How to Say “Do You Speak Korean?” in Korean

Learning how to speak a foreign language can be both exciting and challenging. If you’re interested in speaking Korean, one of the first phrases you’ll want to know is “Do you speak Korean?” This phrase allows you to engage in conversations and connect with Korean speakers. In this guide, we’ll explore the formal and informal ways to ask this question in Korean, providing useful tips, examples, and even regional variations.

Formal Way to Ask “Do You Speak Korean?” in Korean

When speaking to someone in a formal or polite setting, such as with elders, strangers, or in professional environments, it is essential to use the appropriate level of politeness. In Korean, this is expressed using honorific speech. To ask, “Do you speak Korean?” formally, you can use the following phrase:

“한국어를 하십니까?”

(pronounced “Hangukeo-reul hasimnikka?”)

The phrase “한국어를 하십니까?” directly translates to “Do you speak Korean?” and can be used in formal situations to show respect to the person you’re addressing.

Informal Way to Ask “Do You Speak Korean?” in Korean

When you’re in a casual or informal setting, like with friends, peers, or people of the same age group, you can use a less formal expression to ask if someone speaks Korean. Here’s an informal way to ask the question:

“한국어 할 줄 알아?”

(pronounced “Hangugeo hal jul ara?”)

The phrase “한국어 할 줄 알아?” is a more relaxed way to ask, “Do you speak Korean?,” omitting the formal elements you would use in a polite conversation. It is important to note that this form of expression should only be used in informal situations.

Tips for Using the Phrase

When using the above phrases to ask someone if they speak Korean, keep these tips in mind:

  • Ensure proper pronunciation: Korean pronunciation is essential for effective communication. Pay attention to the romanizations provided to practice saying the phrases correctly.
  • Non-verbal communication: If you’re unsure about someone’s language skills, you can use gestures, facial expressions, or contextual clues to communicate your question.
  • Listening for cues: Even if someone doesn’t understand your question, they might respond in Korean. Listen carefully to their response, and if they reply positively, you’ll know they understand.
  • Be open to variation: Remember that regional variations and dialects exist in Korean. While the phrases mentioned above are widely understood, there might be slight differences in different parts of Korea.


Now, let’s take a look at a few examples that demonstrate how to use the phrases “Do you speak Korean?” in different situations:

  1. Formal Example:

    You (to a stranger): “한국어를 하십니까?”

    Stranger: “네, 제가 한국어를 할 줄 압니다.”

    (Translation: Yes, I can speak Korean.)

  2. Informal Example:

    You (to a friend): “한국어 할 줄 알아?”

    Friend: “응, 좀 할 수 있어.”

    (Translation: Yeah, I can speak it a bit.)

Remember, practice is key when learning any language, including Korean. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and keep engaging with native speakers to improve your language skills. Learning how to ask “Do you speak Korean?” is just the first step towards your Korean language journey!

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