What is the Korean age system?

Koreans count their age different than other Western countries.

When a baby is born in Korea, she is already one year old because we count the pre-born time(9 months)  as 1 year. And when a new year starts, she/he turns TWO years old. Therefore if a baby was born in December, she/he will be two years old in a month in the Korean age, but she is only a ONE month old baby.  We call this full age system as . We use Korean age in our normal lives, but we use 만 나이 for papers.

I know it is weird age system we have, but they like this system because the age difference is very important to Koreans. If you are older than someone, the young one will use the honorific speech to you and they have to respect you more.

When I go back to Korea, I am older. When I come back to America, I am younger. So I like 만 나이 than 한국 나이 because I don’t want to be old!

Useful sentences>
만으로 나이(연세)가 어떻게 되세요? How old are you(is she) in the full age system?
저는 올해 한국 나이로 40이에요. I am 40 this year in the Korean age system.
한국 나이가 만 나이보다 많아요.  The Korean age system is a lot older than the full age system.

Do Koreans eat dogs?

Today I want to talk about if Koreans eat dog meat because I have been asked this question a lot foreign friends. It is a sensitive topic, but I want you to tell the truth.

In the past, Korea was very poor, so a lot of people died from hunger. Dog meat was the easiest and cheapest meat that we could get, so many people ate dog meat. However recently we can get beef and pork very easily, so less people eat dog meat. In addition, more Koreans have pets now, so they consider dogs as their family not food.

But there are some people-mostly old people- still like dog meat. They think it is delicious and good for health. Therefore they eat dog meat or soup on Bok-nal(the hottest day).




추석 Chuseok – Full moon holiday

image courtesy of http://m.post.naver.com/my.nhn?memberNo=10005291


추석(Chuseok) is one of the most important holidays for Korean along with 설날(Seollal). The word Chuseok means ‘a Fall night’ which expresses ‘A day that has the brightest moon in  Fall’. Chuseok is derived from Chinese letters, and the Korean word for Chuseok is 한가위(Han-gahWe). Han-gahwe means ‘The center of the month’ because Han-gahwe is August 15th on the Lunar Calendar. It is similar to Thanksgiving for Koreans.

It is a national holiday which everyone take 3 days off. The holiday starts a day before Han-gahwe and ends a day after Han-gahwe because families have to prepare food for a ceremony in early morning on the holiday.

For food, they make a special rice cake for this holiday which is Songpyoun. Songpyoun is a rice cake that is steamed with pine leaves, and it looks like a half moon. Why does it look like a half moon even thought they celebrate for a full moon? Old Koreans hoped their lives would be filled with happiness like a full moon(보름달) from the half moon after the holiday, not like the full moon becomes smaller after the holiday.

At night, Koreans pray to a full moon for their happiness and health. In the past, women went out with their female family members or neighbors dancing a special dance for Han-gahwe. It is called 강강술래(Gahng Gahng Soollae). Unfortunately we don’t see it often in big cities recently.

If you have Korean friends, tell them “Happy Chuseok!”.  즐거운 추석 보내세요! 즐거운 한가위 보내세요!

Words for this holiday>

추석 Chuseok
한가위 Han-gahwe
송편 Songpyoun
보름달 full moon
강강술래 Gahng-Gahng Soollae)
즐거운 추석 보내세요!  Happy Chuseok!
즐거운 한가위 보내세요!  Happy Han-gahwe!

You can listen to the audio files by clicking here. 

미역(seaweed) in Korean culture

Koreans eat ‘미역국(seaweed soup)’ on their birthdays. This custom derives from when moms have their babies, they eat 미역국 to supplement iron. They also have some special food for their birthday such as 불고기(Bulgogi), 잡채(Japchae) with a birthday cake for dessert.

Do you know how to sing the birthday song in Korean? Click here to learn the birthday song in Korean.

Koreans love 미역(seaweed), however there is a myth that if you eat 미역국 before a test, you will fail the exam. Why? 미역(seaweed) is very slippery, and there is an adjective for ‘slippery 미끄러지다’ which is the same meaning as ‘fail 시험에 떨어지다’. So when someone asks “또 미역국 먹었어?”, it means “Did you fail the exam again?”

I was the person who believed that myth when I was in middle school. My birthday was always in the middle of mid-term, so I told my mom not to make 미역국 on my birthday. Do I believe it now? I am a grown-up person! 🙂

I love 미역 and 미역국, it is easy to cook and delicious! And don’t get confused 미역 and(dried seaweed) which is salty side dish.

미역 seaweed


What is Kakaotalk? 카카오톡이 뭐예요?

카카오톡 (Kakaotalk) is a chatting app that most Koreans use, so Koreans often say “카카오톡 주세요.” (please send me a Kakaotalk message.) Sometimes we also say 카톡 which is a short from for 카카오톡.

You can send messages or pictures and you can even make a free video phone call  through 카카오톡.

  • 카톡 있어요? Do you have Kakaotalk? (click here to learn 있어요/없어요)
  • 카톡 주세요. Please send me a Kakaotalk message.
  • 카톡으로 보내 주세요. Please send it through Kakaotalk.
  • 카톡으로 얘기할까요? Shall we talk with Kakaotalk? (click here to learn -을까요?)
  • 지금 카톡할 수 없어요. I cannot use Kakaotalk now. (click here to learn -을 수 있다/없다)


What is ㅋㅋ or ㅎㅎ? 

What is ㅋㅋ in Korean? 

It is a chatting word which means “laugh” or “funny”. One of the laughing sounds in Korean is 크크, so we just write that without vowels. There is also ㅎㅎ, which is 하하.

 So if you see something funny, you can leave ㅋㅋ or ㅎㅎ. 

Country names in Korean – Africa

Africa  아프리카

 Ghana 가나
 Gabon 가봉
 Gambia 감비아
 Guinea 기니
 Guinea Bissau 기니비사우
 Namibia 나미비아
 Nigeria 나이지리아
 Republic of  South Africa 남아프리카 공화국
 Niger 니제르
 Liberia 라이베리아
 Lesotho 레소토
 Rwanda 르완다
 Libya 리비아
 Madagascar 마다가스카르
 Malawi 말라위
 Mali 말리
 Morocco 모로코
 Mauritius 모리셔스
 Mauritanie 모리타니
 Mozambique 모잠비크
 Benin 베냉
 Botswana 보츠와나
 Burundi 부룬디
 Burkina Faso 부르키나파소
 Sao Tome and Principe 상투메프린시페
 Senegal 세네갈
 Seychelles 세이셸
 Somalia 소말리아
 Sudan 수단
 Swaziland 스와질란드
 Sierra Leone 시에라리온
 Algerie 알제리
 Angola 앙골라
 Eritrea 에리트레아
 Ethiopia 에티오피아
 Uganda 우간다
 Egypt 이집트
 Zambia 잠비아
 Equatorial Guinea 적도기니
 Central African Republic 중앙 아프리카 공화국
 Djibouti 지부티
 Zimbabwe 짐바브웨
 Chad 차드
 Cameroon 카메룬
 Cabo Verde 카보베르데
 Kenya 케냐
 Comoros 코모로
 Cote d’lvoire 코트디부아르
 Republic of  Congo 콩고 공화국
 Democratic Republic of Congo 콩고 민주 공화국
 Tanzania 탄자니아
 Togo 토고
 Tunisie 튀니지

You can listen to audio files by clicking here.

Country names in Korean – America

America – 아메리카

 North America  – 북아메리카

South America –  남아메리카


 Guyana 가이아나
 Guatemala 과테말라
 Grenada 그레나다
 Nicaragua 니카라과
 Dominican Republic 도미니카 공화국
 Cammon Wealth of Dominica 도미니카 연방
 Mexico 멕시코
 United States of America 미국
 Barbados 바베이도스
 Bahamas 바하마
 Venezuela 베네수엘라
 Belize 벨리즈
 Bolivia 볼리비아
 Brazil 브라질
 Saint Lucia 세인트루시아
 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 세인트빈센트 그레나딘
 St. Christopher and Nevis 세인트크리스토퍼 네비스
 Surinam 수리남
 Argentina 아르헨티나
 Haiti 아이티
 Antigua and Barbuda 앤티가 바부다
 Ecuador 에콰도르
 El Salvador 엘살바도르
 Honduras 온두라스
 Uruguay 우루과이
 Jameica 자메이카
 Chile 칠레
 Canada 캐나다
 Costa Rica 코스타리카
 Colombia 콜롬비아
 Cuba 쿠바
 Trinidad and Tobago 트리니다드토바고
 Panama 파나마
 Paraguay 파라과이
 Peru 페루


You can listen to audio files by clicking here.

Country names in Korean – Europe

Europe  유럽


 Greece 그리스
 Netherlands 네덜란드
 Norway 노르웨이
 Denmark 덴마크
 Germany 독일
 Latvia 라트비아
 Russia 러시아
 Rumania 루마니아
 Luxembourg 룩셈부르크
 Lituania 리투아니아
 Liechtenstein 리히텐슈타인
 Macedonia 마케도니아
 Monaco 모나코
 Moldova 몰도바
 Malta 몰타
 Vatican 바티칸
 Belgium 벨기에
 Belorus 벨로루시
 Bosnia Herzegovina 보스니아 헤르체고비나
 Bulgaria 불가리아
 San Marino 산마리노
 Sweden 스웨덴
 Switzerland 스위스
 Spain 스페인
 Slovakia 슬로바키아
 Slovenia 슬로베니아
 Iceland 아이슬란드
 Ireland 아일랜드
 Aandorra 안도라
 Albania 알바니아
 Estonia 에스토니아
 United Kingdom 영국
 Austria 오스트리아
 Ukraina 우크라이나
 Yugoslavia 유고슬라비아
 Italy 이탈리아
 Czech 체코
Croaita 크로아티아
 Partugal 포르투갈
 Poland 폴란드
 France  프랑스
 Finland 핀란드
 Hungary 헝가리


You can listen to audio files by clicking here.

Country names in Korean – Oceania

Oceania  오세아니아

 Nauru 나우루
 New zealand 뉴질랜드
 Marshall 마셜
 Micronesia 미크로네시아
 Vanuatu 바누아투
 Western Samoa 서사모아
 Solomon Islands 솔로몬
 Austrailia 오스트레일리아
 Kiribati 키리바시
 Tonga 통가
 Tuvalu 투발루
 Papua New Guinea 파푸아뉴기니
 Palau 팔라우
 Fiji 피지


You can listen to audio files by clicking here.