Introducing yourself is a big part of any language or culture. It’s polite and how else would people know who you are?! I’m notorious for forgetting names, but with Korean, I remember them easily for some reason. So how would you introduce yourself in Korean? There are several ways of introducing yourself which we will cover in later posts, but for now, let’s get started with your own cool name.
The first thing you should remember is that in Korean, there are different levels of politeness. This means that the way you say your name when introducing yourself can change depending on the person you are holding a conversation with. Since there are several ways to do this, let’s start with the basic two forms you will use the most.
제 이름은 (name)입니다. (je i-reum-eun [name]-im-ni-da)
This is formal. It means My name is ___________. If we break down the sentence, we first see the word ‘제’. This is the formal way to say ‘My’ in Korean and you would use this with people older than you or introducing yourself to your manager or a new boss.
The next word we see is ‘ 이름’. This means ‘name’ in Korean.
Finally, you would say your name, and following your name, you would add the formal verb ending 입니다. You will see this verb ending in formal situations a lot. The base form of this verb is 이다 which means ‘is’ in Korean.
Now let’s move on to a more casual, yet still polite form.
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내 이름은 (name)이에요/예요. (nae i-reum-eun [name]-i-ye-yo)
Here, we see the structure is the same, the only difference is the politeness of a few words. In the beginning, we see ‘내’ which is a casual way of saying ‘My’ in Korean. Next, we still have the word for name, 이름. Finally, we use the casual verb ending for 이다 which is ‘이에요’ (if the name ends in a consonant) instead of the more formal ‘입니다’. It will end with ‘예요’ if the name ends with a vowel. You can use this with people the same age as you. Now for the lowest level of politeness, you would keep everything the same, but change ‘이에요’ to ‘이야’. However, it’s rare to introduce yourself in a situation so stick to the first two and you will be good.
And there you have it! As we said, there are several more ways to say your name, but if you’re a beginner, you can’t go wrong with these two. Have fun and see you next time!
P.S. Here are some examples for the phrases you’ve just learned.
제 이름은 조정석이고요. (je i-reum-eun Jo-Jeong-Seok-go-yo) = My name is Jo Jeong Seok.
제 이름은 선혜예요. (je i-reum-eun Seon-Hye-ye-yo) = My name is Seon Hye.
반가워요 제 이름은 도미닉입니다. (ban-ga-weo-yo je i-reum-eun Do-mi-nik-im-ni-da) = My name is Dominic.