Ever since being a child, I’ve had a growing interest in languages. I took French for many years throughout primary and secondary school and picked it up rather easily and always liked how Spanish and Italian sounded. Yet it was only the beginning of this year that I really found my passion for a language. As my love for South Korea grew, so did my love for their language. I was intrigued by how it sounded, so alien at first. And so, that’s when my journey to learning Korean began.
One day, whilst bored at home, I googled the Korean alphabet and expected it to be super difficult. However, it took me under a day to master it and be able to write it comfortably. For a week or two, I practised non stop, writing out the alphabet and highlighting it, doodling around it, anything to help it stick in my brain. And here I am 3 months later, 안녕하세요 여러분!
My first tip to learning Korean, or any language for that fact, is take your time and research. Take a look at all of the resources you could potentially use. Look inside the books if you can, see if you can understand what’s being said, if it’s explained well enough for you, or listen to podcasts, online course testers to see if it’s the one for you. If you find that the explanations are too hard, or too in depth, or even not in depth enough, take your time and look around. I began my study with howtostudykorean.com and as I progressed further, I found the explanations more difficult to understand. I then moved onto koreanclass101.com which was potentially a fantastic site to learn from but at the time was not ready to commit to paying for lessons. This is when I finally came across talktomeinkorean.com.
The resources I use.
Talk To Me In Korean offer a huge selection of books, PDF’s, online courses, Ebooks and podcasts. I recommend to anybody who is on a budget to check out this website because everything that’s in the textbooks are on the website as free PDF’s. They offer everything you could possibly need right from beginner to intermediate Korean. I started off using the free PDF’s but decided that I’d prefer to have the actual textbooks.
I cannot express to you how much these books have improved my knowledge of Korean, even if it is a little. (And that’s ok, because you can’t learn a language over night.)
The textbooks and workbooks.
The way the textbooks are written are like non I’ve seen before. They are easy to understand, and quick to the point. They use the Korean alphabet the entire way through so that your brain gets used to reading it and they also have sample conversations where they introduce new vocabulary and conjugations of the sentences. At the end of every lesson, there’s a few quick questions to make sure that you understood what was explained throughout the lesson. The workbooks are designed to work alongside the textbooks, with more in depth questions and activities regarding the lesson you just learnt.
Now that I’m starting to venture deeper into the language, I decided to buy the Korean Verb Guides. These are two small books that have 100 essential verbs (each) and all of their conjugations in. These books absolutely come in handy. Learning how to conjugate verbs by yourself is essential but if you need a helping hand then these are perfect. I didn’t realise how much I’d value these books until I got my hands on them.
My Korean dictionary is one of my most recent purchases as I’m now starting to compose my own sentences/paragraphs entirely in Korean but, of course, I don’t know every single Korean word. It’s good to just have it on my desk ready for when I need it. I also use it for vocab learning, which I’ll get onto in a little bit.
I have several ebooks from Talk To Me In Korean because when I’m studying, I like to have something up on my computer screen to refer to whether it be an ebook, or a lesson, vocab etc. I have a review kit of level 1 which has a bunch of vocab/expressions in it that are used throughout level 1, a picture dictionary as I’m more of a visual learner, dialogues from other levels that I like to read through and try and translate, and a book of flashcards. These are fun to read through when travelling or like I said in conjunction with learning.
Another great tip for learning a language is dive head first into everything around the language. The culture, the history, the music, the tv. The more interest you take in the language you are learning, the more you’ll enjoy learning and actually enjoy and look forward to learning.
How I study/my learning schedule.
It took me a while to settle down into a schedule regarding my learning because when I first started, it was hectic and I was doing bits here and there, which wasn’t very productive. And some weeks, I don’t even stick to it because that’s the great thing about self study; there are no rules. You study when you feel like it, you study when you want to. And to some people, that lack of discipline may be a downside, some people need a teacher to tell them what to do and how to learn but I find that I learn better when I can sit down and learn at my own speed, even if it takes me double the time it takes someone who’s taking actual classes. Let’s jump into how I learn.
I split my learning day up into 3 parts:
I start off by reviewing the vocab I learnt the day before. I test myself by writing out the words and their English translations. Once I’m happy that I’ve learnt the words, I move onto grammar which is when I get my textbooks out and get any podcasts/videos up on my pc that go alongside the lesson to help me to understand and visualise it more. I try to limit myself to 1 or 2 lessons a day as even though they’re small lessons, it’s easy to forget what you’ve learnt and rush ahead. I make notes in my notebook, using a blue pen for general notes and black for any Korean/examples that need to be written. I take my time with grammar lessons as some of the concepts can be quite difficult for an English speaker to comprehend and make sure to note down a lot of examples from the book and even make up my own.
I then go ahead and get all of my reading materials out. There are many, many ways to find reading material in Korean. Some of the ones I always recommend are print out lyrics to your favourite Korean songs and read through it with and without music, even if you can’t understand what’s being said. Find children’s books online and read through those. Print off articles from Korean websites and read them. The possibilities are endless. Remember the point of why you’re reading; to familiarise yourself with the Hangeul (Korean alphabet) and be able to read comfortably. It takes me a few hours to complete all of these but because I look forward to learning and enjoy learning, I find myself completely engrossed in my studies and time passes super quickly.
There are thousands of useful apps to speed your learning up, made with everyone in mind from beginners to people who speak intermediate Korean. Some of my favourite apps are:
- Naver Dict
- Learn Korean by Codegent
- Learn Korean by Bravolol Limited
Just to name a few. If you have any questions at all, you can ask me in the comment section or through my social media. I hope my post about how I learn Korean motivates you as when I see people who learn, it motivates me to learn. Bye for now!^-^