Starting a new language can be daunting especially when you don’t know where to start. How you start a language can depend on why you want to learn and which language you are picking; this post is gonna hopefully give you an idea of how to start Korean ^^
Everyone starts learning a language differently, some start through media, others dive straight into the books. I did a mixture of the two and found it kept me interested in the language whilst also pushing my skills forward.
This is probably the best starting point when learning Korean because it matches the Korean language where the Roman one used in English doesn’t. (I could launch into a massive piece about the use of romanization in Korean but I’ll save that for later).
Korea’s alphabet is nothing like Mandarin or the three systems used in Japanese and can be learnt quite easily in 2 hours if you really apply yourself.
A Korean American Youtuber (sweetandtastyTV) has put together some really helpful videos which go through the alphabet and their pronunciation with blog posts that go along with them. Click here for the playlist.
Once you have the alphabet down you have a variety of options which you can pick and choose from.
If you like more of a laid back approach focused on culture then some of these options may be appealing.
- Variety shows
- Kids shows
Whilst these are all TV based, Korea’s media is one of the best options for listening to Korean as is provides contextual clues. Picking out words you hear often and guessing their meaning can be a great way to get started with phrases, accent and even just repetition.
At some point during your learning path you are going to need to focus on skills geared towards producing your own material. Whilst creative learning options are invaluable they don’t provide instructions on the oh so many grammar rules that come with Korean.
Time to hit the books … or the internet.
There are more sites online teaching Korean than I can count and there are some good ones out there. (Scroll down for a review of Korean resources I have found over the years, including recommendations).
Learning a language doesn’t have to be expensive but if you want to make an investment, getting a few books on Korean Grammar can never go amiss.
Korean Grammar In Use – 3 book set for beginning, intermediate and advanced TOPIK levels – 100% recommend.
I decided to talk about vocab separately because it can be acquired through so many different methods:
- Memrise – A great vocab flashcard site with a brilliant free membership scheme and premade courses for Korean.
- Media – Picking up vocab from TV shows and films can be so useful especially if you have specific interests – just make sure you get accurate translations!
- Naver Dictionary – A Korean-made dictionary with accurate direct translations and word of the day feature on their app.
I think that’s everything for starting off with learning Korean, click on a link below for more advice on learning Korean and as always, any questions feel free to leave them below.