Before you start learning any language, there are many questions that might cross your mind. Since you landed on this post, there’s a big chance that you are pondering the question, “how long does it take to learn Korean completely?” Given that it is an Asian language that has its own unique writing system, there’s no denying that this can be a tricky language to learn for total beginners. Let’s learn more about that in today’s post!
Korean Language Learning
According to most of the renowned sources and research papers, learning Korean can be a tedious project if Korean is a new language for you. The optimal time which an average person might need to have basic conversations (around 3 minutes) would be by investing approximately 90 days which is around three months.
This is for an average learner and could vary as well. Learning Korean can take up to years, but that depends on your learning speed, your exposure to the language, and the Korean resources you use. As we have mentioned in our posts repeatedly, having the right Korean resources plays a significant role in this regard, and this means that it is possible to learn this language.
Learning Korean Sooner
The reason why you might be asking “how long does it take to learn Korean” is because you want to know if it is the right time to start and is it an easy language for you. Here’s the truth: You can learn Korean sooner or later than the time mentioned in most online sources. This is because different factors can assist you in understanding the Korean language.
Here are some ways which might speed up or slow down your Korean learning process. Choose wisely!
East Asian Languages
The Korean language has a different grammatical and lexical structure than English, so it is considered relatively tricky for English native speakers. However, compared to other East Asian languages like Chinese, Japanese, and Thai, this language is considered relatively easy. Even if the east Asian language speaker, e.g., Arabic speakers, don’t have to worry as much because of various similarities in both languages compared to native English speakers.
It is often noticed that being bilingual makes it easier to learn Korean, and therefore you can learn Korean faster. These days almost everyone knows English, and most of them have learned it as their second language. Korean as a third language takes less time to learn Korean than learning Korean as a second language.
It does not matter what language was your second language. It could be as different from Korean as possible. For instance, French, Italian or Spanish, etc. What’s important is that your brain has become flexible enough to accommodate a new language.
You would already know most of the learning methods to gain language proficiency. It is also possible that you know of many online courses, e.g., Ling App for learning new languages. This will also allow you to have a positive attitude to learn more than one language.
It is supported by scientific evidence that good learning habits develop by a previous language learning experience. Thus, foreign languages can also sharpen Korean skills and gain Korean fluency.
Language Learning Ability
Your general language learning ability also plays a huge role. Some people are better at learning languages than others. They tend to get the hang of pronunciations and grammatical rules of the new foreign language very easily. Such people would suggest that Korean can be learned in less than a year or even within months.
At the same time, some people could be highly exceptional at calculations and experiments. Still, they cannot pronounce a new sound in a language other than their native language. They have a high IQ but would not score well on the general language learning ability test.
The people who incorporate different learning strategies in their daily routine learn Korean faster than the other people.
Test Of Proficiency In Korean
TOPIK is the Test of Proficiency in Korean, which most of the students take before going to Korea. It is an important test since it allows employers and professors to know about one’s proficiency level both in academic and work environments.
If you are taking Korean studies, then the chances are that you also study Korean for the Test of Proficiency in Korean. You can study Korean better by being a part of such tests, but you still need strategies to ace the exam.
The Korean alphabet is the fundamental element of the Korean language. 60-90 minutes is considered enough for a person to learn the Korean alphabet. However, some people might tell you that this is not the case, and it takes more than that to learn the Korean alphabet.
Even though it might be true and based on experience, how they learned Korean should not be ruled out. They probably took longer if they did not take any proper course and did not have appropriate sources to learn Korean. And the individual differences also count. Below are two ways to learn the Korean alphabet effectively:
#1: Break Into Chunks
If you are learning all the alphabets in one go, you might learn them as soon as 60 minutes. But it might be hard to recall all the alphabets the next time that you are trying to remember them. Therefore, these 60 minutes need to be broken down into small chunks of, let’s say, 15 minutes per day.
Learning the Korean alphabet for 15 minutes each day can get you to ace the alphabet in four days. This does not mean that you would not have to revise again. But this will give you enough information about how you need to pronounce the alphabet and write them.
However, if you are adamant about learning Korean and are good at learning new things, then chances are that you will learn Korean within this timeframe or even sooner. Some strategies for learning faster would be by learning the alphabet for 15 minutes and utilizing the next hour or hours in writing them down.
#2: Practice Writing While Doing Something
You can watch movies and practice writing the alphabet if you feel bored. This way, those alphabets will start to be stored inside your memory, and you will be learning sooner than you aim to. Some people start reading Korean news in the newspaper to learn Korean alphabets sooner.
Some people start reading when they learn new alphabets, enhancing their Korean alphabet learning process. The more a person looks at the Korean alphabet and tries to pronounce them, the sooner they learn it.
Learning Korean Vocabulary is hard initially. People often take quite some time to get through the basic vocabulary. It is important to learn as many Korean words as possible. People complain about the Korean characters while studying Korean.
Learning vocabulary simply depends upon how much a person is practicing. For instance, if you are learning new words every day, that would not be much of a problem for you. Good as well! Are you learning Korean on the weekends/ specific days?
But if you are reading new Korean words, remembering them for some time, thinking that you have learned them, and never getting back to them again, you will have many issues.
You will be introduced to new Korean grammar rules, which can be challenging. New grammar rules would be different from the English grammar rules. The sentence structure and conjugations in the Korean language are relatively diverse and complex when you start learning Korean.
It takes quite some time to sharpen your Korean language skills.
The basic level is the easiest yet the scariest to gain. Often, people don’t start learning Korean because the alphabets are different, the pronunciations are tricky, and they feel like they might be wasting their time if they fail.
The basic level of Korean can be reached within a week or a month maximum. As much as the Korean language seems different, it is simple. It has simple spelling, which is easy to write and learn (unlike English). Its sentences structure is also simple. It’s just new and, therefore, scary.
The first few hours of Korea are new, and new things often scare us. But don’t worry, we will guide you at each step.
TOPIK’s Intermediate Level
The intermediate level of Korean takes longer than the primary level. The reason for this is that you have already gained an understanding of the basics of the Korean language, and now, it does not seem that scary and hard. But once you master the basic level of Korean, you will realize that it seems easy.
In the intermediate level, more focus is on the Korean language’s verbal elements compared to the written grammatical rules, etc. The grammatical rules are often easier once you reach the mid of the intermediate level.
How To Ace The TOPIK
To speed up this process, you could read Korean as much as you can. Watching Korean TV shows is also suggested to gain conversational fluency. Intermediate students are often moved out of the classroom setting and into the practical world.
Staying in a classroom or relying on the Korean courses only at this point can slow down the learning process, which you have invested a lot in. It is suggested to make friends with native speakers because that is the first step of gaining Korean fluency.
Your Korean language levels will help you become conversationally fluent, but you can also gain it by other means. It usually takes a year to become fluent in the Korean language.
The language experts have made specific lists with the most common words used in the Korean language. Having a basic understanding of those words can undoubtedly influence your overall fluency. If you have a native Korean speaker as a friend, then you can have a conversation with them every day. They would be teaching you new words.
Many people often refrain from having a conversation in Korean, even with Korean speakers. This is the reason why they might have all the vocabulary needed to understand or even write Korean, but no such fluency when it comes to having conversations. Not talking to a native speaker can result in taking more time to get spoken Korean fluency.
On the contrary, some people do not have much Korean vocabulary and are not comfortable reading Korean words. However, they show excellent skills while having conversations. This is because they focus on oral Korean more than written Korean.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Korean?
Back to square one. It takes around 1200 hours for an average person to reach a Korean higher intermediate level. This is the approximate time frame that needs to be utilized efficiently and strategically. This is not the time that can make you fluent in Korean. That might take up to roughly 2400 hours.
Let’s simplify it for you. If you study for 3.2 hours every day and keep it up till two years, then you can gain fluency in that time. This would be 20-25 hours per week. So you can change the number of hours that you want to dedicate every day to learning Korean.
That also depends upon the reason why you are learning. If the Korean dramas have influenced you then you don’t have to be that passionate about learning Korean. You can take it slow (as much as an hour a day would be enough). But learning Korean for professional purposes would have to invest more time.
Tip Of The Day
Learning a foreign language makes other languages easier to learn and sharpens your brain. Our brains are made up of flexible muscles, and with every new skill that we learn, new nodes are formed if you are learning a new word, then a muscle of your brain is strengthening.
This is why being multilingual comes with a lot of benefits. Our brains are not as sharp as they should be initially. But when we keep gaining more skills, they become flexible. The flexibility of the brain helps in learning more things.
So even if you study Korean as part of a semester, you should learn with all your might because it will indeed serve you more benefits than simply acing the language proficiency test.
By now, you must have gotten the answer for how long it takes to learn Korean. You should also check Easy Ways To Learn Korean By Yourself and Popular Korean Makeup Vocabulary and essential phrases if you like this blog. If you are more interested in discovering Korean and its intricacies, then there’s nothing more that we can recommend than the Ling App by Simya Solutions.
Ling App is one of the various online resources for learning languages. It can help you become fluent in Korean in no time! Start studying Korean and learn Korean fluently. It provides excellent learning methods for language learners. It’s way better than any language school, and above all, it’s completely free.