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How to Learn Korean Through Fairy Tale Stories

Top 6 Korean Fairy Tale Stories and Characters

Hi Listeners,

Do you know what the top 6 Korean fairy tales are?

Reading short stories in Korean is a fun way to learn the Korean language and culture. Check out the 6 Korean fairy tale stories below and learn must-know folk story words and phrases in Korean!

1. Top 6 Korean Fairy Tales

Top 6 Korean Fairy Tales

1. Heungbu and Nolbu

The Korean title is 흥부와 놀부 (Heungbuwa nolbu). Heungbu and Nolbu are two brothers, with opposite personalities. Their vicissitudes show how caring about the others brings wealth and, most of all, happiness.

2. A Filial Daughter, Sim Chong

The Korean title is 효녀 심청 (Hyonyeo simcheong). Sim Chong sells herself to restore her father’s sight. During a storm, the sailors sacrifice her and instead of dying, she becomes the sea queen.

3. The Rabbit’s Liver

The Korean title is 토끼의 간 (Gyeonuwa jingnyeo). The Dragon King must eat a rabbit’s liver to recover from an illness. The rabbit tells him that he didn’t bring his liver and escape.

4. Gyeonu and Jiknyeo

The Korean title is 견우와 직녀 (Gyeonu and Jiknyeo). Two lovers marry but then begin to neglect their duties. Angry, the heavenly king only allows them to meet once a year on a bridge of magpies.

5. The Fairy and the Woodcutter

The Korean title is 선녀와 나무꾼 (Seonnyeowa namukkun). A man steals the robe of a fairy and is told not to return it until she has three children. He returns it and she leaves with his two children.

6. The Gold Ax and the Silver Ax

The Korean title is 금 도끼와 은 도끼 (Gum dokkiwa eun dokki). A woodcutter loses his axe. A wizard appears and gives him a choice of an iron, gold, and silver axe. The woodcutter takes his own axe and is rewarded.

2. Fairy Tale Characters and Words in Korean

Here are some common fairy tale characters and words in Korean you may come across while reading Korean folktale stories.

Korean Romanization Meaning
요정 yojeong fairy
유니콘 unicon unicorn
seong castle
마법 mabeop magic
마녀 manyeo witch
주문 jumun spell
yong dragon
도깨비 dokkaebi Ogre
wang king
왕자 wangja prince
공주 gongju princess
옛날 옛적에 yennal yeotjeoge once upon a time
마법사 mabeopsa wizard
인어 ineo mermaid
거인 geo-in giant
난쟁이 nanjaengi dwarf
계모 gyemo stepmother
여왕 yeowang queen

Check out even more fairy tale words in the video below!

Conclusion

You might not understand every single word in Korean stories at first but try to guess what they mean in context. Illustrations will also help you understand the story. After reading it, make sure to look up the words in the dictionary and read the story a few more times. If you do that, you’ll surely get better at reading Korean.

So what Korean tale would you like to read first? Do you know any other fairy tale stories in Korea? Did we miss any Korean fairy tale words? Let us know in the comments!

Do you know what “wallet” is in Korean?

Learn Korean words about things that you can find in your wallet!

지갑 (jigap): wallet

Here are some words picked by Jae:

  1. 주민등록증 (identification card)
  2. 운전면허증 (driver’s license)
  3. 현금 (cash)

Do you know what to say when you’ve lost your wallet?
Click here to learn more!

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How do you translate ‘eat’ into Korean?

Hi Hyunwoo here. I hope everybody is having a wonderful day and enjoying your Korean studies. Some might think there’s enough variety to the list of categories on this blog already, but I’ve just added one more category to it. And as you can see, it’s about how to translate certain words or phrases between English and Korean - sometimes from English to Korean, and other times, the other way around.

I’d like to start with a very basic word describing a very important behavior, which, however, is not translated very correctly all the time.

eat.jpg

It’s  ‘to eat.’

What’s the Korean word for it? It’s very easy. 먹다.

But the thing is, when you use it in a sentence, you always need an object noun. So for example, if you want to say “I’m eating pizza.” you can say 피자 먹고 있어요. (I’ll write all the Korean sentences in the standard polite level) and if you want to say “I’m eating lunch.” you can say 점심 먹고 있어요.

But what if you want to say,

“I’m eating.”

or

“Don’t talk while you’re eating.”

or

“I eat slowly.”

how would you translate these sentences into Korean?

Most people would go,

저는 먹고 있어요.

먹을 때 이야기하지 마세요.

저는 천천히 먹어요.

While these sentences above are all correct grammatically, they are all missing something. When Korean people use the verb 먹다, they always like to add a noun - an object.  So it’s always “something + 을/를” 먹다. So the sentences above would become more natural by changing them to:

저는 밥(을) 먹고 있어요.

밥  먹을 때 이야기하지 마세요. or 음식 먹을 때 이야기 하지 마세요.

저는 밥을 천천히 먹어요. or 저는 음식을 천천히 먹어요.

So please remember not to use the verb ‘to eat’ on its own in a sentence in most cases, and add 음식, 밥, 점심, 저녁, 아침 or any other noun for food when you use the verb 먹다. And when you want to ask your friend “Have you eaten?” don’t ask “먹었어?” but please ask “밥 먹었어?”

Thanks for reading!