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Learn Korean

Do you have an interest in the Korean language and you’re looking for the best way to learn? You’re in the right place!

Spoken in both South and North Korea, the Korean language has more than 75 million speakers worldwide. 

If you already know how you want to learn Korean and want to go straight to reading our reviews and recommendations, check out these posts:

There are many reasons to learn Korean. You’re planning a trip to South Korea, you enjoy Korean entertainment, culture, and history, or you want to learn Korean for work or studies. Whether your reasons are personal or professional, you need a solid study plan to help you become proficient.

From the very basics—Hangul—to the more advanced, challenging, and unique aspects of the Korean language, finding resources that appeal to your learning style is important.

In this post, we cover the types of resources you could check out and give you some learning tips to help you on your learning journey no matter your skill level or learning style.

Learn Korean for beginners. How to Learn Korean on your own? for free? best way and easy way? Get tips and tricks on learning Korean effectively.

How to Learn Korean On My Own

Self-teaching Korean can be both challenging and rewarding, depending on factors like your learning style, motivation, consistency, and available resources. The simplicity of the Hangul alphabet facilitates quick reading and writing, while Korean grammar, though different from English, can become familiar with practice. With a wealth of resources such as textbooks, online courses, and language learning apps, you can tailor your learning experience. However, self-teaching demands high motivation and discipline, as there’s no external structure.

Setting clear goals, maintaining a study schedule, and consistent practice are vital. Immersing yourself in Korean media and finding language exchange partners can provide valuable practice and feedback. While challenging, many have achieved fluency in Korean through self-study, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and dedication in the learning journey.

Best Way to Learn Korean

In order to determine the best way to learn Korean, you need to consider your language level, learning style, and your ultimate language goals. In this post, we share how you can learn Korean and help you find the methods and resources that are right for you.

Learn Korean with an Immersion-Based Course

The best way to learn Korean is through immersion. Immersion is a language learning technique that uses as little of your native language as possible to teach you your target language.

Why Immersion is the Best Way to Learn Korean

With language immersion, you start using Korean even before you fully understand vocabulary and grammar. You start to learn about grammar and exact word definitions only after you’ve interacted with the language by listening, reading, or speaking.

Learning Korean this way helps train your brain to think in Korean. At first, you don’t know the exact grammar rules or translation behind the phrases you’re using and as a result, you can’t translate anything in your head from English to Korean or vice versa.

This is exactly what you want! When you use Korean and only know the gist of what you hear or say, you start to pick up grammar patterns and the meaning of words intuitively.

How to Immerse Yourself in the Korean Language

Typically when most people hear the word immersion they think it means getting a one-way ticket to South Korea and surrounding themselves with nothing but the Korean language.

But being surrounded by a foreign language doesn’t necessarily mean you’re learning anything. If you want to learn Korean it’s important to immerse yourself in the language at an appropriate level so that you don’t get lost or feel intimidated.

This is where language courses come in. The right Korean language course will expose you to just enough Korean to push your skills and get you thinking in the language. With an immersion-based method, you will learn Korean words in the context of full dialogues or conversations.

Listen to Korean Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to improve your listening comprehension skills and learn Korean vocabulary. When you start learning Korean it’s best to listen to podcasts specifically designed for language learning. These podcasts typically include short audio lessons that use a mix of Korean and English. As your proficiency in Korean increases, you can make the jump to podcasts that are 100% in Korean. These can either be advanced language learning podcasts or podcasts that native speakers listen to.

Check out the Best Korean Podcasts post for specific recommendations.

Download a Korean Language App

Another great way to learn Korean is with language-learning apps. There are more apps for learning Korean than ever before, so no matter what your learning style or level is you’re bound to find one that’s right for you.

There are many many good Korean apps out there, and look for ones that make you speak from the Day 1. Gamified apps are great to keep you coming back for longer “streaks”, and that’s a fine starting point, but we have reviewed a whole bunch more that deliver perhaps better overall results. Check them out here.

Watch Korean Movies and TV

Watching Korean media is an effective way to learn Korean while at the same time exposing yourself to Korean culture. Korean dramas and films are more popular than ever. If you have access to the internet you will have no shortage of movies and TV shows to choose from.

There are several ways you can use Korean media in your language learning. The first is to read through the synopsis of a movie or TV show before watching it, and then watch it without subtitles. This way you will have a general idea of what’s going on in the story, but you’ll also have to work on your listening skills to catch the finer points of the plot.

Another way to learn Korean while watching TV or movies is to take a short clip and watch it at least once without any subtitles. If you know how to write in Korean you can try to write down the words you recognize and know and try to make sense of the clip.

After you’ve watched the clip without subtitles, you can watch it again with Korean subtitles. Again make note of the words you know and the ones you don’t. Finally, if you’re still stuck you can turn on English subtitles the last time around.

This sort of exercise is great for learning new words, especially slang, idioms, and informal expressions. It will also help you practice listening to the Korean language.

Learn Hangul (Korean Alphabet)

The Korean writing system might look intimidating, but there’s good news. The Korean alphabet (called Hangul) was specifically designed to make it easy to read Korean! In Hangul, there are 14 basic consonants and 10 basic vowel letters. These basic letter symbols can be combined to form another 27 complex letters, which are read as combinations of the basic letters.

Another interesting feature of Hangul is that it’s written in syllable groups. If you want to read Hangul you’ll be happy to know that the writing system is completely phonetic, meaning that Korean is also written as it sounds.

All these features make it easy to learn Hangul. There are many free app that teach you how to read Hangul. It is actually quite simple, far easier than Thai, but the same logic. The Korean writing system is one of the most logical, if not the MOST logical system in the world!

Learn the Most Common Korean Words

One of the best ways to learn Korean fast is to focus on the most commonly used words. The truth is that in every language there are words that are used more than others. We recommended finding a list of Korean frequency words and making your own list of the 500 most commonly used nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Then take your list and use a spaced repetition flashcard program like Anki to make flashcards for each word. Anki is great because it lets you add audio and images to your flashcards which will make the words easier to remember in the long run. Add 10-20 new flashcards to your daily study deck each day and before you know it you will know a ton of useful Korean words.

Even if you don’t know enough grammar to use the words you should still take time to memorize their based forms. Once you do start learning Korean grammar then your vocabulary will explode as you will be able to pull from the most that you’ve memorized.

Listen to Korean Music

If you haven’t already noticed, K-pop (Korean pop music) is taking over the world. Artists like Black Pink and BTS are selling out stadiums worldwide, not just in South Korea. Fortunately, as a Korean learner, you can take all of this awesome music and make it part of your language-learning routine.

You can treat listening to Korean music as a listening exercise and try to pick out the words and phrases you know and understand. Alternatively, you can simply listen to the music, memorize the lyrics, and use them to increase your vocabulary knowledge.

Koreanclass101 has free downloadable ebooks to help you learn Korean with K-pop. They are definitely worth checking out! Practice speaking Korean with native speakers

Speaking Korean with real people is absolutely necessary if you want to reach fluency. For a new language learner talking to someone in a second language be intimidating. Because of this a lot of beginners opt out of speaking and instead concentrate on reading and writing in Korean.

They put off speaking until the day that they are finally ready. When they finally know enough Korean they won’t be afraid to talk. But that’s a trap. The truth is that it will never come. No matter how much time you spend studying Korean you will never feel 100% ready to start speaking it.

If you want to reach fluency sooner or later you will have to take the leap and talk with native speakers. Luckily, you don’t have to be in Korea to find someone to practice with. Look for a local Korean culture club or language exchange. If you live near a major city the odds are that there’s one in your area.

If you can find an in-person club you can take your search for a language partner online. There are handful of language exchanges out there, some are free, some have membership fee plus some extra features that are useful for Korean learners. See our Best Korean Apps post for some of the recommended ones. You can find language learners from around the world there. Odds are that there are at least a few native Korean speakers willing to help you learn Korean in return for help with their English.

Learn Korean Online with a Teacher

There is one major downside to the language exchange platforms – some (many) have become pseudo-dating apps. 🙁 It may be more than you have bargained for free language lessons. Then, go straight to online tutoring platforms! It’s easier than ever to learn Korean online with a teacher in the comfort of your own home. A Korean teacher will be able to give constructive feedback on your speaking skills. They will also provide you with learning resources and materials to help you meet your learning goals.

One of the best things about learning Korean with a teacher is that he or she will likely have a lot of experience teaching foreigners Korean. As a result, they will know what parts of the language are difficult for native English speakers, and they will also know how to help you overcome them.

We have listed a few 1-on-1 tutoring and live online group lessons in our Best Korean Apps post. Since Korean has become a major target language for many of us to study, these tutoring platforms have many Korean teachers and makes it easy to take one-on-one video lessons with them.

Master Korean Pronunciation

Mastering pronunciation is an important part of Korean learning. Unfortunately, most people who study Korean don’t look at it that way. Usually Korean pronunciation is little more than an afterthought behind speaking, reading, and writing.

Correct pronunciation is a physical skill that you can practice and perfect. To pronounce a Korean word correctly you simply have to be aware of how to place your tongue and shape your mouth. At its core that’s all good pronunciation is.

The power of speaking in a good Korean accent comes when you start talking with people in the real world. Once your brain knows how to physically form the sounds of Korean words it will be a lot easier for you to understand and remember words when you hear them in natural speech. This keeps you from getting lost when listening to Korean speakers, and it can help you learn new words you hear in a conversation just from the context of whatever is being talked about.

If you’re serious about learning to speak Korean and you want to use a method that incorporates pronunciation. We have a few favorites that really make you listen to the phrase THEN repeat it – shadowing a native speaker repeatedly is one surest way to improve your pronunciation.

Easiest Way to Learn Korean

Immersion is often considered the easiest way to learn Korean because it provides a natural and immersive environment where you are constantly exposed to the language in authentic contexts. 

In an immersive environment, you’re surrounded by the language throughout your daily life, whether it’s through conversations with native speakers, signage, media, or everyday interactions. This constant exposure helps reinforce vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation naturally.

Immersion can also be highly motivating, as you see tangible progress in your language skills through real-world interactions and experiences. The practical application of what you’ve learned reinforces your motivation to continue learning and improving.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Korean?

According to the Foreign Service Institute, English speakers typically require around 2200 hours of study to attain fluency in Korean. However, if your aim is conversational proficiency rather than full fluency, you can reach your goal faster.

It’s generally recommended to dedicate at least an hour each day to studying Korean in order to achieve fluency. At this pace, it will take around 6 years to gain fluency. Nevertheless, everyone’s learning journey is different, so your individual circumstances may mean it takes more or less time for you to reach your goals.

How to Speak Korean

To speak Korean effectively, start by mastering Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Then, gradually build your vocabulary with common words and phrases while studying grammar rules and sentence structures. Practice pronunciation by listening to native speakers and repeating phrases aloud. Engage in conversations with native speakers or language partners, beginning with simple interactions and progressing to more complex discussions. Seek feedback to improve your pronunciation and speaking skills, and utilize various language learning resources such as textbooks, online courses, and immersion experiences. Immerse yourself in Korean media and culture to further enhance your language skills.

Remember to stay patient and persistent, as speaking a new language takes time and consistent practice. With dedication and effort, you can become fluent in Korean.

How to Learn Korean for Free

There are several excellent free resources available for learning Korean.

We created a post “How to learn Korean for free” to show you that the budget constraints shouldn’t stop you from learning Korean.

By following these simple learning tips, and looking into the resources mentioned, we’re sure you’ll reach fluency in no time! All the best!

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