School Words in Korean (KWOW #59)

Professor Oh July 25, 2012 24

Bongja replied to the winners from last week’s contest. For this week’s contest, scroll to the end of this post!

Are you teaching English in South Korea? Or planning to be a foreign exchange student? Whatever the case, we’re covering a highly requested topic: school. In the video we focused on school levels, places on campus, common subjects, and people in education, along with some useful phrases. Grade levels and school supplies are taught in this blog.

As Bongja mentioned in the episode, we’ve posted a list of grade levels for your future reference (below). The organization of grade levels varies within each country. What we call “7th grade” in the U.S. is titled as “middle school 1st grade” in South Korea. While looking at the seemingly long trail of Korean words, notice the repetition of words such as “학년” and “학교.” As taught in episode 59, 학년 [hak-nyeon] means “grade,” while 학교 [hak-gyo] means “school.”

Note: Korean name for each grade level is in parentheses.

*Elementary school = 초등학교 / cho-deung-hak-gyo
1st grade = 일학년 / il-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 1st grade = 초등학교 일학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo il-hak-nyeon)

2nd grade = 이학년 / ee-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 2nd grade = 초등학교 이학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo ee-hak-nyeon)

3rd grade = 삼학년 / sam-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 3rd grade = 초등학교 삼학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo sam-hak-nyeon)

4th grade = 사학년 / sa-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 4th grade = 초등학교 사학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo sa-hak-nyeon)

5th grade = 오학년 / oh-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 5th grade = 초등학교 오학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo oh-hak-nyeon)

6th grade = 육학년 / yook-hak-nyeon
(elementary school 6th grade = 초등학교 육학년 / cho-deung-hak-gyo yook-hak-nyeon)

*Middle school = 중학교 / joong-hak-gyo
7th grade = 칠학년 / cheel-hak-nyeon
(middle school 1st grade = 중학교 일학년 / joong-hak-gyo il-hak-nyeon)

8th grade = 팔학년 / pal-hak-nyeon
(middle school 2nd grade = 중학교 이학년 / joong-hak-gyo ee-hak-nyeon)

9th grade = 구학년 / goo-hak-nyeon
(middle school 3rd grade = 중학교 삼학년 / joong-hak-gyo sam-hak-nyeon)

*High school = 고등학교 / go-deung-hak-gyo)
10th grade = 십학년 / ship-hak-nyeon
(high school 1st grade = 고등학교 일학년 / go-deung-hak-gyo il-hak-nyeon)

11th grade = 십일학년 / ship-il-hak-nyeon
(high school 2nd grade = 고등학교 이학년 / go-deung-hak-gyo ee-hak-nyeon)

12th grade = 십이학년 / ship-ee-hak-nyeon
(high school 3rd grade = 고등학교 삼학년 / go-deung-hak-gyo sam-hak-nyeon)

*University = 대학교 / dae-hak-gyo
(University 1st grade = 대학교 일학년 / dae-hak-gyo il-hak-nyeon)
(University 2nd grade = 대학교 이학년 / dae-hak-gyo ee-hak-nyeon)
(University 3rd grade = 대학교 삼학년 / dae-hak-gyo sam-hak-nyeon)
(University 4th grade = 대학교 사학년 / dae-hak-gyo sa-hak-nyeon)

If you want to say 1st grade, you combine the Sino-Korean version of number “1” with “학년,” thus 일학년 (il-hak-nyeon). If you want to say 2nd grade, you would combine the Sino-Korean “2” and “학년” together, which becomes 이학년 (ee-hak-nyeon). To specify your school level, add the appropriate term before the Sino-Korean number. Here’s the formula:

School level Sino-Korean number grade
School level Sino-Korean number 학년
School level Sino-Korean number hak-nyeon

There are two number systems in Korea. To learn the Sino-Korean number system, watch KWOW episode 15 below. For the native Korean number system, watch lesson 5 from the “Let’s Learn Korean with Professor Oh” collection.

Did you lose your pencil? Ask your classmate: 연필 빌릴 수 있을까? Yunpeel beellil soo isseulgga? Which is the informal way of asking, “Can I borrow a pencil?” But what if you have a pencil and need a ruler or eraser instead? Fill in the blank of the following phrase with your needed object (see list below for common school supplies):

Can I borrow insert noun here?
Insert noun here 빌릴 수 있을까?
(Insert noun here beellil soo isseulgga?)

Example A: Can I borrow the scissors?
가위빌릴 수 있을까?
(Gawee beellil soo isseulgga?)

Example B: Can I borrow a book?
빌릴 수 있을까?
(Chek beellil soo isseulgga?)

Book = 책 (chek)
Calculator = 계산기 (gye-san-ghee)
Crayons = 크레용 (keu-reh-yong)
Eraser = 지우개 (ji-oo-gae)
Notebook = 수첩 (soo-chup)
Paper = 종이 (jong-ee)
Pen = 펜 (pen)
Pencil = 연필 (yeon-pil)
Colored pencil = 색연필 (saek-yeon-pil)
Ruler = 자 (ja)
Scissors = 가위 (ga-wi)


  1. Complete the phrases “__________빌릴 수 있을까?” by filling in the blank with the featured school supplies. (You will have 11 complete sentences.)
  2. Take a photo of your fantastic work.
  3. Upload the photo onto Twitter.
  4. Copy and paste the link in the comment section below. (Note: Other submissions may not be considered an entry.)
  5. Don’t forget to ask your fun/crazy/yummy question to this week’s KWOW host Billy Jin.
  6. Have fun! The first *seven* people to complete the task will win a reply from Billy Jin. Last chance as KWOW comes to a close!
  7. Stay tuned for next week’s extra special contest! Winner will receive a prize! :D


  1. faye August 21, 2013 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Hi Professor Oh! I learned a lot from you I watched episode 1 to 60 and I’m still watching the other episodes…:) fighting!!!!

  2. Zozo August 10, 2013 at 9:50 am - Reply

    thank you a lot for this, i learnt alot. keep this up and i will always support you :)

  3. 김은지 November 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    안녕 하세요, Oh 선생님…
    나 브라질 사람이아, 그리고 한국어를 공부한다고 있습니다… 많이 많이 힘들어. 하지만 화이팅, 네?
    언젠간 한국에 갈게요.
    I need someone to correct my sentences, tell me if it’s wrong or right!
    Can you do this favor for me? C:
    My Facebook’s account:
    I’ll be super happy if you do this favor, to make my korean each day better..

    키스! 키스!
    ~김은지 or Greyce~

  4. Peter@English Study Tour Melbourne August 29, 2012 at 3:51 am - Reply

    This is a great blog. I have learnt some Korean from watching the videos. I also want to use this opportunity to say hello to everyone here.

  5. kim seon ji July 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Professor Oh, I hope you will continue the the Kwow. I learn a lot from you. Your lesson really help me alot. Please help those who really want to learn Korean language. Throughly this is an unique language.

    • sweetandtastytv August 1, 2012 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Hello Kim Seon Ji :)
      Thank you for watching our show. I’m so happy to hear you’ve learned a lot from me and my crew ;) Stay tuned for future videos!

      Professor Oh

    • sweetandtastytv August 1, 2012 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Hello, MinTeuk!
      Lovely job on the assignment. Love your smile drawing. Very cute!!

      With aegyo,
      Billy Jin

      • MinTeuk Min YeHae August 3, 2012 at 3:02 am - Reply

        Thank you. Can’t wait for the second season of your show.. I’ll surely miss you all.

  6. Heysarrah July 27, 2012 at 3:10 am - Reply

    here’s my writing!! ^^

    I hv same question like @xMissTashax :) (Since Im planning to go to korea after my graduation >< ahh I hope it isnt that hard to apply the visa)

    "What are the recommended places to go in korea?"

    And last questions…Im wondering why some of my korean friends like to spit everywhere& anywhere? o_O

    감사합니다, Billy Jin!:-))

    • Heysarrah July 27, 2012 at 3:17 am - Reply

      Ah sorry. Here’s my link:!

    • sweetandtastytv August 1, 2012 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Hello, Sarrah!
      I recommend the Amorepacific Tea Gardens in Jeju Island and Cafe Gio Cat. There’s so many cafe and cute shops in Myeongdong! I haven’t been there in a couple years, but I’m sure it’s still hip and happenin’!

      About your spitting friends… maybe they think it’s cool? In a tough gangster sort of way? Though many girls probably find that more gross than cool?? Haha.

      With aegyo,
      Billy Jin

  7. Kristal Temple July 26, 2012 at 11:49 am - Reply
    Howdy, Billy. I wrote my question on my homework page, but just to be clear in case it didn’t show up well… If I wanted to ask for a pencil with a specific color, and that color (as an adjective) ended with “sehk,” would I, e.g., ask for a “green colored-pencil” or a “green-pencil” or even a “green pencil”? Thank you.

    • sweetandtastytv August 1, 2012 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Hello, Kristal!
      Wonderful job on the assignment! Seeing your assignment, it seems like you understand the color concept? Depending on the color, “sehk” will be kept or subtracted. It sounds like you’ve watched KWOW episode 17, but in case you haven’t yet, I hope you find it helpful! :D

      To answer your question, it would be either “green-colored pencil” or “green pencil.” :)

      With aegyo,
      Billy Jin

  8. Katrina July 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm - Reply Here!!!

    If there would be Kpop 과목 in school, what should 선생님 teach there, and which Kpop celebrity would you like as your teacher?

    • sweetandtastytv August 1, 2012 at 9:07 am - Reply

      Hello, Katrina!
      I love your neat writing ^.^ If there were a K-pop class, I’d like to have rotating teachers. Everyday a different K-pop star! :D Not only so I can meet all the celebrities, but also to gain a wider perspective on the topic. It’s best to learn from various sources than just one!

      With aegyo,
      Billy Jin

  9. Lizzy July 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm - Reply
    My favorite subject is art because it’s the one thing my mother hates me for because theres so much course work but the coursework is really enjoyable! Or if i have to be more academic it would be Biology… I love science!

    • sweetandtastytv August 1, 2012 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Hello Lizzy!
      Wow, you can write Korean backwards AND forewards? How talented of you! Hehe ;) Beautiful work by the way. Professor Oh loves art the most, too. Actually she graduated from art college not too long ago.

      With aegyo,
      Billy Jin

  10. Tasha (@xMissTashax) July 25, 2012 at 10:46 am - Reply

    What are the recommended places to go in korea? In terms of cafes, shops etc

  11. Ryan (64Packets) July 25, 2012 at 9:29 am - Reply

    here is my writing!

    What did you get into trouble for most? (or what was the thing that got you the biggest telling off?)

    I got into trouble for burning things in science :-D

    • sweetandtastytv August 1, 2012 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Hello, Bryan!
      Fantastic job on the assignment! What got me in trouble during class? I was (and still am) addicted to K-pop that I couldn’t go a minute without it. During class time I’d keep my earphones on with my hooded jacket pulled over my head and sit in the back of the class. I would nod to the music as the teacher thought I was nodding in agreement with their lecture! Hehe.

      Stay awesome,
      Billy Jin

      • Ryan (64Packets) August 1, 2012 at 8:38 am - Reply

        But I’m Ryan! :-D


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