Did you know that you need at least 2200 hours to attain fluency when studying the Korean language? If you’re in a rush, you need 88 weeks of serious learning sessions to master it. This sounds like a great challenge, so check out these difficult Korean words to test your knowledge!
There are a handful of ways to learn Korean. You may hire tutors if you have some extra cash or do self-study with different applications and websites. But once you’re done with those sessions, you’re still left with several words that you need to learn on your own. Are you prepared to take on a dare like this?
You may wonder how it is possible that learning the Korean alphabet seemed like a piece of cake, but the language itself is a tough code to crack. Suppose you find it easy to write in Korean, then give yourself a pat on the back as you enter a realm with confusing rules.
Korean words aren’t as simple as they seem, the pronunciation, word order, and even the grammar can be confusing. So, if you’re prepared for a brain workout, read further!
Most Difficult Korean Words
Occasionally the most basic Korean words can shock the life out of you. With the repetitive tones and confusing spellings, you might end up giving up. But don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it once you practice these difficult Korean words!
1. 일요일 (Il-Yo-Il)- Sunday
[Speechword voice=”Korean Female” isinline]일요일[/Speechword]
As you may notice, it’s a very simple Korean word, but for English-speaking individuals, you may have a hard time with its pronunciation. It becomes a difficult word because the way you articulate it is in between “r” and “l.” Confusing, isn’t it? You have to keep your tongue steady behind your teeth as you say the “Il” and not push it far from it.
2. 똑똑한 (Tteuk-Tteuk-Han)- Smart
[Speechword voice=”Korean Female” isinline]똑똑한[/Speechword]
It’s one of the most common Korean words that you’ll either hear in variety shows or Korean dramas. If you know their alphabet, then you’re probably aware that ㄷ is d/t. Meaning it’s also between saying “d” or “t” in English. Plus, you even have to consider the pronunciation of the two “tt” in this word, if you try listening to it for the first time, you won’t even notice it. But Koreans are keen to sound, so they can easily spot the difference if you say this word incorrectly.
3. 경찰청 (Gyeong-Chal-Cheong)- Police Station
[Speechword voice=”Korean Female” isinline]경찰청[/Speechword]
Aside from the overwhelming and confusing pronunciation of ㄱ (g/k) in South Korea, you’ll also encounter ㅊ(ch). If you’re a non-English or English speaker, you may occasionally have a hard time saying ㅊ (ch) consecutive times. Koreans also have a hard time saying this word as the “ch” sound can really twist your tongue.
4. 계획 (Gyehoek)- Plan
[Speechword voice=”Korean Female” isinline]계획[/Speechword]
We’ve been through the confusing sound of ㄱ (g/k), but to add more challenge to your journey, here’s another vowel that puts creases on your forehead. Simple Korean words like 계획 (Gyehoek) have an “oe” vowel, and you pronounce it like “hwe” and not “he.” Pretty tough, don’t you think?
5. 맛있다 (Masitda)- Delicious
[Speechword voice=”Korean Female” isinline]맛있다[/Speechword]
Having adjectives like this in your vocabulary is mandatory since their dishes really deserve this compliment. However, as a foreigner, you’ll probably experience difficulty in saying this word. People may occasionally say “Madita” instead of its actual pronunciation, which has a “sh” sound. Beware of the d/t letters too!
6. 교통체증 (Gyotongchejeung)- Traffic Jam
[Speechword voice=”Korean Female” isinline]교통체증[/Speechword]
Upon seeing this word, you probably could tell why it’s one of the most difficult words. Again with the ㄱ (g/k) consonant and the ㅊ (ch), this really calls for good practice. So, if you’re not a fluent Korean speaker, it would give you a hard time pronouncing it.
Easy Ways To Learn Korean Pronunciation
Learning Korean words is quite a challenge, even the most basic ones. But with the right techniques, you’ll eventually master and fluently say these words like a pro. Here are some steps that you can incorporate into your everyday life!
1. Familiarize Yourself With The Korean Alphabet
There are plenty of Romanized basic Korean words that’ll confuse you. But once you get to learn how to read Hangeul, every word and sentence will be easier for you to decipher. But of course, you must not forget to explore their sentence structure and grammar, as it’ll also be a great help in further understanding their language.
2. Listen To Natives
Immerse yourself in the Korean language by listening to native speakers. This will help you develop an ear for the sounds and rhythms of the language. Watch Korean movies and dramas, or listen to Korean music to expose yourself to natural Korean pronunciation.
3. Practice Reading Syllables
Use resources such as textbooks, online tutorials, or language learning apps to practice reading Korean syllables. Start with simple syllables and gradually move on to more complex ones. Pay attention to the pronunciation of each syllable and try to mimic native speakers.
4. Practice Tongue And Mouth Placement
Pay attention to how your tongue, mouth, and lips move when producing different Korean sounds. Experiment with the position of your tongue to match the correct pronunciation. Mimicking native speakers can help you understand the proper tongue-and-mouth placement.
5. Get Feedback
If possible, find a Korean language exchange partner, tutor, or join a language learning community where you can get feedback on your pronunciation. Native speakers can provide guidance, correct any mistakes, and help you improve.
6. Practice Regularly
Consistency is key when it comes to learning pronunciation. Practice speaking Korean regularly, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will become with Korean pronunciation.
Want To Learn More About The Korean Language? Try Ling Today!
Did these words challenge you? There surely are a lot more difficult Korean words that’ll stress you out in the long run, and of course, you’ll need someone— something to help you out. Ling is here to specifically aid you with this matter.
Spending 20 minutes of your time with the app helps you easily understand and grasp different meanings of words. You can even challenge yourself by taking quizzes and exercises that’ll juice out all that extra knowledge! Download Ling today on Play Store and App Store to start your language learning journey for FREE!