How to Learn Korean Language?
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How to Learn Korean Language?

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Priya
Priya Garg
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on May 9, 2024 17:59 IST

How to Learn Korean Easily?: Are you a student fascinated by Korean culture and eager to learn the language and wondering where to begin? Learning the Korean language can help you immerse into the Korean culture well. Not just that, learning the Korean language can also open the doors to securing a spot in the top Korean universities. 

How to Learn Korean Language?

Learning Korean can be an incredibly rewarding experience, opening doors to Korean culture, career opportunities, and personal growth. However, it's essential to have realistic expectations from the outset. While achievable, Korean is considered a challenging language for English speakers due to its unique writing system, grammar structure, and pronunciation. The United States Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has recognised Korean as a Category V language which establishes the fact that Korean is one of the hardest masterable languages in the world. FSI has also suggested the estimated required time for mastering the Korean language to be around 2200 hours or 88 weeks of extremely intense study.

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In other words, one would be required to study the Korean language 7-9 hours per week for 3 months to be able to hold a 3-minute conversation in the language. But as they say, consistency is the key, if you keep on practising with the language, you can gain great fluency in the language. Let us read this article to know how to learn Korean language if you wish to study and live in Korea. 

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Why Learn Korean Language?

Korean culture, from K-dramas to K-pop, has captured the hearts of many. Learning the language opens doors to a deeper understanding of this vibrant culture, allowing you to:

  • Connect with native speakers: Converse with Koreans, travel to Korea, and build meaningful relationships.
  • Enhance your career prospects: Korean language skills are increasingly valued in various fields, especially those related to international business and education.
  • Challenge yourself: Learning a new language, especially one with a different writing system like Korean, can be a rewarding intellectual pursuit.

How is the Korean Language Different from English?

Both Korean alphabets and English alphabets differ in their sounds which means that you cannot learn the Korean alphabets by means of associating them with the English alphabets. This forms the basis of the difficulty of learning the Korean language for native English speakers. 

On the other hand, the sentence structure in the Korean language follows the “Subject-Object-Verb” order which is entirely different than that used in the English language, i.e. “Subject-Verb-Object” order. Also, articles like a, an and the are not used in the Korean language as used in English. Both of these are also the reasons why Korean people find it difficult to learn the English language.

Steps to Learn the Korean Language Easily

Learning any language requires unbroken attention and continued effort. However, the importance of structured learning cannot be neglected here. Any language can only be learned when learnt in a structured and organised manner. Experts have determined the sequence of steps to be followed in the process of learning a language. Refer to the steps given below to know how to learn Korean language efficiently. 

1. Master the Korean Alphabet (Hangul)

The modern-day Korean Script or Korean Alphabet System (Hangul in South Korea and Chosŏn'gŭl in North Korea) has 24 basic letters and 27 complex letters, derived from the basic letters. You can begin learning by associating the few Korean letters (or Hangul) that sound the same/similar to the corresponding English letters with the same sounds. 

2. Build Your Korean Vocabulary

Once you have conquered Hangul, focus on building a solid foundation in vocabulary and grammar. Start with basic everyday words and phrases relevant to your interests. Use flashcards, spaced repetition apps like Anki, or create mind maps to solidify your learning. Online dictionaries like Naver Dictionary and Korean Wiktionary provide definitions and pronunciation aids. 

Utilise online resources like “how to learn Korean language” free websites and apps that teach the language in the simplest and most effective ways. These apps and websites teach the Korean language by using advanced sound features and providing structured lessons and engaging exercises.

3. Embrace Immersion

Learning a language thrives on immersion. Surround yourself with Korean people! Watch K-dramas and movies with subtitles, listen to K-pop music, and explore Korean podcasts. Actively engage with the content by pausing, rewinding, and noting down unfamiliar words and phrases.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Speaking is key to fluency. Don't be afraid to make mistakes while you are at it. Utilise language exchange platforms like HelloTalk to connect with native speakers and practice conversation.

5. Make it Fun and Engaging

Learning should not feel like a chore. Discover ways to make learning the Korean language enjoyable. Play language learning games, read Korean comics (Manhwa), or even attempt Korean recipes. This will ensure retained interest in the language without you getting exhausted to a point where you feel dropping to be the best option. 

6. Set Realistic Goals and Celebrate Milestones

Learning a language takes time and dedication. Set achievable goals, track your progress, and celebrate your milestones. This will keep you motivated and focused.

7. Consider Formal Education

Enrolling in Korean language courses can provide structure, expert guidance, and opportunities for in-person interaction with classmates and instructors. Consider online platforms or join offline Korean language learning classes for that purpose. 

8. Join the Community

Connect with other Korean learners online or in your local community. Sharing experiences, tips, and challenges can boost your motivation and provide valuable support.

Dedicate short, consistent periods to studying Korean daily. Regular practice, even for 20 minutes, is far more effective than sporadic cramming sessions.

Related Read: 

How to Learn Korean Language for Beginners?

As a beginner, you can start learning Korean yourself by trying your hands at some apps available to download for both Android and iOS users. Below are the top 10 apps to learn the Korean language for free. Once you learn even the basics of the Korean language with the help of these apps, you can join language exchange groups or communities to practice this language. Remember that the ideal daily learning time for the Korean language is 7 hours - to be continued for 3 months. 

Top 7 Korean Language Learning Institutes in India

Below we have given some top Korean teaching institutes in India, their fees, the duration of the program taught and locations. 

Institute

Program, (Duration)

Fees (approx.)*

King Sejong Institute

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Levels (3 months - 1 year)

₹3,000 - ₹12,000

Korean Cultural Center

Beginner, Intermediate Levels (3 months - 6 months)

₹5,000 - ₹8,000

Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI)

Certificate, Diploma, BA, MA (1 year - 4 years)

₹7,200 - ₹21,000

University of Delhi (DU) Colleges (SGTB Khalsa, St. Stephen's, Daulat Ram, Shyam Lal, Ramjas)

Certificate, Diploma (1 year - 3 years)

₹5,000 - ₹15,000

The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU)

Certificate (1 year)

₹4,453 per year

Korean Language Institute, Pune

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Levels (3 months - 1 year)

₹6,000 - ₹10,000

Chennai Korean Language Institute

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Levels (3 months - 1 year)

₹5,000 - ₹8,000

*The fees mentioned are approximate and may vary depending on the specific course.

Best Online Korean Courses

The websites offering the best online Korean courses are given below.

Platform

Description

Fees (approx.)

Talk To Me In Korean (TTMIK)

Comprehensive curriculum with video lessons, grammar explanations, and interactive exercises.

Free & Paid Plans

HowtoStudyKorean

Free beginner and intermediate Korean lessons, downloadable resources, and a mobile app.

Free

Korean Unnie

Engaging YouTube channel with lessons on various Korean language topics, catering to learners of all levels.

Free

Lingodeer

Gamified language learning app with interactive lessons, voice recognition exercises, and personalized learning paths.

Free Trial & Paid Subscriptions

Duolingo

Bite-sized lessons, gamified activities, and leaderboards for casual learners.

Free

LKI School of Korean Language

India-specific platform offering online Korean language courses customized for Indian learners.

Varies based on course

I-KETS (India – Korea Edu Tech Solutions)

Online Korean learning platform with various resources and course options.

Varies based on course

Please note:

  • The fees mentioned are approximate and may vary depending on the specific course, subscription plan, and platform.
  • It's recommended to check the individual platform websites for the latest information on their pricing and course offerings.
  • This table is not exhaustive and there are many other online resources available for learning Korean.

Alternative Options for Learning the Korean Language

While traditional methods like classroom learning are valuable, consider exploring alternative learning options such as:

  • Private tutoring: Benefit from personalised instruction and feedback from a qualified tutor who can tailor their approach to your specific needs and learning style.
  • Language learning games: Make learning fun and engaging with apps like Duolingo, Memrise, and LingoDeer. These gamified experiences can help you practice vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation in a dynamic way.
  • Cultural exchange programs: Immerse yourself in the language and culture firsthand through programs abroad or online exchange opportunities. These experiences can provide valuable insights and accelerate your learning journey.

Different Learning Styles to Meet Your Korean Learning Journey

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to language learning. Tailor your learning methods to your preferred learning style:

  • Visual learners: Focus on watching Korean shows and movies, using visual aids like flashcards and mind maps, and exploring Korean websites and blogs.
  • Auditory learners: Listen to Korean music, podcasts, and audiobooks, participate in spoken language practice through conversation exchange apps, and shadow native speakers.
  • Kinesthetic learners: Engage in interactive learning activities like language learning games, role-playing scenarios, and attending cultural events where you can practice speaking and interacting with others.

Challenges in Learning the Korean Language for Indian Students

While learning Korean is certainly achievable for Indian students, there are some potential limitations to be aware of:

  1. Memorizing vocabulary: Mastering new words can be daunting. Utilise spaced repetition apps like Anki, create mind maps to connect related words, and use flashcards for active recall.
  2. Lack of exposure and resources: Compared to European languages like French or Spanish, Korean is less commonly spoken and taught in India. This can lead to a scarcity of readily available resources and learning opportunities compared to other languages.
  3. Different language family: Korean belongs to the Altaic language family, which is distinct from the Indo-European family that includes most Indian languages and English. This difference can make mastering pronunciation, grammar, and sentence structure more challenging for Indian learners compared to languages with shared linguistic roots.
  4. Overcoming pronunciation hurdles: Korean has sounds not present in English. Shadow native speakers, practice tongue twisters, and record yourself to identify areas for improvement. Don't be afraid to make mistakes – they are valuable learning opportunities.
  5. Limited cultural context: The cultural context surrounding Korean can be unfamiliar to Indian students. Understanding nuances of Korean humour, social etiquette, and historical references might require additional effort compared to learning languages from closer cultural spheres.
  6. Finding native speakers: Due to the smaller Korean-speaking population in India compared to other regions, finding native speakers for language exchange or immersion opportunities might be more challenging.
  7. Motivation and consistency: Learning any language requires sustained dedication and consistent practice. The initial excitement about Korean culture might fade over time, and staying motivated over the long term can be a challenge for some learners.

Basic Korean Words in English

Still wondering how to learn Korean? Here, start by feeding your curiosity with some basic Korean words given in the section below. These basic Korean words below will help you to understand the basic Korean exclamations and emotions in the movies or day-to-day conversations right away. We have covered all the basic Korean words both in formal and informal tones below.

Korean Word/Phrase

English Meaning

안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo)

Hello (formal)

안녕히 가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo)

Goodbye (informal)

감사합니다 (gamsahamnida)

Thank you (formal)

고마워요 (gomawoyo)

Thank you (informal)

미안합니다 (mianhamnida)

Sorry (formal)

미안해 (mianhae)

Sorry (informal)

네 (ne)

Yes

아니요 (aniyo)

No

주세요 (juseyo)

Please

실례합니다 (sillyehamnida)

Excuse me

잘 지냈어요? (jal jinaesseoyo?)

How are you? (informal)

저는 ~입니다 (jeoneun ~imnida)

I am ~ (formal)

한국어 (hangugeo)

Korean language

사랑해 (saranghae)

I love you

맛있어요 (masiniseoyo)

It's delicious

감사합니다 (gamsahamnida)

Thank you very much

화이팅 (hwaiting)

Fighting! (used for encouragement)

It's important to remember that these limitations are not insurmountable. With dedication, resourcefulness, and a passion for the language, Indian students can successfully learn Korean.

Remember, the most effective approach is the one that suits your learning style and preferences. Experiment, find what works best for you, and most importantly, enjoy the process of learning Korean! 

This was all about “how to learn Korean”, “how to learn Korean language”, the “Korean alphabets”,  and some basic Korean words. If you wish to study abroad then, reach out to  Shiksha Counselling Services for free. You can also drop your queries in the comments section below. 

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How to Learn Korean FAQs

Q. How different is Korean from English?

A. The Korean language is entirely different from the English language. To learn the Korean language better, one must aim to implement the “Comprehensible Input” method by which babies also learn languages. Several aspects by which the Korean language significantly differs from English are:

  • Writing system: Korean uses its own alphabet called Hangul, which is completely different from the Latin alphabet used in English.
  • Grammar: Korean sentence structure follows the Subject-Object-Verb order, unlike English's Subject-Verb-Object order.
  • Vocabulary: There are few cognates (words with shared origin) between Korean and English.
  • Pronunciation: Korean has sounds not present in English, making pronunciation challenging for English speakers.

Q. How to learn Korean easily?

A. Korean language learning can be made easy by following a set structured learning routine. You can start by learning Hangul (the Korean alphabet) and follow by learning to form words and sentences. To ace your game on how to learn Korean language easily, join online communities of students who share the same intent of learning the language.

As there's no shortcut to fluency, several strategies can make learning Korean more efficient and enjoyable:

  • Start with Hangul: Mastering the Korean alphabet is crucial for reading and writing.
  • Build vocabulary and grammar: Focus on practical everyday words and basic grammar rules.
  • Immerse yourself in the language: Surround yourself with Korean through music, movies, dramas, and conversations with native speakers.
  • Practice consistently: Dedicate even short periods daily to studying and practicing.
  • Find a learning method that suits you: Explore various resources like apps, online courses, or in-person classes.
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes: Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities and seek feedback to improve.

Q. What is oppa meaning in English?

A. "Oppa" is a Korean term used by a younger woman to address an older brother or male friend. It can also be used romantically by a woman to address her boyfriend or husband.

Q. What is unnie meaning in English?

A. "Unnie" is a Korean term used by a younger woman to address an older sister or female friend. Similar to "oppa", it can also be used in a casual and friendly way among women of similar age who are close.

Q. What is hyung meaning in English?

A. "Hyung" is a Korean term used by a younger man to address an older brother. Unlike "oppa," which can be used both romantically and non-romantically, "hyung" is exclusively used for non-romantic relationships. It signifies respect and closeness between brothers or male friends with an age difference.

Q. Can I study Korean in India?

A. Yes, absolutely! You can definitely learn Korean language in India. Several options are available for learning Korean in India:

  • Formal education: Enroll in Korean language institutes or university courses.
  • Informal learning: Utilise online resources, language exchange platforms, or self-learning materials.

Explore available options, choose the method that suits your learning style and needs, and embark on your Korean language learning journey.

About the Author
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Written by
Priya Garg
Study Abroad Expert

Priya Garg is a seasoned content writer and editor. With her rich experience in content writing, teaching and research & analysis, Priya believes in providing only the correct information which is also up-to-date. H... Read Full Bio

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