Korean Resources Masterpost
Since I am often asked about how to learn Korean, what are the best ways to learn Korean, what apps are great for learning Korean, where should I visit in Korea?… I thought it would be smart to compile an extensive list of resources to go about your Korean adventure! \(^o^)/
So, you want to learn Korean? That’s amazing! But how do you go about doing it?
As with any language, I feel as though it’s extremely important to gain an understanding as to how the language is used. Before delving into multiple books and grammar lessons, it’s important to soak up the way a new language sounds and how it’s used in everyday context. Even a baby is exposed to their native language for years before they dabble in the basics.
So with this in mind, try watching some Korean TV shows, or listen to Kpop. (If these aren’t already your reason for wanting to learn such a beautiful language!) However, if you’re a Kpop fan, I’d recommend watching a few dramas, just to recognise how words are spoken in normal conversation, and vice versa! So if you’re a Korean drama enthusiast, try listening to Kpop if you haven’t already.
You’d be amazed at how quickly you will instinctively pick up basic words or phrases, before you even understand the alphabet!
I want to emphasise how although this isn’t an essential step, (because I know a lot of you will be itching to get started) I do believe that having a small understanding of the spoken language first, greatly reduces any confusion when diving into grammar, pronunciation and the alphabet.
So, you’ve binged watched every Korean Drama, and learnt all the lyrics to your favourite K-pop songs? What do you do now?..
Sounds easy, and quite honestly it is! You just need practice. The best places to learn the alphabet and how to use it:
- Korean From Zero
- Seemile.com Hangul Playlist
- How to Study Korean
- Learn Korean (Memorisation Game)
- Learn Hangul
There are loads of resources out there for learning Hangul! But these are the few that I think are simple, easy to understand and provide a quick result! I highly recommend Seemile.com; their playlist takes you straight through the basics in a classroom style lesson. It’s very easy and straightforward to understand. Alongside Seemile.com, Korean From Zero is also extremely useful for learning Hangul.
I highly recommend learning the pronunciation correctly, rather than relying on romanisation. Romanisation is not always 100% accurate and can leave the words feeling too artificial when spoken.. When relying on romanisation alone, you’ll also find that it can often restrict you when learning new vocabulary, or even visiting South Korea itself! It’s best to first grasp a solid understanding of the alphabet and how to read it before you decide to jump straight into grammar!
Right, now you’ve mastered the alphabet. What now?..
I’m sure grammar can seem quite intimidating at first, but you’d be surprised at how simple it is!
Learning a new language is never a quick, or an easy ordeal. However, taking it step by step in bitesized pieces, is often the best approach, and sometimes the most effective!
I would always recommend learning with free sources before investing money into learning a language, because more often than not, free sources are easily accessible, motivational, and incredibly rewarding. Once you grasp an understanding for how the language feels, and whether it’s right for you, I would only then suggest buying sources like books, and audio CDs etc.
However, this is purely up to personal preference, as I know some people may prefer to buy the tools necessary for learning as the motivation to learn it!
And of course, there’s no use learning grammar if you can’t understand words! So it’s very important to keep improving and updating your vocabulary as often as possible.
So here is a list of FREE resources that cover grammar and vocabulary:
Resources with an [X] beside them are my personal favourites and highly recommended!
- Learn Korean LP [X]
- How to Study Korean [X]
- Talk to me in Korean [X]
- Korean From Zero [X]
- Sogang Korean Program
- Learn Korean
- Let’s Learn Korean
- GoBillyKorean (Youtube) [X]
- Sweet and Tasty (Youtube) [X]
- Seemile.com (Youtube) [X]
- Korean Class 101 (Youtube)
- 101 Languages
- My Korean 1+2 Pdf [X]
- Genki Korean
- Digital Dialects
- TOPIK Vocabulary [X]
- Discussing Interesting Contemporary Korean Slang (Youtube) [X]
- Talk to me in Korean (Youtube) [X]
- Hyunwoo Sun (Youtube) [X]
- KoreanEnglishman (Youtube)
Alongside websites, there are many Tumblr blogs out there that you can follow! I can’t list them all, for obvious reasons; there’s so many! So here is a list of a few that seem to be fairly active:
Or even try following your favourite Korean celebrities on Twitter or Instagram. It’s amazing how much you can learn from social media! Especially if you try following news stations such as KBS or MBC, it will give you some fresh Korean on your dash regularly.
With any language, the best way to learn it is to surround yourself with it as much as possible!
Listen to Radio stations, such as KBS Cool Fm, or KBS 1 for talk and news, or even MBC Radio. There are many stations to listen to! Even Podcasts are a great resource, listen to native Korean speakers discuss book reviews, or talk about film. It’s a great way to immerse yourself within the language.
List of resources that are NOT FREE for grammar and vocabulary:
- Talk to me in Korean Books
- TOPIK GUIDE (subscribe and get 2 free ebooks!)
- Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning to early Intermediate (Textbook)
- Korean Grammar in Use: Intermediate (Textbook)
- Integrated Korean (8 Textbooks from Beginner to Advanced)
- Korean for Beginners: Mastering conversational Korean (Textbook+audio CD)
- 500 Basic Korean Verbs: The Only Comprehensive Guide to Conjugation and Usage (Book)
- Elementary Korean (Second Edition) (Textbook+audio CD)
- Korean Made Simple: A beginner’s guide to learning the Korean language (Volume 1+ Volume 2)
- Korean From Zero 1 + 2 (There is a free Pdf available)
- Books in Korean (Find your favourite books in Korean!)
- italki (Private Tutors)
- Koreanclass 101 (Free for short time - then subscription)
Other resources to improve your Korean:
To further emphasise me previous point, try to surround yourself with the language as much as possible! It’s also an incredibly motivating experience to talk to native speakers (although it might not be within everybody’s comfort zone) but it really has the benefit of throwing you into the deep end; providing you with the confidence to learn, adapt and grow extremely quickly as you put your knowledge to use! Plus, it’s very rewarding to meet new people, make new friends and learn things you can’t learn from a website! HelloTalk is the best app for this, from my experience.
- Pop-Popping Korean (IOS + Android) Beginners app to help with pronunciation and Hangul
- TenguGo Hangul (IOS + Android) In depth guide to the alphabet
- Nemo Korean (IOS + Android) Basic phrases
- Learn Korean by Bravo Language (IOS + Android) Learn basic phrases via categories.
- Korean Flashcards (Free on Android) Good selection of vocabulary flashcards
- Learn Korean 6000 words (Android only) Aimed more at kids, although it’s a great vocabulary booster!
- TOPIK One (IOS + Android) Great for testing your knowledge on grammar points - aimed towards those looking to actually take the TOPIK exam
- Dongsa (IOS + Android) Verb conjugation tool
- Comic Naver (Great for reading practice)
- Naver Dictionary
- Memrise (Vocabulary memorisation tool)
- KBS news (Reading practice)
- MBC (Reading practice)
- Chosun (Reading practice)
- Children’s books (Reading practice)
Travel in Korea
South Korea is an amazing place to visit, but with any country; it’s important to do the research before you pack your bags to make sure you’ll get the most out of your trip! Learn a little about the country and basic survival phrases, and try to delve into the culture with an open mind! You’ll find so much information on the internet, but here are some brief things worth mentioning. Seoulistic, and Eat your Kimchi are very interesting insights into Korean life and offer a lot of information! So take notes and enjoy your travels!
Check these out:
- Visit Korea 3.0 (IOS + Android) Tourist information, database of the coolest places to visit
- Kakao Talk (IOS + Android) This is a MUST HAVE, with any wifi connection you can chat and message for free
- Subway or 지하철 (IOS + Android) Another MUST HAVE. Great way to help you navigate the subway system in Seoul
- SeoulBus (IOS + Android) MUST HAVE. Great for navigating Bus stops, and bus routes
- Yogiyo (IOS + Android) Food delivery app. No need to speak to anyone and food gets delivered to your door. Only in Korean, so a basic understanding of Korean is required. It’s not the only food app, and be aware that food delivery apps are regional!
- 코레일 or Korail (Navigate the train system in Korea, although this app is only in Korean)
- Daum or Naver Maps (Both available on IOS + Android) Default search engine maps
- Wingspoon (IOS + Android) Find best places to eat nearby! Only comes in Korean, but a basic understanding in Korean should suffice.
- Seoulistic (Great guide to read before a trip to Korea)
- Things to Know
- 20 Things to Know
- 10 Things to Know
- Eat your Kimchi (Gives great insight into Korea)
- Things to know before visiting Korea
- Must knows for Smartphone users
- More stuff to know
- Where to go
Well, I think that pretty much covers everything I’ve been asked. I hope you can find this useful and as time goes on, I will hopefully add to this list. Just remember there are loads of resources out there! I can’t list them all, but hopefully the ones I have will get you started with your Korean adventure!
Wishing you luck and all the best!