How I Started Learning Korean

If you are like me and the idea of learning another alphabet seems harder than climbing Mt Everest, fear not. It is possible!

One of the perks of learning Korean is that it’s quite phonetic. Once you learn the alphabet (hangul), you will be able to read in no time but not know what the words mean. Still, that’s one step forward.

To start of with, I learnt the alphabet. I made myself an alphabet card although I guess you can also print yourself off one from the internets. And then I just drilled until these started sticking until I could remember them. I used Memrise for this early on and also youtube videos. Memrise is great as you learn via flashcards to drum it into memory (so aptly named Memrise) and there are also accompanying short videos for audio but also so it’s not so dry. There are also revision and game functions on the website/app. Similarly, I used youtube videos to learn pronunciation too.

Photo by Yonghyun Lee on Unsplash

Next, I enrolled into a free online course in Coursera called First Step Korean which is a 5 week course run by Yonsei University. It was quite tough and I actually still haven’t finished it. It explains some of the grammatical points but I’ve found a better resource now. I think I would have preferred to mull around in vocabulary or very short sentences and found that this course launched into many sentences all at once. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t recommend this so early on in the language learning journey.

Then I came across Talk To Me In Korean. This has become THE place to learn for me. They not only have textbooks but there’s a free online course as well that is so comprehensive and fun to listen to. There are annotated notes for each lesson (I can’t believe it’s all free?!). There is a youtube channel too that discusses grammar points and pronunciation. All in all, this has been a great resource to use.

Photo by Valery Rabchenyuk on Unsplash

After becoming more familiar with hangul and some basic basic words and phrases, I thought that I would use Duolingo. The reason why I left Duolingo to later can be found in my previous post on Duolingo here. I think it was a better decision for me and the way I learn to leave Duolingo to later. I now supplement my learning with Duolingo.

I also found an online group course running through a facebook group that I’m in which is a class once a week. It’s only a 1hr class but great to have a teacher explain some grammatical and cultural points and a “live” person to ask questions to when things get confusing.

If anyone is learning or has learnt Korean previously, let me know what resources and how you went about learning!

5 thoughts on “How I Started Learning Korean

  1. I haven’t learned Korean before, but I think it’s a beautiful language, and given the explosion of K-pop and Korean culture in recent years, I feel that it’ll become a widely-used language around the world. Best of luck with your continued studies, especially when they’ll come in handy with your new life, new job!

  2. I hope you enjoy the experience! I am so grateful my parents encouraged me to retain my mother tongue. It’s been helpful to know more than one language.

  3. I am not learning Korean but it seems like a fascinatign language! I am however learning Russian and I had pretty much the same approach for the alphabet! It is really hard to find good ressources online because there are so many out there, so it’s amazing that you managed to find one that suits you for your language! 😊

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