How And How NOT To Learn Korean

Have you been learning Korean or teaching yourself for a while?

Many people are learning Korean but are you sure you’re learning the right way?

I’m a non-Korean speaker but I speak fluently four languages – Italian, English, German and Spanish – so I can definitely say that I’ve tried a lot of methods to learn them.  I’m going to tell you how and how not to learn languages but in particular Korean.

Ways How Not To

Do not use romanization.

Yes, I know, you think that’s it’s a good way to learn but it’s not.
When you actually try to pronounce it it’s not the same; it’s just like your speaking Korean-English and if you go to Korea, they won’t understand you if you use romanization pronunciation.
Let’s take a simple word as an example:
안녕하세요,  that means good morning and in romanization, you write it like:
but when you try to pronounce it I bet you will say:
but it’s actually pronounced like:

A simple word but people fail to say it when they learn Korean with romanization.

Don’t remember long phrases.

This is a very bad way to learn a language.
I remember when I started learning German that I wanted to memorized long words and phrases because I thought it was going to help me improve but it was way worse because I spend hours in order to remember them and after five minutes, I forgot them.
Don’t try to remember long phrases, start with simple phrases.
When you try to remember long phrases, you get confused and it’s just not going to help you; it’s going to make it worse.

Don’t use books that claim to teach you Korean.

The reason I say don’t use books is that sometimes they don’t teach the right Korean; the books usually teach the traditional Korean and not the Korean spoken today.
There are, of course, good books that actually teach you spoken Korean and I recommend:

*Ewha Korean. 1-1 (in English) (Korean edition)

This series of textbooks from Ewha Woman’s University is the Bible of all Korean learning textbooks. Widely used both in Korea and abroad, these well-structured, step-by-step guides make learning Korean fun and approachable. Covering six levels of fluency and focusing on all four skills, the Ewha series is particularly powerful if you’re studying by yourself.

*My Korean 1 (My Korean Series)

Monash University’s “My Korean” textbooks by Young-A Cho, In-Jung Cho, and Douglas Ling are a fantastic introduction to modern Korean, with a special focus on spoken usage for everyday situations.

*Integrated Korean: Beginning 1, 2nd Edition (Klear Textbooks in Korean Language)

Developed collaboratively by Korean classroom teachers and linguists, “Integrated Korean” is another popular Korean textbook series that uses performance-based principles and tools to improve learning, including contextualization, authentic materials and balance between skill acquisition and effective use.

Don’t practice just when you feel like it.

This is a big one because if you’re really devoted to learning, you have to practice every week or if you really want to learn it, practice every day for at least an hour.
The less you practice, the worse your pronunciation and accent will be.
You will start to forget words, phrases, and also the simplest stuff. Don’t be lazy, take time to learn if you’re really devoted.

Ways How To

Watch YouTube Videos.

They will actually help but only from YouTubers who actually are Korean and know the language.
It’s a very effective way because they show you how to pronounce it and you can skip back if you want to practice over and over again.
They also show you informal and formal ways to say the words so it’s very good.
I recommend:

Learn Korean with

Learn Hangul first.

Learn the Korean alphabet first because this will help you so much when learning.It has been used since the Joseon Dynasty in the 15th century A.D and it’s composed of 14 consonants and 10 vowels.
It’s said to be the most scientific alphabet in the world.
It will actually help you understand when they are showing you how to write words or sentences.
If you don’t know the alphabet you will be so confused when trying to write because you don’t even know what your writing.
That’s a mistake I made: I skipped learning the alphabet and it was so confusing when I tried to learn but now I know the alphabet and I can write a few words.

Take Notes.

When watching videos or using apps, take notes. Notes are very helpful because it will help you to learn how to write words and remember even better what you’re learning.

If you’re not used to taking notes, maybe you can try using pens of different colors in order to memorize.
When I was learning German, I used to write words in different colors according to the gender of the word: orange if it was neuter, pink if it was feminine and blue if it was masculine, verbs in green and the translation in black.

There are a lot of methods to take notes, you just have to find which one works better for you.

Practice, practice, and practice.

Never give up when it comes to learning a new language.
No matter how hard it is always practice every day when you have free time or whenever you have time just practice a little.
You won’t learn overnight.
Don’t expect that.
It’s going to take weeks, months and even years but you will get it.

I hope this post was useful and do not forget to read also the other posts from the Learning Korean series:

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