The Korean language is very easy to learn. A few years ago, I got into watching a lot of Japanese TV series and movies, so I decided to learn the Japanese language, Nihongo. It was easy to learn words and phrases, but when I started to learn their syllabary, I got stuck. That’s when I decided to learn Korean instead.
Please note that this is just based on my experience, and I am in no way an expert. I am sure that everyone learns differently, but I would like to share how I did it. In my opinion, my Korean is in elementary level. To me, this means that, as a traveler, I can survive getting around South Korea without a lot of issues. I don’t think I can talk to anyone about politics though.
Why you should learn Korean:
- If you love watching K-Dramas, then knowing basic phrases will help you skip reading the subtitles!
- Are you a traveler? Being able to read street signs, the food menu, and knowing where to buy emergency medicine from a 약국, will make your life easier.
- A KPOP fan? I bet you have tweeted your oppa, and used Google translate. Lost in translation, that’s what you’ll be!
Where to start leaning Korean:
- Learn Hangul first.
Don’t be afraid of the Hangeul. It is very easy to learn. You can learn it in a day!
In my experience, it was easier for me to learn through mobile applications (apps) and writing down notes while I studied. I downloaded an app called TenguGo Korean, it’s free, and I also bought steno notebooks to aid my studies. There are 24 letters and 27 digraphs in the Korean alphabet. It is written in blocks of 2, 3, or 4 characters. Check out this post at udemy blog to quickly checkout the Korean alphabet.
- Learn sentence structures.
In Korean, the sentence is formed using “subject + verb” or “subject + object + verb”. When you’re aware of this, it will be easy to construct sentences.
It may be a bit confusing to a non-Korean speaker, so it is very important to listen until the end of the sentence to know what the speaker is telling you.
- Purchase books.
I usually learn by example, and it is easier for me to learn when I see how it is written or how it is done. I purchased different books from National Bookstore and Fullybooked. They have a good selection of language study guides. This is where I learned the basic grammar and tenses. Another good source of eBooks is from TTMIK store.
- Watch Korean TV shows.
One of the best ways to learn is to watch variety shows. It is the norm in Korean variety shows to include captions during their broadcast. It helped me learn new words and improve my spelling. But be wary, most variety shows use slang, so do take note of that.
When I watch Korean Dramas, I listen to what the actors are saying while reading the subtitles. I picked up a lot of common words and phrases that Koreans use in everyday life.
- Listen to Korean ballads
It is known that learning through music is very effective, so does learning Korean while listening to KPOP. Not necessarily KPOP, but through ballads. I was able to polish my pronunciations, as well as my vocabulary. You can easily look up the lyrics of the song, and translate the words into English. Most lyrics are easier to learn because they are already translated to English.
- Learning via Talk To Me In Korean
TTMIK is one of the best resources out there. They have divided their lessons into different levels. Each lesson is short enough so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. You can listen to the audio while reading the .pdf files from their website. Subscribe to their Youtube channel!
- Watching YouTube videos
Like I mentioned, TTMIK has a YouTube channel, so I watch their video lessons. Another good resource is Professor Oh of Sweet and Tasty. Watch all her KWOW videos, and you will definitely learn a whole lot of Korean for everyday use. There are so many resources on YouTube with different methods on how to learn the language. Just do a quick search!
- Practice makes perfect.
Well, not really perfect, but good enough to get by. Sometimes I annoy my family by talking to them in Korean. Also, I live alone, so I practice by myself in front of the mirror. I am not crazy, but I talk to myself in Korean, or while watching a drama, I comment loudly in Korean!
Nothing is impossible to learn as long as you are willing to spend time and effort to acquire the skills. Learning a new language is a life skill. You don’t lose anything when you already have it. It’s a win-win situation, so I urge you, learn a new language today!