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Korean Resources

Teuida App
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Teuida is a Korean learning app that’s available for iOS and Android, with instructions in English or Vietnamese. The app takes a unique approach to language teaching by simulating conversations, including some featuring K-Pop star Nancy from Momoland. Users of the app have the opportunity to get lots of speaking practice and feedback on pronunciation through voice recognition technology.

Caption Pop
Price: Free, Premium subscriptions start at $10/mo
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With CaptionPop you can use YouTube videos to pursue your language learning endeavours using subtitles in both your target language and native language. Tap a single key to repeat the last caption, slow down the playback speed, and bookmark subtitles to study with SRS interactive flashcards. The flashcards will not just have you memorize words, but practice dictations with immediate feedback on your accuracy. Unfortunately there are currently some bugs in the programming, and you may only hear part of the caption you are being asked to transcribe.

You can search for Youtube videos in your target language within the CaptionPop platform, but only those videos with subtitles in both your target language and your native language are available. This means that you will rely on captions translated and transcribed by the video’s creators, which improves your language learning experience but restricts the amount of available Youtube content. Nevertheless, there is a good amount of content from popular channels in more common languages.

The free version of the platform combined with self-made Anki cards may be a better option than subscribing to the premium version, as the bugs in CaptionPop’s programming may not be worth the monthly payment.

Catch It Korean
Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $32.99/mo
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Catch It Korean is an ultra gamified language learning app — with your avatar as a guide, you will travel to different rooms in a number of buildings to practice different skills, challenge and chat with friends, reinforce your vocabulary with different games, and battle against other users or an AI.

Although there are some exercises in more advanced levels that will have you spell the words one morphosyllabic block at a time, you will mostly learn new words in context and through chunking words together. This way you can familiarize yourself with common phrases that usually go together. The app uses pretty decent voice recognition software to check your pronunciation, and you can even record yourself as you listen to the audio recording of the phrase.

Going through every level will teach you over 9000 Korean words. You should probably familiarize yourself with the Korean alphabet and basic sounds before diving into the app, as it jumps into learning words and phrases right way. You will need another resource to support your learning, but Catch It seems to be a fun and effective resource to expand your vocabulary.

It is also available for Korean speakers to learn English in “Catch It English”.

Eggbun
Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions cost $17.99/mo, $30.99/quarter, $94.99/year
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Learning with Eggbun is like text messaging a very enthusiastic friend. The 2-minute lessons take place in a chat box with a character named Lanny (who might literally be an egg bun). This review will focus on the Korean app, but the Japanese version has a similar lesson style (and the Chinese version is still under development).

Lanny clearly explains the different sounds that Korean consonants can make depending on where they are located in a word. You will receive practical pronunciation tips for each new jamo, and you will be typing out your first words on a Korean keyboard before the end of the first lesson.

After the writing lessons, you can explore both casual and formal language through cultural notes, dialogues, dictations, multiple-choice questions, fill in the blanks, role plays, and more. There are even entire sections dedicated to special topics, such as pronunciation, borrowed words, and verb conjugations.

Whether you want to learn survival Korean, business Korean, or real-life conversations, Eggbun seems like an effective app for beginners to build their confidence in basic Korean conversation.

How to study Korean
Price: Free, Add-ons start at $5
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How to Study Korean explains concepts from the perspective of a non-Korean speaker. It is a thorough grammar and vocabulary guide for beginner to intermediate students that will set you up for success in your Korean studies. This may not be the best option if you prefer learning through interaction and bite-sized pieces of information, as each lesson can be over 12 pages long excluding the hands-on exercises — however, the lessons will give you an intimate understanding of sentence structure, allowing you to build your own sentences rather than just learning basic phrases.

There are 7 units, each with 25 lessons (plus quizzes and a test). Each lesson includes twenty to thirty new words, grammar explanations, and audio recordings of every Korean word and sentence. Furthermore, the authors have inputted all the vocabulary words into free Memrise decks for your convenience.

In the earlier lessons, there are YouTube videos with sentence practice, dictations, reading practice, and more. Every lesson has accompanying purchasable supplementary material to support your studies — you can buy workbooks and vocabulary lists to accompany the lessons, and short stories meticulously developed by Seulgi and Will.

You can read many of the beginner lessons from the perspective of multiple languages, including Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese (then only Spanish after unit 3).

itranslate
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iTranslate is a dictionary, thesaurus, and phrasebook. At first glance, it seems similar to Google Translate’s free app, but a couple of extra paid features make a big difference.

Like with Google Translate, you can take pictures of text in your surroundings, such as signs or newspapers, and receive instant translations into your native language. It differs in that you can also take pictures of objects in your surroundings and receive translations into your target language (although it’s not clear what the boundaries are on this function).

Two people who don’t speak the same language can use iTranslate Converse as a mediator between them, translating each sentence to create a transcript on their phone (with a slight delay). You can also use the iTranslate Keyboard in any texting app to receive instant translations.

To get the most out of your subscription, iTranslate includes five different apps that can support language learning and communication through text, voice, and games. Although iTranslate translates into over 100 languages, check the website to verify which languages are supported in the other apps.

iTranslate seems suitable for traveling and communication in different languages. If all you need is a dictionary to support your studies, try WordReference and Linguee, or Pleco for Chinese and SpanishDict for Spanish.

YouGlish
Price: Free
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YouGlish is a website that has indexed millions of video clips to put words in context for language learners. After searching for a word in your target language, you will see a YouTube video with subtitles and your target word highlighted in yellow. When you have heard the word, you can continue listening to the video or move on to the next example. You can also slow down the speed of the audio, click on a sentence in the transcript to replay it, or skip backwards 5 seconds to listen again. Sometimes you can watch over 1000 videos with your target word, other times there may only be a couple dozen available.

Some languages also allow you to choose between different regional dialects, such as: French from Canada or France; Chinese from Taiwan or China; and Spanish from Spain or Latin America.

You will need to search for the word in your target language, so you can check out WordReference or Linguee to get a translation. Forvo also provides audio clips of native speaker pronunciation, but with YouGlish, you can practice listening to these words in context.

If you want help with reading the subtitles, you can download Readlang for on-screen translations. The Zhongwen Chrome extension will be better for Chinese learners, as it provides the pronunciation of each character as well as a definition.

Olly Richards Short Stories
Price: Kindle books start at $6.55
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Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language, has written a series of short stories for high-beginners to improve their reading skills in several languages. He also has a 101 Conversations series, but this review focuses on his Short Stories.

Most of the languages use the most common words in your target language, with natural phrases that you would overhear locals using while conversing amongst each other. In every language, the plot follows the same characters and adventures, with some adjustments for cultural differences.

The intro to each book provides a practical overview of how to maximize your learning. At the end of each chapter, you will see a summary of the plot, a vocabulary list of new words (that are also bolded in the stories), and comprehension questions. The comprehension questions are simple, allowing you to find the responses directly in the text.

Overall, the Kindle version of Olly’s short stories seems worth the investment for upper beginners to improve their language abilities. If you’re learning Chinese, check out the Mandarin Companion series. Also, A1 – A2 Spanish learners can enjoy several short novels in the ESLC and Read It! series.

Sejong Korean
Price: Free
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Sejong Korean was developed by the King Sejong Institute Foundation in Korea. Their free, high-quality textbooks, mobile apps, YouTube channel, and comics are all excellent supplementary materials for your Korean studies. Unfortunately, the website has some navigation issues that cause some frustration.

Sejong Korean’s mobile apps cover beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels on the topics of grammar, conversation, news, and pronunciation. Additionally, the website has many Korean comics with English translations on the side. These offer insight into Korean culture from Korean and non-Korean points of view. There is also a video section with embedded Korean YouTube videos that include game shows, K-Pop songs, and interviews.

You can check out the three dozen high-quality textbooks with downloadable audio files available for free on the website. These cover speaking, writing, listening, and reading. Unfortunately, the books must be read online on a finicky interface.

You may want to avoid the course section, as these courses are not easy to navigate on the website. You are probably better off following the lessons on their YouTube channel instead. Additionally, although they offer ‘beginner’ courses, these are only for students who have a solid foundation of basic Korean.

Overall, Sejong Korean’s website may be frustrating to navigate, but the individual resources are worth the effort.

Lang Workbooks
Price: $5.99
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For learners of languages that use unfamiliar writing systems, the Lang Workbooks series can be a helpful and practical way to master the intricacies of writing in their target languages. Among numerous other writing systems, the series includes the Korean, Russian Cyrillic, and Armenian alphabets; Persian and Thai script; the Hindi Devanāgarī abugida; Chinese characters; and Japanese Hiragana and Katakana. The series also covers languages that use the Latin alphabet with diacritical (accent) marks, such as French, German, and Portuguese.

Many books in the series have been translated into other languages, such as Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. The series also covers writing systems that may have fewer available resources for learners, such as Lao script and the Cherokee syllabary.

Each book in the series presents its featured writing system with suggested pronunciations. The practice pages in each workbook have useful features for each letter, symbol, or character, such as a recommended stroke order, font variations, example words, and a “Trace and Learn” section.

Each workbook is relatively inexpensive. In addition, the publishers of the series have granted teachers and students a license to make photocopies of the workbook pages for personal use, so you can get unlimited chances to practice. Considering the depth of information in each language’s workbook, the books in this series can provide great value for learners.