Who can help me learn korean

17 Tips for Learning the Korean Language

Learning Korean is not easy, especially at the beginning. Since the language is very different from German, you have to find your way around first.

That's why we've put together this list of tips for learning Korean. These tips are designed to help you find your way around all areas of the Korean language.

Read, speak, listen and write. Not only will these tips help you understand the Korean language better, but it will also make your study more fun.

1. Learn the Korean alphabet first

The Korean alphabet is the first thing you will learn. Korean could also be written using the same letters as German. This spelling is called Romanization because the letters we use in German come from the Romans, i.e. from Latin.

Then why is the Korean alphabet the first thing we learn when there is romanization? Sometimes I get a question from students on YouTube why I am not providing romanization when we are learning the alphabet. The reason is simple. The sounds of the Korean language can often not be transferred exactly to the German alphabet. If we were to learn Korean with the Romanization, we would falsify the pronunciation.

Now it may sound like a challenge to learn a new alphabet, but I have good news. There are many languages ​​in the world but not many alphabets and the Korean alphabet is the simplest alphabet in the world. If you want to know exactly why, read this article on the origin of the Korean alphabet. The Korean alphabet was created specifically for the Korean language and to counteract the illiteracy that existed until 500 years ago due to the use of Chinese script. So Hangeul was created to be easy to learn to read and write.

Believe it or not, Korean illiteracy is one of the lowest in the world today. Even much lower than in Germany.

If you haven't started learning Korean yet, I recommend starting with this Korean alphabet playlist on YouTube. If you practice half an hour each day, you will be able to read and write almost anything in two weeks.

2. Build up your vocabulary

After learning Hangeul, you can start learning simple words and phrases. Korean vocabulary is easy to learn because the words often consist of only one or two syllables, and the Korean language as a whole doesn't have many sounds. That makes it easy to memorize the words.

Our approach is to create a solid foundation in the beginning that you can build on later. If you start alphabetically with the Korean for Beginners playlist, your progress will be slow, but what you learn, you will learn right.

We recommend that you only start learning vocabulary that you will actually use. If you learn vocabulary that you cannot use in everyday conversation, you will either have to practice these vocabulary by repeating it over and over or you will forget about it.

When you are at the very beginning of your study, you will not only learn the vocabulary and expressions, but also practice hangeul and pronunciation. So don't get demotivated if you just take small steps every day. More is likely to happen than you think.

We think learning vocabulary is important. Vocabulary is the building block of language, but it is the mixture that counts and in the end we always have to put what we have learned into practice.

3. Familiarize yourself with the Korean language

Korean is often referred to as one of the most difficult foreign languages ​​in the world because it is an isolated language. This means that Korean is not related to any other language in theory, although there are many similarities to Japanese and Chinese. Korean is a long way from German, but if you quickly familiarize yourself with the differences at the beginning of your study, you will find that Korean is not as difficult as it initially seems and as is often claimed.

If you want to get to know the structure of the Korean language in detail, here is an article with which you can learn the structure of the Korean language, but here are the 3 biggest differences to German and thus the main features of the Korean language.

sentence position

One of the big differences between German and Korean is the order of the sentence. In German, the subject comes first, followed by the verb and then the object. In Korean, on the other hand, the subject comes first, then the object, and the verb always comes at the end of the sentence.

For example:

I eat rice - 저는 밥 을 먹어요 - I (저는) rice (밥 을) eat (먹어요)

I go to school 저는 학교 에 가요 - I (저는) go to school (학교 에) (가요)

Particles

Along with Korean courtesy, the particles are the biggest challenge. The Korean particles mark parts of sentences such as subject, object, topic and place, to name just a few. It's logical, practical, and wouldn't be that difficult, but Korean particles have other functions as well. Korean particles add subtle nuances for which there is often no translation in German.

I can only give you one tip for learning Korean particles. Do not try to understand the concept of particles right away! That has already driven one or the other student crazy. Gerhard, who you may know from the YouTube channel, is one of those students, but he has now accepted that mastering the Korean Particles is a long way. The particles therefore appear again and again in the videos on our channel.

Forms of courtesy

Courtesy in Korean is very important, especially courtesy to elders and courtesy in certain situations. But no worry! The forms of politeness can be confusing, even for Koreans, and you'll get by with the basics at first. If you already want to learn the politeness or want to know more about it, you can watch this video about the politeness on YouTube or read this article on the politeness.

As a guideline at the beginning, when in doubt, always use the polite form. Politeness in Korean is a completely different concept than Duzen and Siezen in German and, for example, a year or two age difference can make a difference.

4. Don't worry too much

Don't worry too much! This is probably the most common Korean study tip I give when someone has a question on YouTube or Instagram. These questions often revolve around particles, exact pronunciation, or politeness.

While particle and politeness are crucial to mastering Korean, they are also the most complex of subjects. It is therefore impossible to fully understand them right away. Pronunciation is less difficult, but often the whole concept doesn't come straight to you.

You shouldn't let that stop you. You have to understand and hear everything once, but you don't have to memorize everything. In particular, you will perfect your pronunciation as you learn more grammars, words and sentences, and the use of particles and politeness will also open up to you step by step. It is much more important that you start speaking and have fun discovering the Korean language step by step.

5. Use the language as much as possible

While grammar and vocabulary are the cornerstones of a language, only regular speaking will lead to success. A lack of practice is often the problem with traditional language teaching in schools. This is also the reason why a stay abroad is so effective for learning a language. Find as many opportunities as you can to practice what you have learned. Get creative and active. Here are a few ideas on how to use the Korean language:

  • Find a tandem partner for language exchange
  • Find oneLanguage course with a practical focus (online or near you)
  • Private lessons on online platforms like italki is available for just a few euros per hour
  • A trip to South Korea (not always possible, but very effective)
  • Meetups near you also as an opportunity to get to know Korean learners and Koreans
  • Sing along to K-Pop songs instead of just listening passively
  • Have a say in the KDrama instead of just looking passively
  • The active oneParticipate in lessons on YouTube
  • Conversations with your Korean friends (real or imaginary)

The internet allows us to access information and connect with others at the touch of a button, regardless of location. The options listed here are just a few of the endless options you have.

6. Find a Korean tandem partner

There are many Koreans living in Europe as students or to work. German as a foreign language is not easy either. Therefore, there are probably as many Koreans looking for someone to teach them German as there are Korean learners in German-speaking countries.

A language exchange is a great addition to a course, but also a way to practice and get feedback from native Korean speakers when learning Korean on your own. In addition, a language exchange can be a way of making new friends and building a network. If you decide to do a language exchange, we have an article here on how to find a tandem partner with tips for a successful language exchange.

7. Join a language learning community

The internet has made it easier than ever to connect with others virtually or in real life. Not only can you find a Korean tandem partner online, but you can also find hundreds of like-minded Korean learners who meet regularly either in your area or on the internet. If there are no such groups in your area, you can start one too! Korean is becoming increasingly popular and even in our small city of Salzburg several of my courses take place every semester. So you can be sure that you are not alone with your learning.

8. Take Korean tutoring

If professional tuition is too expensive for you, but you want more than just self-study or a tandem partner, there are many ways to get tutoring from native speakers for little money. Sites like ITalki can help you find someone to give you private tutoring in Korean. On iTalki you can find both professional teachers and untrained native speakers to help you learn their language. The prices range from € 5 to € 15, depending on the qualification.

You can even find Koreans who speak English and German well, but of course the choice is greater if your language exchange is in English. For advanced learners, this type of language exchange is an excellent opportunity to practice speaking because the partner's didactic skills are less important.

9. Hear or find your favorite K-Pop artist

For many of you, this tip is a matter of course. For many, K-pop is the reason they learn Korean. While we wouldn't recommend Kpop as a foundation for teaching Korean, it's a great way to further immerse yourself in the Korean language. You can let the music play in the background when you're on your way to school or work, sing along, dance, and try to understand as much as possible.

Active learning is the key to success, but passive learning in the form of Kpop is not only a good addition, it is also fun and entertaining. But learning with Kpop doesn't have to be passive at all. Here is our guide to learning Korean with Kpop.

10. Use Konglish to your advantage

Like German, Korean has many loan words from English. This Korean mixed English is called Konglish. Konglish comes mainly from the influence America has had on Korea in recent history. For words like 카페 (ka-peh) for coffee, 카메라 (ka-meh-ra) for camera, and 택시 (tek-shi) for taxi, you don't even have to be good at English to know a lot of vocabulary without learning them.

Most of the time, these English loanwords are pronounced with a heavy Korean accent. So you will recognize and understand more and more of these words the more you get used to the Korean pronunciation. My tip for learning Korean with Konglish would be to make a list of Konglish words.

Not only can you use these words to quickly improve your vocabulary, but also your knowledge of the Korean alphabet and pronunciation, as well as learning how to write words in Korean that are not actually part of the Korean language. It works with all words in all languages. For example by name, although the pronunciation often has to be adapted to the Korean language and there are often different interpretations.

11. Watch your favorite K-drama series

Do you actually know why there is so much Kpop and KDramas? The Korean wave, also known as Hallyu, started in Asia in the 1990s. It did not start by itself, but because the Korean government encouraged investors to expand into the media sector during the economic crisis and made a substantial budget available for training media professionals.

At the time, Hollywood movies were actually becoming more popular, but the government's strategy worked. Korean series, films and music have become one of South Korea's major exports, and the Korean wave is still in full swing.

That's why thousands of Korean series are available to you to learn the language in a fun way. As with listening to Kpop, our tip when learning Korean with series is not just to learn passively, but to bring as much interaction as possible into what would otherwise be a passive pastime. For more tips on learning Korean with series, check out our guide on learning Korean with K-Drama.

12. Immerse yourself in Korean cinema

Personally, we like Korean films better than K-Drama, but that's a matter of taste. In principle, studying Korean movies is the same as studying Korean with series. However, regardless of personal preferences and the Kdrama and Kpop trends, Korean cinema has made film history. Korean films are popular not only with surfers of the Korean wave, but also with film buffs who otherwise have nothing to do with South Korea.

From the recently award-winning Parasite to Park Chan-Wook's films to comedies like Miracle in Cell No. 7 and historical films like Ode to my father. You can find our favorite Korean films in this article.

13. Plan to stay in Korea

Going abroad to South Korea is without a doubt the most effective way to improve your Korean. Of course, this is not possible at any time and not for everyone. If you have the opportunity to travel to Korea, I recommend learning as much Korean as possible beforehand. If you are at the very beginning of your study, it will be difficult to practice your Korean even when you are in Korea.

But if you are a little advanced, Korea is a great place to put your language skills into practice. Koreans hate speaking English and are surprised and pleased when foreigners learn and speak Korean.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of your trip:

  • Prepare for certain topics that you will need on your journey. How do you order in a restaurant and how do you shop? How do you introduce yourself or ask for directions?
  • Travel alone to get out of your comfort zone and be forced to talk to strangers and maybe even make new friends.
  • Travel not only to Seoul or Busan, but also to smaller cities or the countryside. The less English the locals speak, the more you will have to speak Korean.
  • Look for opportunities to meet locals. Options include couch surfing or finding a host family through sites like Workaway.
  • Do things the locals would do too. Gerhard, for example, used to go to crossfit when he was traveling. With activities like this, you live like a local for a moment.
  • Don't let your fear of making mistakes stop you from speaking. You will automatically get rid of this fear the more you talk.

14. Surround yourself with Korean

Of course, few people can just pack their bags and start a long journey or even a life in Korea. However, that doesn't mean you can't incorporate Korean into your daily life. You can practice Korean outside of your daily study, for example using your mobile phone and computer in Korean.

Advanced learners can read or watch the news in Korean and listen to podcasts or audiobooks, but beginners can also use these tools.Even if you do not understand everything or maybe nothing at first, you will become familiar with the language and its sound.

Study with flashcards or use Korean learning apps when you're waiting for the bus or just have a few minutes' break. Exercising regularly, even if it's only for a few minutes, will pay off in the long run.

15. Read Korean texts aloud

Even if Korean sounds similar to German at first glance, there are often subtle differences in pronunciation. That doesn't mean Korean is more difficult than other languages. These subtle differences exist between most languages, and mastering these subtleties distinguishes a native speaker from someone who has learned Korean as a foreign language.

However, in order to learn correct pronunciation, one not only has to recognize how the sounds differ, but also train those sounds. The different sounds are created by the shape of the lips, tongue and teeth. Hence, the muscles in the mouth need training and practicing speaking is a lot more like fitness training than you would think. That's why I always advise you to read aloud as you study. No matter what you learn.

16. Write something in Korean every day

While speaking is the most important part of learning a language, sooner or later you will want to master spelling and writing as well. That's why it's worth writing a little every day from the start. It doesn't have to be a lot. For example, you could write on Instagram or set up your own Twitter account where you post something every day and even get feedback and document your progress. If you prefer to write privately, you can keep a journal in which to record your thoughts and what you are learning.

17. Start speaking Korean right away

Most beginners think that if they learn enough, they can speak Korean. Believe me, if you wait to speak until you've learned enough, you will never start. You won't feel more confident after learning more vocabulary and more grammar.

On the other hand, if you speak from day one, not only will you lose the fear of making mistakes, but you will learn from those mistakes and take the first steps towards fluent speaking.

Summary

Learning Korean is a challenge worth taking up. Since the Korean language is fundamentally different from the German, you need the right approach. First, you should familiarize yourself with the differences in the language before learning the basics. K-Drama, K-Pop, and Korean TV shows are just a few of the tools you can use.

You should speak Korean as much as possible and preferably maintain contact with native speakers in the form of a tandem partner, a tutor or Korean friends. You should also network with other Korean learners and, if possible, travel to Korea at some point and stay there for as long as possible. A trip to Korea will not only increase your level of Korean, it will also increase your motivation to learn the language.