The Korean language is all about age since because the Korean culture is based on Confucianism. This is something that you have to keep in mind when speaking to a Korean person, as you need to make sure that you are using the proper form of speech – either the Honorific, Formal or the Informal – so that you do not insult anyone. You therefore need to know how to say hello in Korean in each of these three ways.
Watch this video, taken from our Beginner Level “Greetings” lesson to learn how to say hello in Korean in the informal way.
When you are saying ‘hello’ to someone in Korean who is older than you or to someone who you do not know, you must use the Honorific or the Formal form of speech. However, when you are saying ‘hello’ to someone in Korean who is younger than you or to someone that you already know and are comfortable with, you can use the Informal way of speaking.
The video clip above teaches how to say hello in Korean in the Informal way (“anyong”), so you can say this to anyone who is younger than you. If you have a Korean friend who is slightly older than you, you would say hello this way. However, if you had a friend who was four, five, seven years older than you, you would then need to ask their permission to speak to them in the informal way. You would ask them to ‘drop the language’ in Korean, meaning that you are asking them if it is alright for you to speak to them as a friend – a bit confusing as you are already friends – but nevertheless, this is what the Korean cultural customs dictate.