Culture Capsule 2

A few Korean question you might misinterpret.

You may have heard the question "Have you eaten?" when running into a Korean friend on the street. Do not be confused if your friend just smiles and keeps walking even if you say you have not eaten.

Misunderstandings can occur in this situation because the korean implication of this question is different from it's literal meaning. Usually when Koreans ask whether or not you have eaten, they do not want to talk about food. "Have you eaten?" is just a typical way of greeting people. So, even if you answer that you have not eaten, Koreans may not invite you for a meal. When asked this question, it's fine to just say "yes".

Another korean greeting that may create misunderstanding is "Where are you going?" In this case too, Koreans are being friendly, but not necessarily curious about you destination. For this reason, you can answer simply by saying "yes" and you are not obligated to give a specific destination.

** Think about whether there are similar questions in your country.

-Write reference Korean Languge Education Center, Sogang University

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