How many words in Korean language?(Detailed explanation)

how many words in Korean language? Korean is a language with an ancient legacy! It has been spoken across East Asia for millennia, and its written record dates back even further – all the way to 1500BC. But How many Korean words exist in total? Let’s uncover what it takes to build one of the oldest languages in history!

How many words in Korean language? 

According to estimates, there are estimated to be over 1,100000+ words in the Korean language (Woori Mal saem), though this number varies depending on who you ask. The Korean language also uses different words depending on context, meaning that a word might have multiple meanings or be used differently depending on who is speaking and when it is being spoken. This makes it difficult to come up with an exact number for how many words are used in the Korean language. 

Korean Words Can Be Comprised of Multiple Characters 

Another factor to consider when looking at the number of words used in the Korean language is that some words can be comprised of multiple characters. For example, “한국어” (Hangeu-eo) can be translated as ‘the language of Korea’ but each character holds its own meaning; “한” (han) means ‘one’ while “국” (guk) means ‘country’ and “어” (eo) means ‘language’. Therefore, even though this phrase only consists of three characters, it can still be considered two or three separate words depending on how you look at it. 

Approximately 10 Million Vocabulary Items Are Used By Native Speakers 

Despite all these variables, experts estimate that native speakers use approximately 10 million vocabulary items when speaking or writing in Korean. This number includes both single-character and multi-character words as well as phrases and idioms which contain more than one word but are still considered a single item due to their usage within the language itself. So while there is no definitive answer to how many words are used in the Korean language, we can safely assume that native speakers use around 10 million items regularly when speaking or writing in their native tongue.  

Korean language basic & common words

how many words in Korean language

1. 안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo)

Hello, this is the most basic and important word to know in Korean. You will use it in every situation, whether you’re greeting someone, saying goodbye, or thanking someone.

2. 사랑해요 (Saranghaeyo)

I love you. This phrase is used to express love and affection towards someone, whether it be a romantic partner, family member, or friend.

3. 감사합니다 (Gamsahamnida)

Thank you. This phrase is used to express gratitude towards someone.

4. 죄송합니다 (Joesonghamnida)

I’m sorry. This phrase is used to express remorse or apologize for something.

5. 잘 지내세요 (Jal jinaeseyo)

Take care. This phrase is used as a farewell wish, telling the person to take care of themselves.

6. 안녕히 계세요 (Annyeonghi geseyo)

Goodbye. This phrase is used when you want to say goodbye to someone.

7. 어떻게 지내세요? (Eotteoke jinaeseyo?)

How are you? This phrase is used to ask someone how they are doing. It can be used as a greeting or simply as a way to start a conversation.

8. 반갑습니다 (Bangapseumnida)

Nice to meet you. This phrase is used when you meet someone for the first time. It’s a way of saying “it’s nice to meet you.”

9. 잘 부탁드립니다 (Jal bwatdeurimnida)

Please take care of me/us/this for me/us/this. This phrase is used when you want someone to do something for you or take care of something for you. It can be used in a variety of situations, such as asking someone to watch your belongings while you go to the restroom or asking someone to help you with your luggage

Korean Vocabulary Building Tips  

Learning Korean new words can be daunting but with a few tips and tricks you can make your vocabulary-building journey smoother! Here are some suggestions: 

  • 1) Learn root and affixes – this will help you break down longer words into smaller chunks that are easier to remember;
  • 2) Listen carefully – pay attention whenever you hear something new;
  • 3) Use SRS (spaced repetition software) tools – these help store information for easier recall;
  • 4) Read often – reading helps you learn new vocabulary faster;
  • 5) Write down new words – writing helps cement them into your memory;
  • 6) Speak often – practice speaking with others as much as possible;
  • 7) Use mnemonics – create fun stories or images for difficult concepts;
  • 8) Watch movies and shows – seeing new words in action helps build comprehension;
  • 9) Study with friends – studying together can make learning more fun!

Korean Vs English

Korean LanguageEnglish Language
Uses Hangul scriptUses Latin script
SOV (subject-object-verb) word orderSVO (subject-verb-object) word order
Has unique honorifics and formal/informal language formsHas formal and informal language forms
Has many loan words from ChineseHas many loan words from Latin and French
Has complex grammar and grammatical particlesHas relatively simple grammar with few grammatical particles
Has its own cultural context, idioms and expressionsHas its own cultural context, idioms and expressions



That’s all for today! I hope you found this post helpful and that it gave you a little insight into the Korean language. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Also Check How Long Does It Take To Learn Korean? Tips to learn Quickly


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