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

Welcome to our guide on how to say “Do you speak Korean?” in Korean! Whether you’re planning on traveling to Korea or simply want to connect with Korean speakers, this phrase is a great conversation starter. In this guide, we will cover both formal and informal ways of asking this question, highlighting any regional variations if necessary. So, let’s dive right in!

Formal Way: “Do You Speak Korean?”

In formal situations, such as when addressing older people, authority figures, or strangers, it is important to use the most respectful language. To ask “Do you speak Korean?” formally, you can use the following phrase:

한국어를 할 수 있으신가요? (Hangugeo-reul hal su issseungayo?)

This phrase consists of three parts: “한국어를” (Hangugeo-reul) means “Korean,” “할 수 있” (hal su iss) means “to be able to do,” and “으신가요” (seungayo) is a formal question ending. Together, they form the polite and respectful question “Do you speak Korean?”


  1. When pronouncing the phrase, pay attention to the subtle pronunciation differences among vowels and consonants. The Romanization provided here is just an approximation.
  2. Gesture appropriately, using polite body language and maintaining eye contact, to convey respect while asking the question.


1. You can use this question in formal situations such as:

– Meeting someone for the first time.

– Asking for directions from an elderly person.

2. Practice the phrase and try saying it out loud:

– Excuse me, do you speak Korean? (Hangugeo-reul hal su issseungayo?)

– Pardon me, can you understand Korean? (Hangugeo-reul arae hal su issseungayo?)

Informal Way: “Do You Speak Korean?”

When speaking to a friend, someone of similar age, or a casual acquaintance, you can use a more relaxed and informal way of asking “Do you speak Korean?”. The following phrase is commonly used in informal settings:

한국어 할 줄 알아? (Hangugeo hal jul ara?)

This phrase is much simpler than the formal version, but it still conveys the same meaning. The phrase consists of “한국어” (Hangugeo) meaning “Korean,” “할 줄” (hal jul) meaning “to know how to do,” and “알아?” (ara) meaning “you know?” By using this phrase, you can connect with Korean speakers in a casual and friendly way.


  1. Remember to adjust your speaking style and level of formality according to the relationship and context.
  2. Use appropriate casual body language to match the informality of the question.


1. You can use this question in informal situations such as:

– Starting a conversation with a friend who speaks Korean.

– Making small talk with locals at a cafe or social event.

2. Practice the phrase and try saying it out loud:

– Hey, do you speak Korean? (Hangugeo hal jul ara?)

– Do you know how to speak Korean? (Hangugeo hal jul ara?)


Learning how to say “Do you speak Korean?” in both formal and informal ways is a valuable step in your journey to connect with Korean speakers. Whether you’re using the respectful and polite formal phrase, or the friendly and casual informal phrase, you can initiate conversations and build bridges with people who speak Korean. Remember to always be respectful and adjust your language based on the situation.

So, go ahead and practice these phrases, embrace Korean culture, and enjoy your journey of language learning!

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