How to say ‘good bye/see you/so long’ in Korean.

[update]
I found that this page is ranked almost top for ‘how to say bye in Korean’, and that the wording in the below is quite much lousy. So I’d decided to give you brief and exact summary.

1. In a real word.
– Just say ‘Bye’. Ppl in Korea understand it.
– Say ‘Jal-Ga’. This means ‘good’ + ‘go’

2. In IM (instant messenger)
– Say ‘Bye’
– Say ‘Jal-Ga’ if the person is logging-off. If you are the one logging off, don’t say ‘Jal-Ga’.
– Otherwise, stick to bye.

Sidenote:
Do you know that people who can not speak English understands ‘OK’? Some English words are universally acceptable.
[/update]

Today, a friend of mine, told me ‘jal-ga’ over IM when he finished a conversation with me. At the moment he was sending the message, I was away for a sec., so I saw the message a few minutes later.

When I came back and saw the message, I could not understand what ‘jal-ga’ means. Even worse, I had to google to get the meaning of ‘jal-ga.’ Actually, I believe almost no Korean will figure out the meaning unless he or she has had a conversation with some non native Korean speaker before.

Admittedly, some websites are saying that ‘jal-ga’ means ‘good bye/see you/so long’, but they are all wrong.

Jal-ga always has been used as a way of expressing ‘good bye.’ However, they’ve never used as an expression to say goodbye over the Internet. Instead, young people in Korea use the term like ‘ㅂㅂ’, ‘바이’, and ‘ㅂㅇ’, each of which is the transcription of ‘bye’ into Korean.

Surprised? Yes, it is surprising, but it is true. You can easily find out people teaching their baby ‘byebye’ and letting the baby wave his/her hand. You can consider ‘bye’ as Korean, because it is widely used among Korean ppl. Ironically, ppl in Korea don’t say ‘c ya/see ya/see you/c u/so long’ when they have to say goodbye. You might be asked ‘what does c u mean?’ when you say ‘c u’ over IM.

So, I recommend you – if you’re non native Korean and don’t have better alternatives – to say ‘bye’ instead. If you really want to speak in Korean, as a way of expressing your generosity or whatever, you’d better say ‘An Nyung?’ when you start a conversation.

Question mark in the sentence is pretty much important, because the intentention of asking whether he or she is okay is implied in ‘An Nyung?’ A literal translation of An Nyung would be ‘Are you okay?’ Well, ‘are you okay’ isn’t used in English as a salutation, but Korean is Korean just in the same way English is English. So, don’t fight for it.

As the last comment on this topic. Someone might have seen a book describing ‘Jal-Ga’ as a way of expressing ‘bye’ in Korean over the Internet. But, the thing is that colloquial form of the talking is sometimes – or very often? – different from those written in books. English has similar phonomenon. To illustrate, consider ‘about’ and ‘around.’ Ppl in non native countries learn how to say an approximate value, say, 20, like ‘about 20.’ But, many native say just ‘around 20.’ Which one do you prefer? One of my native friend told me that ‘about 20’ seems to be weird, but that’s exactly the opposite what english scholars recommend. ‘About 20’ is considered as a more formal/elegant way of saying approximate value, while ‘around 20’ is not. Let me put this way: That’s where theory and practice diverge.

Hope you enjoy Korean and ppl in this nice country.

Bye~ :-)

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