안녕하세요, annyeong haseyo! Welcome Korean culture lovers, KPop stans, and newbies to the language. In today’s lesson plan, we’re learning how to say the days of the week in Korean.
The days of the week in Korean hangul are:
- Monday: 월요일 (wollyoil)
- Tuesday: 화요일 (hwayoil)
- Wednesday: 수요일 (suyoil)
- Thursday: 목요일 (mogyoil)
- Friday: 금요일 (geumyoil)
- Saturday: 토요일 (toyoil)
- Sunday: 일요일 (illyoil)
Learning the days of the week in the Korean language is one of the best places to start if you’re new to the language. It’ll allow you to talk about time, make plans, restaurant reservations, and write your schedule in Korean.
You’ll use them all the time, so you’ll pick them up fast.
But that’s not all we’ll cover today.
I’ll also show you what the day’s name in Korean means, which will help you remember them. And we’ll go over other common words you need to know, like week, month, year, and more.
A quick note before we get started: I strongly suggest you learn how to read Korean hangul first. Hangul is actually super easy and quick to learn. (I know it doesn’t look like it, but you’ll be surprised. It’s nothing like Japanese kanji or Chinese hanzì.)
Some of these words are a bit tricky to pronounce at first. Especially if you’re trying to pronounce them based on their romanization rather than the hangul itself. So, do yourself a favor, make your whole Korean language learning journey easier by learning hangul first.
Okay, onto the lesson!
“Day” in Korean is 일 (il) while “day of the week” is 요일 (yoil)
Once you know that, the rest is easy.
Each day of the week in Korean ends in 요일. So you only have to remember one syllable, or one hangul block, for each day.
To help you remember which is which, let’s look at the day’s name meaning in Korean and some mnemonics we can use.
Monday in Korean is 월요일 (wollyoil).
월 (wol) in Korean means “moon.” So Monday means “moon day.”
This is the same as English! Monday also comes from “moon.”
Pay attention to the pronunciation here: the “l” at the bottom of the first block makes a flicked or double “l” sound and gets blended into the second character block.
So it sounds like: wol-lyo-il. Not “wol-yo-il”.
화요일 (hwayoil) means “Tuesday”. 화 (hwa) means “fire” in Korean.
So, fun fact I learned when I studied days of the week in Japanese, that apply in Korean as well: in most languages, the days are associated with celestial bodies or Norse and Roman gods.
So like how Monday is associated with the moon, Tuesday is associated with the planet Mars. In Korean, it’s 화성 (hwaseong). Fire planet.
In Roman mythology, Mars is the god of war. In Norse mythology, the god of war is Tyr. And that’s where Tuesday comes from: Tyr’s day.
I love astronomy and mythology, so I find these little insights helpful. I use them to create mnemonics between languages.
If you know Japanese, it’s also easy to jump from 火曜日 (kayoubi) to 화요일 since they both mean “fire day.”
For Wednesday, it’s 수요일 (suyoil).
수 (su) means “water” in Korean. The water planet is Mercury, 수성 (suseong), and Mercury is also the Roman god equivalent to Norse god, Odin. If you’re a Marvel fan, you probably know of him.
He’s sometimes called “Woden” and that’s where we get Wednesday from.
Thursday is 목요일 (mogyoil).
In English, Thursday comes from Thor, God of Thunder. (Sorry Loki fans, there’s no day named after him.)
In this case, 목 (mok) means “wood” and is associated with the planet Jupiter, 목성 (mogseong). Thor’s equal in Roman mythology is Jupiter.
Friday is payday, amirite? So this one is easy to remember: 금 (geum) in 금요일 (geumyoil) means “gold.”
So it’s literally “gold day.”
But in case you were curious, continuing on with our planets and mythology… The golden planet Venus is 금성 (geumseong). Venus is the Roman goddess of love, beauty, and prosperity.
Her Norse equal is Frigg, Odin’s wife, and that’s how we get Friday.
Another fun fact: Korean’s love to shorten and combine words together for new slang meanings. One such example is 불금 (bulgeum).
불금 combines 불 (bul), another word for fire, and 금 (geum) from 금요일. Together, 불금 means “Fire Friday” and refers to partying after work on a Friday night. It’s used like TGIF (“Thank God It’s Friday”) in English.
Time for the weekend! Saturday is 토요일 (toyoil).
토 (to) means “soil”, and the planet Saturn is 토성 (toseong). Why soil? Because the Roman god, Saturn, is the god of harvest.
I think you can probably tell, but “Saturday” in English also stems from “Saturn.”
How do you say Sunday in Korean? It’s 일요일 (ilwoil).
일 (il) means “day” but it can also mean “sun.” So, like Monday, it’s easy to remember and is the same as English.
Now I gave you some examples of how to remember these words by tying them to English – and that’s how I remembered them going from English to Japanese.
But Japanese and Korean are identical in meaning (and even some sounds), and the days of the week in Korean hanja are exactly the same as Japanese. (Hanja are Chinese characters in Korean writing. They’re not used as often as in Japanese, but they’re still used sometimes.)
So I actually use Japanese to help me remember Korean.
My point is, you can do that too. If what I shared here doesn’t help you remember it… well, at least you learned some planet names too and killed two birds with one stone!
But make it work for you. Come up with other ways to remember them. If you know other languages, see if you can make a connection between languages learned rather than your native language.
Get creative! With time, you’ll practice them enough anyway to not need to think of memory hacks anymore.
One other great tool to learn with is song. Kids do it all the time, so why not try it too?
Here’s a song for the days in Korean:
Now that we’ve learned the days of the week, let’s go over some similar words: days, weeks, months, years, seasons!
We already learned that “day” is 일 (il) while “day of the week” is 요일 (yoil). But how do you say “4 days” in Korean, and things like that?
When counting days, you’ll first want to understand Korean numbers and how there are two ways to count (up to 100).
For counting days, we use the Native Korean number system:
- One day: 하루 (haru)
- Two days: 이틀 (iteul)
- Three days: 사흘 (saheul)
- Four days: 나흘 (naheul)
- Five days: 닷새 (datsae)
You’ll use these to say things like:
- All day long: 하루 종일 (haru jongil)
- 3 days off: 사흘 연휴 (saheul yeonhyu)
And as for saying the dates of the month… Well, that’s super easy.
You just use the Sino-Korean numbers + 일 (il):
- 1st: 1일 (일일, il-il)
- 2nd: 2일 (이일, i-il)
- 3rd: 3일 (삼일, sam-il)
- 4th: 4일 (사일, sa-il)
- 5th: 5일 (오일, o-il)
- 10th: 10일 (십일, sib-il)
- 15th: 15일 (십오일, sibo-il)
- 20th: 20일 (이십일, i-sibil)
- 31st: 31일 (삼십일일, samsibil-il)
How do you say “week” in Korean? It’s 주 (ju).
So if you want to say things like “one week” or “three weeks”, you’ll need to use 주일 (ju-il), which means “weeks.” You could also use 주간 (jugan) which means “weekly” or “weeks time.”
- One week: 일 주일 (il juil)
- Three weeks time: 삼 주간 (sam jugan)
When talking about Monday – Friday, you can use 주중 (jujung) for “weekdays.” Or 평일 (pyeong-il) for a single weekday.
“Weekend” is 주말 (jumal).
What are the months in Korean?
- January: 일월 (ilwol)
- February: 이월 (iwol)
- March: 삼월 (samwol)
- April: 사월 (sawol)
- May: 오월 (owol)
- June: 유월 (yuwol)
- July: 칠월 (chilwol)
- August: 팔월 (palwol)
- September: 구월 (guwol)
- October: 십월 (sibwol)
- November: 십일월 (sibilwol)
- December: 십이월 (sibiwol)
Just add the Sino-Korean number of the month to 월 (wol, “month”)!
“Year” in Korean is 년 (nyeon).
When forming dates in Korean, it looks like this:
YYYY년 MM월 DD일
So if you wanted to write out a date, it would look like:
2021년 11월 14일
i-cheon isibi nyeon sibilwol sibsail
My birthday this year!
“Season” in Korean is 시즌 (sijeun).
The four seasons in Korean are:
- Spring: 봄 (bom)
- Summer: 여름 (yeoreum)
- Autumn: 가을 (gaeul)
- Winter: 겨울 (gyeoul)
Telling time in Korean can be just a bit tricky, because you’ll use both Sino-Korean numbers and Native Korean numbers.
You’ll use Native Korean numbers (hana, dul, set) for the hour. Then you’ll use Sino-Korean numbers (il, i, sam) for the minutes.
- Hour: 시 (si)
- Minute: 분 (bun)
- Half: 반 (ban)
- 1 o’clock: 한시 (hansi)
- 1:30: 한시반 (hansiban)
- 2 o’clock: 두시 (dusi)
- 2:15: 두시 십오분 (dusi sibobun)
- 3 o’clock: 세시 (sesi)
- 3:45: 세시 사십오분 (sesi sasibobun)
- AM: 오전 (ojeon)
- PM: 오후 (ohu)
When using AM and PM, it goes before the hour, like: 오후 세시 (ohu sesi, “3pm”).
You’ve learned all the essentials for talking about days in Korean. So now you should be able to practice writing out your schedule, planning your calendar, or making appointments with friends!
Practice by writing it out. “Class: 3pm Tuesday” or “Work: 9am Monday” for example. Schedule out your week and write the days, dates, and time.
The more you practice, the better you’ll get!
Ready to learn more? Check out these other Korean lessons:
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