‘bill please’ when in the restaurant?


  22. how much = “uhr-mah-yo?”

    how much is this = “ee-guh uhr-mah-yo?”

    bill please = “geh-sahn-yo”

    Have fun on your trip!

  23. Joyce

    i’m wondering too how to say hello my name is joyce in korean?
    thx heaps:D

  24. 안녕하세요 (hello) 제 이름은 (my name is) 조이스 (Jo-ee-seuh) 에요

  25. hello I’m just wondering how to write my name in Korean…can you help me?

  26. jam

    hi…im just wondering just like Charmaine && Andrea…
    how to write my name in korean / how to pronounce it!!…
    thank you^^…
    im jam 14 years of age && i want to learn how to speakin korean…

  27. Ivory

    hi! can you help me?
    what is my korean name? and how to write?
    Ivory Claire A. Esteban


  28. Ivory

    hi! can you help me?
    what is my Korean name? and how to write?
    I’m Ivory Claire A. Esteban


  29. Melissa

    I’ve been wanted to learn Korean so bad and I watch a lot of Korean movies.
    Anyways how you say this in Korean?

    How are you?
    Take care.
    How’s your day?
    Good Morning

  30. Aryssa

    Hey! i was just wondering how you can say hello my name is Aryssa in korean. Thannks!

  31. Not sure how you pronounce “Renalyn.” If it’s what I think it is, I’d say you can write your name as: 래나린…cheers!

  32. Ivory Claire A. Esteban…

    Ivory = 아이보리
    Claire = 크래일
    Estaban = 애쓰타반

  33. Charmaine = 샬매인
    Andrea = 앤드리아

  34. Dirk

    Hello!! I was wondering if you know of a free site or some free info on learning the whole thing!! I was thinking Rosetta Stone but being a family of 5 and the only money maker makes it IMPOSABLE to afford!! I’m taking Tae Kwon Do and my master speeks a little but our Grand Master is Full blooded Korean! I would like to show him respect by learning Korean!! Not just a little I want it all!! LOL.
    Thanks for any help you can give me!! If needed I can give you my email just not on a post!


  35. Just do a google on “learning Korean” and you’ll get great resources like:

    There are many more…just google them with phrases like “Korean language,” “Learning Korean easily,” “Korean lessons,” etc.

  36. Hi, I find this website quite useful.

    I was wondering if Korean people could pronounce the ‘F’.
    Because in a lot of dramas they use the ‘P’ instead of the ‘F’.
    So… How would Korean people pronounce my name, Fong?
    And how do you write Fong in Hangul?

    Thanks a lot, this is a question I’ve been stuck with for a while.

  37. ahn-nyung.,i was wondering how you can say and pronounce my name “irish” in korean..thx.

  38. 아이리셔 (ah-ee-ree-shyuh)
    아이르셔 (ah-ee-reh-shyuh)

  39. Mark


    I think it is wonderful that you take the time to help show the korea language and to help the people who contact you, however, having just returned from S. Korea I am not suprised, I went to visit friends who are part of the S. Korean national sports team, I had the most wonderful time and experiance, the culture and nature of the people there is great, the nature is outstanding, I think I fell in love with Korea, I will definatly go back, this time I will go back with some education in the Korean Language.

    Take care and keep up the great blog, you are “the realsouthkorean” anybody reading this, you really should visit if you ever get the chance, dont worry about the language barrier 🙂

    Kam sah ham ni da
    ps how would you write my name?

  40. It could be possibly written a couple of ways:

    말크 (Mar-keuh)
    마르크 (Mah-reuh-keuh)

    Thanks for the nice comments 말크.

  41. how do you say ” this is funny” in korean

  42. sabrina

    i was wondering how you spell sabrina in korean..??
    i really want to kow..!!

  43. zhengyi

    hi there!


    may i know how do you pronounce and write: Hello, I am zhengyi, nice to meet you?
    thank you so so much!!


  44. Weiling

    Your site seems to help alot..
    My sister learns korean but she only knows how to read it but doesn’t know what it means,so
    i was wondering whether you could help me translate:
    1. Hello,My name is Chan Weiling .
    2.I miss you

    THKS !!!

  45. rochelle gae

    hi there!


    just like Charmaine,
    I would like to know how to write,
    Hello, my name is Rochelle Gae in korean.

  46. aika marie


    i would like to know how to write…………
    ‘hi I’m aika marie’ and ‘rosbert serona jr.’

    thank you very much!!!!!!

  47. Rochelle

    I wanna know how to write Rochelle Calabiao in korean.
    Please and thank you

  48. hei kan dere hjelp meg og lære koreansk?????

    • Reagan

      I’m also learning Korean. This website has helped me quite a bit. It may seem childish at first, but it really is the way to go if you really want to learn Korean. That if you’re not sure. If you’re serious about learning it, yuo should use Rosetta Stone. It’s expensive, but worth your money.

  49. Katrina

    how do you say that was funny in korean?!? 😛

  50. how to write hello , my name is amisha in korea ?

  51. aoi

    how to write aoi and syira in korea ?

  52. aoi

    hello,how to write aoi and syira in korea ?

  53. 앤드리아 Fian, 안녕하세요 i’ve been learning korean for a month. and still a
    beginner. the reason i learned korean was becuz i love korean series and
    singers, i wanted to understand wht they were saying. korean is cool
    i’ve been there , cold and nice. u guys can try this website

    go mab soom ni da ^^

  54. kari ♥♥

    I am very much fascinated with other countries and i would like to know if you
    know the adress for dsp entertainment because i am a fan of ss501 and i am dying to send them a letter of thanks.please please !!!! find out for me!!

    thank you very much ,kam-sah-ni-da!!
    p.s i have recently found out that the adress in korea is different to usa’s. please respond ,thank you!!

  55. WeiNa

    Can you help me translate my name?
    1. Wei Na
    2. Chit Fong


  56. hai i want to learn korean

  57. ivory

    how you can say and pronounce my name “ivory claire esteban” in korean.. tnx tnx 🙂

  58. tin-micah

    i really like korean lannguage, and korea is one of my dream place..

    hmm.. i have a long name can you help me to translate it in korean language..
    my name is Mariah Christine Micah
    can you? thank you!

  59. im not a korean but i live there in a 4 years fo study in grade 6. and korea is a nice country

  60. i love living in korea .my favorite word is sarang hae…

  61. anyong hasaeyo chunun michelle lee ragho hamnida.hehehhekekekek

  62. nicole

    hi.. how do you write the name “CAZIA” in korean? thanks 🙂

  63. kevin jones abarquez

    well,.that’s nice!i wonder why most of the people likes korean.especially the filipino people’;.,=)how do you write kevin in korean?

  64. annyeonghaseyo !!! :))

    i really want to know what’s my korean name and how to write it in korean letters or hangul letters …

  65. annyeonghaseyo !!! :))

    chunun shameerah hassan hamnida …
    i really want to know my korean name and how to write it in korean letters or hangul letters …
    can you please help me?

  66. stella

    I just wanted to say that I think you are doing a great job with this site.
    I met a guy from korea in my last holidays and he taught me a word that means hello and goodbye at the same, is this is 안녕하세요 ?
    And how do I write my name (stella) in korean writing?

    Thanks for your help!

  67. President Obama said “Ahn-nyung” on NPR this morning!

  68. Zhi Yin

    Hi!!:) how do I write my name ( Zhi Yin ) in korean writing?

  69. Hello “Therealsouthkorea”…
    I studied the Korean language under rather primitive conditions — I served with the ROK Tiger Div. in the Vietnam War. I lived with them, went on combat patrols with them, volunteered in pacification missions with them and occasionaly drank hot beer (OB), Some say being in the daily envioronment of a group is the best way to learn since you can associate actions with words. Two weeks ago, I was recommended for my 7th dan in taekwondo at Kukkiwon and speak Korean commands in the dojang and have my students learn elementary commands, counting, etc. But it drives me nuts to hear high-ranking belts pronounce our art/sport “TIE’ KWONDO rather than the soft emphasis on Tae, the proper use. Also, does “yobosayo” still mean “hello?”
    ounting, etc,.But it drives me goofy sometimes when I hear a high

  70. Regine

    anNye0ng haseyo ^^
    i’m just Confuse of writing and pronouncing my name in korean .. my name is Regine Estudillo . pLs help me ..
    kamsahamnida :))

  71. Regine

    help me write my name in hangul . thanks :))
    Regine Estudillo. also write it in romanization.

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