How to Say ‘Country’ in Korean

One of the most common questions you’ll likely be asked in Korea is where are you from. So you’ll definitely want to know how to answer! Of course, you’re likely to be asked this question in English, but why wouldn’t you want to know how to answer it in Korean?

Moreover, your Korean-speaking friends would be more than delighted to hear you introduce them to your country, especially if you do so in Korean! It’s just one of a few small things you can do to impress your Korean friends. Now, we unfortunately cannot teach you all the vocabulary you might need in one article, but we can get you started on learning how to. So, first and foremost, let’s learn how to say country in Korean.


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‘Country’ in Korean

The word for ‘country’ in Korean is 나라 (nara). It’s a very quick and simple word for you to learn! Unfortunately, just like in many other languages, you have to learn each country’s name separately as the word 나라 is not attached to any of them. Even so, it’s a good word to add to your vocabulary as one of the first staple vocabulary words you learn.

Another word for ‘country’ in Korean is 국가 (gukga). The difference between the two is that, as the word 국가 derives from Chinese, it has a more official sound to it, thus used in legal terms and in news articles. Meanwhile, 나라 is more frequently used in conversation, or when saying phrases such as ‘our country’, which in Korean translates to 우리 나라 (uri nara).


List of Countries

World map: countries in wordcloud

Here is a list of country names you might want to add to your vocabulary:


South Korea – 한국, hankuk

North Korea – 북한, bukhan

United States – 미국, miguk

Japan – 일본, ilbon

China – 중국, jungkuk

Hong Kong – 홍콩, hongkong 

United Kingdom – 영국, yeongkuk

England – 잉글랜드, inggeullaendeu

Ireland – 아일랜드, aillaendeu

Germany – dokil, 독일

France – 프랑스, peurangseu

Spain – 스페인, seupein

Italy – 이탈리아, itallia

Brazil – 브라질, beurajil

Mexico – 멕시코, meksiko

Thailand – 태국, taeguk

Indonesia – 인도네시아, indonesia

Vietnam – 베트남, beteunam

India – 인도, indo

South Africa – 남아프리카, namapeurika


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?



Sample Sentences

European Union map


어느 나라에서 오셨어요?  (Eoneu naraeseo osyesseoyo?)

Which country did you come from?


어느 나라에서 왔어요?  (Eoneu naraeseo wasseoyo?)

Which country did you come from?


내가 제일 가고 싶은 나라는 필리핀이야  (Naega jeill gago sipeun naraneun pillipiniya)

The Philippines are the country I want to visit the most


Now that you know how to talk about your 나라 you can go out and share your culture with your Korean friends! What country are you from? Try introducing your home country in the comments below!

*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!



Photo credit: BigStockPhoto

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