Are you interested in mastering a new Asian language? In this blog, we will walk you through 16+ easy ways which you can use to learn Korean by yourself. Contrary to common belief, mastering this language is entirely possible if only you know the best resources and ways to do it.
You can even learn Korean from the comfort of your home! So, without further ado, let’s dive in. 시작 (Sijak)!!!
Learning Korean Made Easy! Discover How:
1. Learning The Korean Alphabet
If you are learning Korean, the first and foremost thing to learn would be the Korean alphabet. The Korean alphabet is different from the English alphabet in terms of the writing system and its pronunciations. Many people leave this step since they think they will be fine with the Romanized Korean if they only want to learn how to speak Korean.
That’s not the case. You need to learn Hangul, both to speak Korean and write and read Korean. You will be speaking with an accent if you read the Romanized version of Korean words because no matter how much you try, the Romanized words having English alphabets would compel you to pronounce the words in an English accent.
For example, the alphabet “ㄹ” in Korean is a combination of r and l in the English language. Sometimes it gives the impression of l, while other times, it leaves off the impression of r. It is important not to confuse this for any English alphabet and instead try to memorize its unique sound.
You can start learning Korean by skipping this step, but you will eventually realize that it is vital to learn this. At the end of the day, you cannot just get by through just spoken interaction. If you visit the country, you will need to learn how to read signs and such written in Hangul.
2. Learn Korean Words
To improve your Korean, you must start enhancing your vocabulary. To do this, you can set a goal for yourself and memorize a particular number of words per day or per week. Once you start learning more Korean words, you will realize that your interest in the Korean language will also significantly increase. Whenever you hear/read a sentence in Korean which has a word that you are familiar with, it will instantly make you feel like your efforts are not going in vain.
When we understand a new word in a language that we are learning, our brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel accomplished and happy. The same neurotransmitter is also responsible for motivation, so knowing more words can help you understand Korean better and thus feel more motivated to learn the language.
You can use countless resources on the internet to learn new words. Ling app can come in handy since we have uploaded many blogs that could help you enhance your knowledge, like Korean health vocabulary, airport vocabulary, motivational phrases, books to learn Korean, and daily life vocabulary.
Korean Word Families
In the Korean language, there are different word families or 합성어 (hapseongeo), which you can learn. These words usually contain one root word which can be used. For example, many colors in Korean have a specific root word 색 (saeg) in them; red is 빨간색 (ppalgansaeg), white is 하얀색 (hayansaeg), and black is 검은 색 (geom-eun saeg). Similarly, countries have 국 (gug), and languages have 인 (in) in them.
3. Learn Korean Grammar
Korean has its own set of rules which it follows while forming sentences, conjugating verbs, and learning about honorifics are important. As a Korean language expert, I cannot emphasize how significant these are. For a native Korean speaker, not using current honorifics would be a big deal even if they let go of other things.
4. Learn About Korean Honorifics
As a part of the Korean language, learning the words and conjugations around honorifics is essential. You can make two columns on your notepad while making notes. One column can include all the words, phrases, and conjugations, including how to make formal questions, statements, and responses. The other column can include all the points which signify an informal way of writing the same thing.
Once you learn the basics, you can also make another column with some neutral ways. For instance, separate the familiar words from those words you are only supposed to use with strangers of your age. That could include words with a middle ground that can show informality and contain respect in it.
5. Make Sentences In The Korean Language
Have you ever been in a situation wherein you know many Korean words, but you constantly feel shy before saying a sentence in Korean out loud? Why is that so? That is because you know the words, but you have not learned how to use them. It is like having a whole bag of milk and apples and not knowing how to make an apple shake.
So once you are done learning some basic grammar rules, you can start making sentences in Korean. Korean words are enough for you to make sentences if you know some basic grammar rules.
For instance, if you have learned how to write a sentence in a formal way, then try making more sentences using the same pattern. Similarly, you could also learn how to make a sentence using the informal version and thus make more sentences in Korean using the same rule.
6. Write More!
I often get asked how to remember the words in Korean. People who study Korean are often seen complaining about forgetting Korean words. They tend to remember words one day, but they forget the words after a week or so. One way to retain Korean vocabulary is to write those words down.
Here’s the truth: Studying Korean demands you to write down all the Korean alphabet and phrases repeatedly. You cannot expect yourself to read Hangul like a pro if you have never written it. Always keep a register or notepad with you to write Korean words and phrases.
Many people type notes on laptops or save screenshots to remember the words. Let’s be honest, we never open those screenshots, and they get lost in the storm of other images in our gallery. Having a separate register can help us in learning Korean better.
According to research, handwritten notes are more helpful when we are trying to learn something as compared to digital notes or notes made by someone else. There are different ways of taking notes and writing Korean. Here are two of the best ways to make notes in Korean.
7. Use A Graph Paper
Korean words are written in blocks from left to right. There are different kinds of block orders in the Korean language. In one block, only one alphabet can fit. Using a loose block sheet can help you in improving your Korean handwriting. In addition to having better Korean writing, you will also start remembering the position of each alphabet in a better way.
Research at Cambridge University suggests that our eyes and brains get used to the positions in which we write alphabets. Even if we change the alphabet inside a word, keeping the first and last alphabet the same gives us the same effect. Don’t believe me? Try reading this.
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8. Make Organized Notes
Would you want to read a paper full of ink spills, oil stains, and words that you can barely read without concentrating a lot? No, right? This is why you should make nice and even pretty notes if possible. There are countless images on Pinterest and YouTube which are giving tutorials on how to make aesthetic notes. Graph paper also makes the notes look clean and organized.
You should use dividers/ separators which separate your notes into three main sections: Korean Words, Practice Sentences, and Korean Grammar Rules. You can learn words and grammar rules and make notes about them. After that, you can use the words and apply the grammar rule which you have learned to make sentences. Also, don’t forget to get your sentences checked!
While you are learning how to make notes using different sections and title separators etc., don’t get too involved. Often, we get distracted from what we were supposed to do and start putting all of our efforts into making pretty notes and posting them on Instagram. Remember that your emphasis should be on making the notes presentable and readable, focusing more on the content than the outlook.
9. Use Flashcards!
You can make your flashcards so that you remember the words easily. If you are an absolute beginner and want to self-study the Korean language, then this step is a must for you. You can start with simple words, take it up a notch, and start writing complex words.
Whatever you think is your weak point while studying Korean, use flashcards for it. You can write a Korean word on one side of the flashcard and write its meaning on the other side. You can also write a word like “Present Tense” and write the grammar rule on the other side. Another idea is to write root words on one side and write their 합성어 (hapseongeo), aka compound words, on the other side.
10. Watch Korean Tutorial YouTube Videos
YouTube is a great resource when it comes to learning a new language. Countless channels offer proper courses to learn Korean. Most of the courses are paid and only have a chunk of information on their YouTube channel. But that information can be enough for starters.
YouTube videos are also great because they are free and easily accessible. You can use YouTube anywhere and everywhere. You can also download videos and playlists (downloadable ones) to listen to even when you don’t have internet. Some Korean language learning videos can have extra information which might not be of any use to you, so you can simply skip that or play it at 1.5x or 2x speed.
11. Use Language Learning Applications
There are different applications and websites to learn Korean from. You can look into those and choose the one that seems the best for you. Now you must be wondering, “Wow, it’s a long list, but I don’t have enough time to try all these and choose for myself.” We know that it’s a busy world, so we wrote here The 5 Best Language Learning Apps in 2021.
We have already done all the hard work to start learning right away. We have reviewed all applications for you and even compared each for your convenience. For instance, Rosetta Stone Vs. Duolingo, Rosetta Stone Vs. Mondly, LingoDeer Vs. Duolingo, and Drops Vs. Lingvist, and many more blogs for you. So feel free to read all these before you choose a good fit for yourself.
The Ling app will be the best option if you want to find all the resources in one place. You can try all the apps, but why not try the application which provides all the benefits under one umbrella? You can learn new words, make sentences, learn grammar rules, learn traditions in each culture, know about each language’s trends and scope, and get excellent feedback from our professionals.
12. Make Friends With Korean Speakers
Having Korean native speakers as friends is such a huge advantage. Having someone to have a conversation in Korean with can significantly improve your Korean. Not only will you be gaining more vocabulary, but you will also have someone who can tell you your mistakes and help you correct them.
You and your Korean friends can also help each other with the language exchange. While they help you in their own language, you can also assist them in learning English. They can also guide better while understanding Korean culture.
It is also important to make friends with other Korean language learners. Those language learners would share the same goals as you do. Having a language partner will definitely make your language-learning journey better. You can even join a club for Korean learning and study Korean effectively.
13. Watch Korean Dramas
Many of you must be reading this blog because you are a Korean Drama fan or a K-pop lover, so this tip is not for you (since you already religiously follow this). Korean dramas can give a glimpse into Korean culture and Korean grammar. Korean text is mostly formal and can help you form sentences, but to hold a conversation with a Korean person, knowing the slang and colloquial speech is important.
Korean dramas and shows are especially helpful in this regard. You can learn new words every day. If you are watching a Korean drama and you hear a Korean speaker say a word in Korean, e.g., 아니요 (aniyo), make sure to write it down along with its meaning (which you can get from subtitles) and practice later.
Once you master the phrases, sentences, and vocabulary of intermediate, then you can also switch the subtitles from English to Korean to test your knowledge and Korean listening skills.
14. Read Korean Books For Children
You can get yourself a Korean book for toddlers or children to read. It could be an educational book or a storybook in Korean. Reading in Korean can help you in learning new vocabulary. This will also enhance your reading habit, which can benefit you in memorizing more information.
Technology has made things easier for us, and now most books also come with audio recordings. You could try to read Korean and listen to it at the same time. It might take a few weeks to develop the habit of reading in Korean, but once you get used to it, you will actually start enjoying it.
You can underline all the words you cannot understand and then ask someone. If you do not have anyone to help, you can also use google translate (good for words, but for making sentences, it can be a bad idea). Reading Korean text can help you sharpen your reading skills.
15. Practice Korean Rhymes
Another fun way to learn Korean is by learning Korean rhymes. There are different rhymes which Korean people love to sing to their children. Some of the most famous ones are 곰 세마리가 한집에 있어 (Gom se mari ga han ji be i su) and 멋쟁이 토마토 (meotjaengi tomato).
These are the two Korean rhymes that almost everyone seems to know about. The first one is about three bears, while the second one is about tomatoes. Memorizing these rhymes and breaking them down can definitely help with learning more words in the Koran language.
16. Practice More Everyday!
Practice makes a man perfect. This saying is the key to success, especially while learning the Korean language. You can study for days, but if you don’t practice, there is no way for you to remember all that. It is essential to read a lot and write a lot daily.
You should set a goal for yourself that you need to accomplish. As mentioned earlier in this blog, if you are a Korean learner, then practice writing as much as possible. Apart from writing, another main aspect is practicing pronunciation.
Also, saying the words aloud when you hear them can improve your speaking skills. It will help if you practice speaking with native speakers since they can pinpoint the mistakes that other Korean learners might overlook. Pronunciation practice in Korean is also important because the Korean alphabet is way different from the English alphabet.
You can also have phone calls with native speakers to improve your Korean pronunciation and speed up your Korean learning process.
17. Learn Relevantly
If you are learning on your own, then an important question to ask yourself is why you are learning. Once you know that, start gaining material around your cause. For example, if you are learning Korean for your studies, you should learn more about the school, school essentials, professors, honorifics, etc.
However, if Korean media inspire you, you most probably want to learn Korean to converse with a native Korean speaker and understand their dramas and songs. For that, you should learn Korean slang words, funny phrases, and vocabulary for daily activities like cooking in Korean, etc.
18. Know Your Learning Style
Last but not least, and probably the most crucial point before learning Korean (or any language per se), would be KNOWING YOUR LEARNING PATTERN. We can go on and on about the best tips and tricks which could help you learn Korean on your own to the extent that the list would never finish. But the most crucial part is to know one’s style of learning.
Many people learn basic phrases in Korean first, and once they master that, they switch to learning Hangul and going other ways. Many people can memorize the words repeatedly, while some can learn the best by listening to and reading Korean comments in dramas and movies.
As the proverb goes, to each their own. It would help if you always remembered that each individual in this world is unique and different. Our brains are wired differently than other people. This is why no matter how many ways we learn to get better at Korean, we can never know what’s best for us until we try.
In this blog, we gave you a head start with a myriad of ways to help you begin the journey of learning Korean. But it is your task now to implement all of these points in your everyday practice. Experiment with each way and form your own unique schedule. This will help you learn in a specific manner and make you feel like you are in control of your learning, and you will be more motivated to learn.
Are You Ready To Learn Korean?
Follow these simple tips to start learning Korean by yourself, and you will see how you improve in no time. Pronounce Korean words, and write them down, but most importantly, have fun while you do so.
Studying a new language can also be a fun experience, especially if you love the language, and I’m sure you love Korean.
And, of course, you can continue your amazing Korean learning experience with the Ling app. A one-of-a-kind learning app will help you speak Korean to understand your favorite Kdrama or Kpop songs.