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Korean beta course formality

Hi there! Not really sure if this is the place to discuss...But does the Korean course seem very overly formal to anyone else? I took an intensive Korean course in South Korea two years ago and we typically used the ~요 form for verbs. I always planned on learning the higher formality forms but I wanted to learn conversational Korean first, as I'm not often going to be speaking Korean in a business meeting...I expected to fly through the first few levels but found myself constantly mis-reading the verb conjugations :P As it is still in beta I thought I'd ask what other people think :)

December 13, 2017



it's always good to know, you say you wont be in a business meeting but even conversing with an older person or someone elses parents would require you to use formal conjugations and language, I would do this for most elderly strangers especially if you are a foreigner they will appreciate it and likely tell you to use less formal language

considering you took an intensive course I would expect you to understand but from what you write it seems you dont, there is a huge language barrier in that the language isnt just formality it's respect, even my gf talks to her grandmother and grandfather using formal language and there are also certain phrases and words that are permanently stuck in formal mode, eg, 안녕하세요, 안녕히 주무세요, it's not like it's hard to conjugate, infact it's easier which is why most books and learning utensils start with formal, imo it should not be changed at all as it helps people identify verb stems when they first start out


One of the current shortcomings of the course (which hopefully will be amended before it comes out of Beta) is lack of consistency of the degree of formality expected, or a failure to indicate what is desired in the answer. I applaud the developers for attempting to familiarize the learners with all levels of formality, but think the questions / exercises should be presented in such a way as to depict a social situation,and hence the level of formality that is appropriate. Thank you for this post, and I think it will help if we continue to flag / report the translations that are not accepted simply due to the formality conjugation ( unless, of course, some context is provided to make the choice clear.


Not knowing the first thing about Korean when I started (aside from the fact they write in syllabic blocks) I didn't have a problem with it. Though to be fair, I have no idea what formality level any of it is...


Yeah that's exactly what I thought when I kinda took a look on the course. I think every sentences they got here are too formal to use in daily life. You would find them useful if you have a business meeting or something with Koreans, but I don't think you'd need to learn Korean for them because those Koreans are likely to speak English during the meetings.

Korean has several levels of formality. There are actually more than three levels, but, for example, 안녕하십니까 안녕하세요 안녕 Three of these are translated to "Hello" in English, but each of them are used in different situations.

안녕하십니까 is called 합쇼체 and is likely to be used in working place with strict rules or manners such as army, business meetings, or etc. It shows a respect and you kinda lower yourself. It's okay to use this in daily life, but Koreans might find you uncomfortable or they might think that you just got out of a duty or something. Usually ends with ~니다, ~까 or ~시오.

안녕하세요 is called 해요체 and is more common than 안녕하십니까. it can be used in any situations unless you are required to have more manners than usual. It shows a respect, but you don't lower yourself. Usually ends with ~요.

안녕 is informal. Can be used when you are with your friends. Also can be used among the people who are younger than you, but you'd better ask them if it's okay for them to do so.

I think 해요체 would be the best to be used in these Korean courses because it's both formal and common way to talk. And it's easy to move on to informal ways of talking. If they are gonna stick with 합쇼체, I think they have to mention how formal it is at least?

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