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You're welcome

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by wonlon, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    I suddenly discovered that I don't know how to say the very daily reply "you're welcome."

    A: Thank you.
    B: You're welcome.

    Can anyone help me?
    Would you also teach me other alternative sentences to reply a thank?
  2. 경상남도로 오이소 Member

    보통 "천만에요"라고들 번역하는데, 그런 말은 실생활에서 잘 쓰이지는 않고, 그냥 "아니에요" 정도로만 말합니다.

    예를 들자면:
    "아이구 저번에 도움 주신거 정말 고맙습니다"
    "아니에요. 제가 더 감사하죠."

    아마 중국어로 buyongxie라고 하죠? 그 말과 비슷한 것같습니다. 그리고 제가 제시한 문장은 영어로 "It's my pleasure."과도 비슷한 어감이지요.
  3. 가르시아 New Member

    Espanol (Colombiano-costeño), English
    From my experience, it's not really common to say a sort of "You're welcome" in Korean.
    However, the two ways I have seen people respond to a thank you (I'll use 고마워요 in this case) are:

    아니에요 (i.e. "No," which would be the equivalent to the similar English "Oh it's no problem.")
    뭘료 (I'm not Korean by any means, but I believe this comes from some sort of combination between 뭐, the object particle ㄹ, and adding in a 요 for the politeness, so a sort of "Oh, what...it wasn't a problem."/"It wasn't anything.")
  4. Hello, wonlon. Been a long time!

    A : 고마워
    B : 응. (with smile) or 뭘 이런 걸 가지고. or 별 거 아닌데 뭘.. (to my friend?)

    A : 감사합니다.
    B : 뭘 이런 걸 가지고요. or B: 아니에요. or 별 거 아닙니다.(they mean You don't need to say to me thank you for this trivial....)
  5. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    I see your point.
    Yesterday I just encountered an occasion in a train station. An old lady didn't know how to put a ticket inside the entrance machine. I taught her to put the ticket in the correct direction. She replied ありがとう (Thank you), which made me wonder how to say "you're welcome" or Chinese 不用客氣 /búyòngkèqi/ in Korean.

    Then what would you say in this occasion in reply to the thank?
  6. vientito Senior Member

    What about 별말씀? often heard it used after thank you.

    In dramas they often time use 고맙긴 right after a thank you. But I think it's not equivalent to "you are welcome" at all.
  7. 경상남도로 오이소 Member

    한국어가 영어와는 다른 점이, 많은 표현들이 상황에 따라 다르고, 화자가 누가냐, 듣는 사람이 누구냐, 등등에 따라 다르고, 또 특정한 "법칙"이 없다는 점입니다. 제가 특정한 상황에서 이러이러한 말을 했는데, 듣는 사람은 안 좋게 받아들일 수도 있고, 이렇게 말해야한다, 이럴 때에는 어떤 말, 어떤 표현을 써야한다, 하는 것이 없지요.

    예를 들자면, 영어로 누군가가 감사의 표현을 하면 "You're welcome" 내지는 "My pleasure."라고 하면 대부분 말이 통하지만, 한국어로 "천만에요!"라고 힘주어서 말하기가 좀 애매합니다. 한국어는 겸손의 언어이자, 자기 자신을 낮추는 언어이지요. 무엇인가를 정확하고, 당당하게 말하는 것은 좀 "한국적"이지가 않다는 인식이 있지요. (요즘은 좀 바뀌어가는 추세이긴 하지만...) 그래서 누군가가 "고맙습니다"라고 하면 말을 흐리거나, 그냥 넘어가자, 뭐 그럴수도 있지, 하면서 "아니에요"라는 말을 쓰는 것입니다. 누군가가 "You're welcome"을 번역하면 어떻게 되냐, 하고 물으면 정확하게 딱 답하기가 어려운 이유입니다.
  8. ddungbo Member

    Over 90% of the time, I just say "(아,) 예" with smile. No, maybe, 99% :)
    Edit. I just logged in on the forum again to add a critical point. 99% of all time if the person I'm talking to is a stranger. I forgot to mention this.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  9. wonlon Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese - Cantonese
    대부분의 한국어를 이해할 수 있지만 이 부분는 좀 어려워요. I can understand most of your Korean, but just can't get through this part.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  10. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England

    Indeed it's not. VERB긴 is not something to be said only to a person with whom one is on fairly close terms, because it's equivalent to a (mild) contradiction or correction of what they've said, amounting to "VERB isn't the right description of what I did or said". So with this verb, it's "there's nothing to thank me for, really".

    Now in Anglophone culture, it's hard to see how that could be taken to be an offensive remark, but in Korean etiquette it can very easily sound insulting, because it implies, however gently, that what someone just said is somehow wrong. And that's something one must never say to anyone higher up the pecking order. There's a scene in the movie of The Go Between (though the dialogue is also found verbatim in L.P Hartley's novel) where the aristocratic English mega-Gentleman Sir Hugh explains to a small boy that "Nothing a lady does is ever wrong". Substitute "a senior" for "a lady" and you have a very useful maxim to avoid giving unintentional offence to Koreans.

    But beyond that, we are back in the realms of what linguists call "phatics", words and phrases used not so much to convey concrete information as to smooth social interactions. Everyone knows that to understand phatics, we often need to overlook the apparent literal meaning. A Korean saying what originally meant "It is merely one of a thousand other things" is actually saying "It's okay", or "I'm fine" dependent on context. But trickier still is that not all cultures regard a phatic as appropriate in certain circumstances. It's no use asking, for example, "what do Koreans say if someone sneezes?" because they don't say anything at all. Germans who rashly assume that the phrase 건강하새요 frequently appropriate in other contexts can also be used where they would say "Gesundheit!" in their own language, thinking it means more or less the same thing, get some very funny looks.

    And the examples people have given here of using 예 in response to an expression of gratitude reminds me of the phatic mismatch between Korean and English where termininating a phone call is concerned. Koreans often don't say "Goodbye" at all on the phone, except if they want to sound super-polite (e.g when talking to someone to whom they instinctively give a 45-degree bow when answering the call, even though the caller is way out of sight). Most of the time, their last remark tends to be either a drawn out 예, or, between friends, a noise unique to Korean telephony which I call the "Goodbye Grunt". The closest I can come to describing it is to say that anyone who has toilet-trained an infant will recognize it as resembling the distinctive vocalization which signifies that, this time at least, the training has failed.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  11. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    Wonlon, I hope 경상남도로 오이소 won't mind if I try to help you towards seeing the structure of part of what was puzzling you.

    In the first sentence you quote, we have an introductory clause [from 무엇인가를 to 말하는 것은] that furnishes the subject of the main clause [from 좀 to 있지요] which follows. Within that initial subject clause we have 무엇인가를 marked as the object of the verb 말하디 which has been converted into a noun with the nominalizing pattern ~것, to which the particle 은 has been appended to mark the entire clause as the topic of the main clause. The words 정확하고, 당당하게 are adverbial qualifiers of 말하디. Moving on to the main clause, that subject clause as a whole is said (using the "wouldn't you agree?" pattern ~지[요]) to be a somewhat (좀) "한국적"이지가 않다는 인식이. If 인식 is giving you trouble, seeing it written in Hanja as 認識 may help. And if the 적 in 한국적 is puzzling you, seeing it written as 的 may help a bit further.

    Once you've figured out that whole sentence, I think everything else will fall into place. I'd say the essential point 경상남도로 오이소 is making is that although you could try to form a literal equivalent of "you're welcome" in Korean, it wouldn't have anything like the same implications in a Korean cultural context, where it would be more likely to be (mis)understood as a way of assuring the person who'd thanked you that there was no need to feel too humbled at receiving assistance from such a lofty personage as yourself, and hence it would amount to implying that you felt you were very important and that it was a real privilege for anyone to be helped by you. That's why a much more minimalist, self-effacing, response in Korean matches the intent, though not the literal meaning, of the English phrases in question.
  12. ddungbo Member


    I realize the 'people' who have pulled up the 예 example are no one but me. :) I do say 예 in response to 'thank you' when it's just a small favor like holding an elevator door for someone. And it's all the more so if the counterpart is a total stranger. This is because Koreans are not so much 'hi' or 'thank you' people, so between strangers even I don't know what is appropriate amount of exchange cool within the 'normal' category. It's a very thin line to cross and to be called crazy.

    And earlier I wrote above that I reply 예 with a smile, but in retrospect, I think it is more a nod with a beam of genteelness that accompanies with my saying "아.. 예~" (This "~" symbol, also containing a number of feelings and vibes, is usually a means to delivering an 'amicable' air by a key in keyboard. Here I employed it for two functions; one is for that genial mood and the other is to mark it's a longish sound. I've seen English speakers sometimes wondering what on earth is that symbol for. The symbol is not about similarity.)

    Your expanding on the 예's another usage got me thinking how versatile and highly nuanced word this simple one syllable word is. Your telephone situation, particularily made me look at it from different angle, thus realizing how it would come across to Korean leaners as an ultimate nonsense.
    When I finish a phone conversation off with a drawn out 예, and more importantly, with a fluctuating intonation going down and rising up, it first and foremost means 'all is okay now. We can end this call.' But there is more to it that is about a feeling I'm getting across that is "I hope you're well." I think , maybe, a longish vowel means being polite just as the said symbol is the case.

    Goodbye Grunt? Do they make that sound? like 으으응... when they push it out of body? :)
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012

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