Best Way to Learn Korean – 10 Expert Tips

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Written By Francesca Stephens

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Learning Korean is challenging. But it’s not as hard as you might think.

With the right learning source and methods, it can actually be interesting and very enjoyable.

So, if you’re wondering what is the best way to learn Korean, you should try to find the one that works for you.

If you find a learning source that fits your learning style and needs, you’ll undoubtedly achieve your goals.

You just need to be patient – it takes time to learn a new language.

But with these tips for learning Korean, you can make the most of your lesson time, regardless of what your learning source is.

And if you follow these steps, you’ll have fun along the way too!  

10 Best Ways to Learn Korean

If there are no Korean classes in your area, don’t worry. There are other ways to learn Korean.

In fact, with so many fantastic online resources, you can learn Korean in a quick and easy way.

And you can do it from the comfort of your home.

However, there’s no magical, superfast way to learn Korean by yourself. It’s all about your inner motivation, self-discipline, and perseverance.

Plus, you’ll probably come across some roadblocks on your learning journey. But that doesn’t mean you’re not good at languages.

And that’s why we’re writing this article – to help you minimize potential problems and make your Korean lessons as efficient and as enjoyable as possible.

1. Find a good learning source

First of all, you need to find a reliable learning source.

We know this sounds obvious. But it’s easy to feel lost among all the choices available to you these days.

There are online Korean courses, game-like apps, flashcard apps, online tutoring…

So, how to choose the best Korean learning source for you?

Well, you need to know what your learning style is.

Are you a visual or an aural learner? Do you want to learn on the go?

Best way to learn Korean

Furthermore, you should set clear, realistic goals. If you want to reach fluency, try to break down your goals into actionable steps.

Think about your reasons for wanting to learn Korean for a minute.

If you want to learn Korean because you’re planning a trip to Seoul, you should find a program that will teach you practical vocab useful for traveling.

And if you want to become a fluent speaker, you should combine different sources and perhaps find an online teacher.

Either way, finding good Korean classes and study tools should be your first step.

If you decide to explore different resources during your learning process, that’s fine. But it would be good to find a primary source that will provide you with structure and regular lessons.

2. Use a language learning app

One of the ways to add structure to your learning process is by using a language-learning app.

Luckily, there are many great Korean learning apps out there.

They are affordable (and some of them are free), convenient, and fun.

But more importantly, they are effective. They use online study tools, smart technology, and modern learning methods.

One of the most popular apps for learning Korean is Rocket Korean (from Rocket Languages.)

Rocket Korean

Rocket Korean is focused on the development of all main language skills: writing, speaking, listening, and reading.

The app is a mix of audio tracks, video clips, interactive exercises, and useful study tools.

And it has speech recognition technology to help you master your Korean pronunciation.

So, the Rocket Korean app will teach you all about the language as well as Korean culture.

But it won’t overwhelm you with too much information at once. Lessons are short and comprehensible. They are designed to be taken in a linear fashion, but you can also jump back and forth.

Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of using an app to learn Korean. You can learn at your own pace and choose what you want to focus on.

And you can learn on the go – you just need your phone.

Best Korean learning apps

Without a doubt, language apps like Rocket Korean can help you fit language learning into your daily routine.

After all, taking bite-sized lessons is better than spending hours with a textbook or an app. You need to give yourself time to internalize new information.

But Korean apps will help you memorize everything. Many of them use spaced repetition – it’s an effective memory technique based on recalling certain facts at specific time intervals.

And it’s not all about study tools and memory techniques – language apps also feature games, quizzes, and challenges.

It’s important to add fun to your learning process. That’s how you’ll stay motivated. Plus, games and quizzes are a good way to test and strengthen your knowledge.

3. Learn Hangul

One of the first things you need to learn is the Korean alphabet.

Many people find learning the Korean writing system very intimidating. But try not to see it that way.

Hangul is a quite logical system.

The word Hangul comes from the Chinese characters 韓㐎 – “Han” means “Korean” and “gul” means “letter.”

The alphabet consists of consonants and vowels that form syllable blocks. There are 14 consonants and 10 vowels, to be more precise.

There are several techniques that can help you memorize them. Most of them are based on associations and stories.

You can create your own associations too – simply look at the letter and say the first thing that pops into your head. Maybe the letter reminds you of an animal, or a part of the body, or something else…

Visual cues and associations are very important, especially if you’re a visual learner.

You should also have audio tracks to learn how each letter is pronounced. Luckily, the Korean alphabet sounds have a lot of similarities to the English alphabet.

So, you shouldn’t be afraid of learning how to write in Korean.

After all, you can’t travel to Korea without being able to read. And being able to get around a foreign country with confidence should be one of the biggest advantages of learning a new language, right?

The Korean alphabet

At first glance, the Korean alphabet might look strange and confusing. And impossible to master.

But as you progress, you’ll get more comfortable with Hangul characters. You just need to practice.

4. Build your vocabulary

Now you need to start building your vocabulary.

You can start with commonly-used words and popular expressions.

Try to learn them through context. That’s a more effective and natural way of learning a new language.

Of course, you can create word lists. But if you see the word in context first, you’ll understand it better. And you’ll learn basic grammar concepts and sentence structure.

Also, you can learn Korean words quickly by breaking them down into components.

Learning loan words is also very helpful. English loan words (or Konglish) have been appropriated into Korean. For example, 센스 (sen-seu) is a Konglish word for someone who can read situations well (similar to sensing something.)

You can also take advantage of Korean word families. For example, the world languages all end with the same “어(eo)” syllable – “dorigeo” is the German language, and “italliaeo” is the Italian language.

These tricks can help you acquire the Korean vocabulary a little faster.

The important thing is to focus on the practical vocabulary useful for everyday life conversations and situations.

5. Use flashcards

If you want to learn new words properly, you should find a good aid in memorization.

And vocabulary flashcards are a classic solution.

Flashcard is a card bearing information on both sides. So, you can write a Korean word on one side and the English translation on another.

You can use a flashcard app or download Korean flashcards.

You can also create your own set of flashcards. The very act of making a flashcard will help you memorize that word.

Writing the romanization of Korean words as reading guide is also helpful.

6. Watch Korean TV

And now comes the fun part: watching Korean TV shows and movies.

The thing is, you need to surround yourself with the Korean language.

And if you’re planning to visit Korea anytime soon, you should do it in your own home.

You can start by choosing a Korean TV show or a movie. There’s a lot of Korean content on Netflix, for example. From the popular “Squid Game” to classic Korean movies.

In the beginning, watch a TV show with subtitles. This will help you pick up new words.

Learning Korean

If you want, you can also write them down. Focus on repetitive words first, and pay attention to the way that they’re pronounced.

That said, you should pick a casual TV show with lots of everyday conversations first.

When you feel confident enough, you can watch it without subtitles. But even if you feel like you can’t understand a lot, watching Korean TV without subtitles will force you to guess words from context.

And learning how to guess words from context is very useful.

After all, you’re never going to learn all the Korean words.

Nevertheless, watching movies and TV shows in Korean will undoubtedly increase your comprehension.

And you won’t even notice you’re actually studying.

7. Listen to Korean music and podcasts

Another fun way to surround yourself with the Korean language is to listen to Korean podcasts and songs.

If you’re just starting out, find simple, casual podcasts focused on a topic you’re familiar with.

Even if you just listen to it passively, you’ll make some progress.

You’ll get used to the rhythm, accent, and natural flow of the language.

You’ll expand your vocabulary too.

Discovering Korean singers and artists can also be interesting. And if you’re into K-pop, even better. Just make sure you don’t pick songs with a lot of English in them.

But Korean music isn’t only K-pop. You just need to do some digging.

Nonetheless, listening to Korean songs can improve your language skills – it can help you learn the correct pronunciation and popular expressions.

And it will bring you closer to Korean art and culture.

8. Practice reading

Don’t forget about practicing reading too.

Try to pick up Korean magazines and newspapers.

Read easy-going articles first and circle the words you don’t know. Write them down and look them up in a dictionary. You can also create flashcards.

Once you feel like you can understand a lot, try to read about more complex topics.

You can also read stories, comic books, and books.

The easiest way to learn Korean

If you want to read a book in Korean, start with a familiar book or your favorite book in Korean translation.

To be able to read the Hangul characters with ease, you need to read as much as you can.

9. Find a language partner

Is there a better way to learn conversational Korean than having a conversation with a native speaker?

There are many great websites that can connect you with Korean native speakers and fellow language learners.

Once you acquire basic vocabulary, it’s crucial to actually use the language.

And it’s not enough to just keep mimicking natural conversations. You need to have someone who will listen to you and who will respond.

You can learn a lot from a Korean native language partner. You can learn the slang and idioms, expand your vocabulary, listen to their accent, and observe their mannerisms.

Online tutoring is also a great idea for people who want to work on a specific skill or simply bring their study routine to another level.

Even if you don’t want to take virtual Korean classes, you can occasionally get in touch with a Korean teacher and seek advice. It’s always very helpful to get personalized feedback.

How would you know if you’re doing something wrong otherwise?

Besides, we all want to learn a foreign language because we want to be able to communicate with a different group of people. Therefore, finding a language partner and talking to native speakers should be an important part of your learning process.

10. Immerse yourself in Korean

Of course, it would be ideal to spend some time in Korea and find native speakers there.

If you’re planning to do that, make sure you use that opportunity to meet the locals.

You won’t only improve your Korean speaking skills but you’ll also get valuable cultural insights and interesting information about the Korean way of life.

But if you don’t have a chance to fly to Korea anytime soon, find other ways to immerse yourself in the Korean language.

How to speak Korean

We’ve already mentioned listening to music and watching Korean TV shows.

But you can also be more creative than that.

For example, you can label some objects in your house. Put the  “냉장고

(naengjang-go)” sign on your fridge and 책장 (chaegjang) on your bookshelf.)

Find a simple but traditional Korean recipe (written in Korean) and try to make it. Just make sure you got all the ingredients right first J

Finally, check if there’s a Korean restaurant or a Korean community in your living area.

The point is: mix it up a little.

Learning Korean is only about flashcards and audio lessons. It’s also about immersion.

And there are so many different ways you can surround yourself with the language.

After all, that’s also how you’ll stay motivated to learn more.

Yes, learning Korean is challenging, but it shouldn’t be daunting.

And whether you’ll find the easiest way to learn Korean actually depends on you.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article encouraged you to start learning Korean and not to be afraid of it.

Korean is a beautiful and interesting language, and you should approach it in the right way.

Find a program that fits your learning style and goals.

Don’t skip important lessons and familiarize yourself with the Korean alphabet first.

Try to be consistent. Even if short 10-minute lessons will make a difference.

Talk to native speakers. If you’re not planning a trip to Korea, find a language partner online. Practice, practice, practice!

Surround yourself with the Korean language. Watch Korean TV, listen to Korean songs, and read books in Korean translation.

And be patient. You probably want to learn Korean as quickly as possible, but you shouldn’t rush. Set achievable goals and take it step-by-step. That way, you’ll get there sooner than you think.

Finally, enjoy the process! Learning Korean can be fun and engaging – you just need to make your lessons immersive and versatile.