How to Say “Are You Korean?” in Korean – Formal and Informal Ways

Greetings! If you’re interested in learning how to ask someone if they are Korean in the Korean language, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re planning to visit Korea, making Korean friends, or simply curious about the language, we’ll guide you through both formal and informal ways to pose this question in Korean. We’ll also provide you with a few tips and examples to ensure you can confidently communicate in Korean. Let’s get started!

Formal Way: “Are You Korean?”

When speaking to someone you don’t know or someone older than you, it’s important to use a polite form of speech known as “jondaetmal.” In this context, the phrase “Are you Korean?” is translated as:

“한국 분이세요?” (Hanguk buniseyo?)

In this formal version, “한국” (Hanguk) means “Korea” and “분이세요?” (buniseyo?) is a polite question asking if the person is Korean. Remember that intonation is key in Korean, so make sure to raise your voice slightly at the end of the question.

Tips for Using the Formal Phrase:

  • Always use “buniseyo?” at the end of the sentence to show politeness.
  • Enunciate each syllable clearly when pronouncing the phrase.
  • If you’re unsure of someone’s nationality, it’s better to start with a polite form of speech.


Let’s look at a few examples of how you can use this formal phrase in conversations:

Example 1:
Person A: 저는 한국 사람이에요. (Jeoneun Hanguk saramieyo.)
Person B: 한국 분이세요? (Hanguk buniseyo?)
Person A: 네, 맞아요. (Ne, majayo.)

Example 2:
Person A: 실례지만, 한국 분이세요? (Silryeojiman, Hanguk buniseyo?)
Person B: 아니오, 저는 중국 사람입니다. (Anio, jeoneun Jungguk saramimnida.)

Informal Way: “Are You Korean?”

When speaking with friends, colleagues of the same age or younger individuals, it’s common to use informal language. The phrase “Are you Korean?” can be translated as:

“너는 한국인이야?” (Neoneun Hanguk-iniya?)

Here, “너는” (Neoneun) means “you” and “한국인이야?” (Hanguk-iniya?) is a more casual way to ask if someone is Korean.

Tips for Using the Informal Phrase:

  • Use this phrase only with people you are familiar with or those of the same age or younger.
  • Always maintain respect, even when using informal language.
  • Remember to slightly accentuate your voice at the end of the question.


Now, let’s explore a couple of examples showcasing the informal way of asking if someone is Korean:

Example 1:
Person A: 너는 한국 사람이야? (Neoneun Hanguk saramiya?)
Person B: 네, 맞아. (Ne, maja.)

Example 2:
Person A: 친구들이 다 한국인이야? (Chingudeuri da Hangukin-iya?)
Person B: 응, 그래. (Eung, geurae.)

Final Tips for Language Learning:

Learning a new language is an exciting journey, and picking up Korean is no exception. To enhance your language-learning experience, considering the following tips:

  • Practice speaking with native Korean speakers or language exchange partners.
  • Listen to Korean music, watch Korean movies or dramas, and immerse yourself in the language and culture.
  • Try using language learning apps or online resources that provide pronunciation exercises and vocabulary lists.

Congratulations on taking the first step towards mastering the Korean language! Remember to have fun along the way and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Practice regularly, and soon enough, saying “Are you Korean?” in Korean will be second nature to you. Good luck!

Leave comment