For this week’s WOTW, we’ll be taking a look at the colours. The Korean word for colour is 색깔, but normally this is shortened to 색. Here is a quick basic list of what you need to know:
Red 빨간색 / 적색 / 홍색
Orange 주황색 / 오랜지
Pink 분홍색 / 핑크색
Green 초록색 / 녹색
Sky Blue 하늘색
White 하얀색 / 흰색 / 백색
Black 검은색 / 흑색
But how would you use it in a sentence? Here are few examples:
저는 Colour 좋아해요.
어떤 색 좋아해요? Which colour do you like?
(저는) 보라색 좋아해요. I like purple.
바나나는 노란색이에요. Bananas are yellow.
이 칠판은 검은색이에요. This chalkboard is black.
Colour(색) + Noun이에요/예요
노란색 바나나예요/ 노란 바나나예요. It’s a yellow banana.
검은색 칠판이에요/ 검은 칠판이에요. It’s a black chalkboard.
Notice that you can drop 색 from the colour name when combining it with a noun.
Also the use of 은/는 and 이에요/예요 depend on whether the final letter is a consonant or a vowel.
Now that you can put a sentence together, here are some examples of words and phrases involving colours that you might often find in Korea. Some make sense and others don’t, but it’s good to be aware of these words!
파란 불: This literally means blue light. However this is ironically always used when referring to the green traffic lights. 노란 불 is used for the yellow (amber) lights and 빨간 불 for the red lights.
붉은 입술: Red lips. 붉은색 can often be used interchangeably with 빨간색, however the distinct difference is that it should normally be used for things that are naturally red. Therefore lips are 붉은 rather than 빨간 and so is the sunset; 붉은 노을 (red sunset).
녹차: Green tea. This one is literal. Koreans like their green tea.
홍차: Red tea. This one we might know better as black tea. Ask for 홍차 if you fancy a British-style milk tea.
빨개지다: to turn red/ become flushed. You will often hear faces, eyes and noses turning red in Korean.
Red faces are normally associated with embarrassment, for eyes it relates to tiredness, and for noses, either with coldness or there is an expression, “술을 많이 마셔서 코가 빨개졌어요” which refers to a person who drinks alcohol excessively (lit. I drank a lot and my nose turned red).
푸른 자연: Blue nature. In Korean, trees, grass and mountains are described as being blue rather than green.
금발: Gold hair. This is simply another way of saying blonde.
빨간 날: Red Day(s). These are national holidays, or 공휴일 (public holiday). Basically, important days in Korea are red!
백지: Lit. White page. This refers to a blank page, but not specifically a clean white piece of paper, but say you were doing a test and did not answer any of the questions, then the paper you give in is called a 백지. This word can also be used to describe the state when your mind has gone completely blank, 머리속이 백지가 됐어요 (Lit. inside my head is a blank page).
흰자: White part. This refers specifically to the egg white.
노른자: Yellow part. This leaves us the egg yolk!
흑맥주: Black beer. This is any dark beer/ stout.
Finally, there are times when using English is actually more common and natural, but just make sure you try to say it the way it is pronounced in Korean!
When selecting wine: 화이트 (White), 레드 (Red) 와인
For hair colours: 브라운 (Brown), 블론드 (Blonde) 머리
For coffee: 블랙 (Black) 커피
White Chocolate: 화이트 초코렛
오렌지 (orange) and 핑크 (pink) are more commonly used than 주황색 and 분홍색.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s lesson. Practise making sentences using colours in Korean and I will see you again next week! ^^