How-to Korean: “I don’t understand what you’re saying”


This’ how-to Korean’ video is actually an answer to a question by one of the students of LearnKoreanOnline.NET.  The question was about the statement ‘무수 말인지 몰라요’ which translates to “I don’t know what you’re saying”, and actually the question was more specifically, what does the ‘무슨 말인지’ part of that sentence mean?

So check out the video (down below), and if you have any more questions about it or anything else, fire away.

Cheers, and happy learning!


p.s. If you’re new to Korean, this video will be a bit over your head so my suggestion would to head here and get the 4 hours of free videos teaching the basics. That’s where you want to start, and you can always come back to this later.

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Leave A Reply (8 comments so far)

  1. Bill Mahony

    Well done….extremely helpful and appreciated. I’ve only progressed to lesson 6 so I appreciate an explanation like this. There is not a text book out there that does it that clearly (from an English perspective). thanks!

  2. Cheers, Bill. Much appreciated.

  3. Ahuva

    Hi Rob,
    I’m watching a Korean drama these days and I’ve heard
    “무슨 말이야” or “무슨 말야” (I don’t know how to spell it) quite a lot, which made me remember this video.
    Is “무슨 말이야/말야” the lower form of “무슨 말인지 몰라요”? or is it just: “What do you mean?” in lower form? (well I guess it’s lower because of the “야” I don’t know for sure).
    Thank you

  4. Hi Ahuva, yes, that expression (무슨 말이야?) is basically, “What do you mean?” or “What are you saying?”, and yes, it’s in the ‘casual’ form.

    And actually, you can see the base form of that expression (which would be “무슨 말이다”) in the expression, “무슨 말인지 몰라요”. Drop the “~다” from the first expression above in brackets, and you’ll see 무슨 말이, which is exactly the first four syllables of the expression meaning “I don’t know what you’re saying”, only there’s a ㄴ under the last syllable, changing 이 to 인. Do you see what I mean?

  5. And which drama are you watching?

  6. Ahuva

    Thank you Rob, yes, I see what you mean.
    And how would it be in the Honorific and common form?
    Thank you.
    Oh, I’m watching “Secret garden”.

  7. Sanjay

    Best ‘How-to-Korean’ tip yet! One of the great things about your classes is how you explain beginning Korean phrases in the context of useful grammatical tools that we can then apply in many diverse situations.

  8. Awesome, Sanjay, glad it helped!