When it comes to foreign language studies, most students choose to learn Spanish, French, or German before they even consider learning an Asian language. When they do think about Asian languages, they usually choose Chinese or Japanese first, and then maybe Korean as a distant third. This is unfortunate, because there are many great reasons you might want to consider learning Korean.
There are many benefits to learning Korean, and if any of them resonate with you, find a Korean tutor to help you master the language. Here are seven reasons for learning Korean.
Why Should I Learn Korean?
There are so many wonderful reasons to consider learning Korean. For one, it will give you the opportunity to take a deep dive into Korean culture. Some other benefits of learning Korean is that you will be able to:
- Learn quickly and easily, as it’s one of the easiest languages to master
- Tap into a network of more than 75 million global speakers
- Improve your business prospects
- Enhance your experience when traveling in Korea and other Korean-speaking places
- Explore Korean culture, from music to movies and more
Still not convinced that learning Korean is right for you? This video has even more compelling reasons as to why you should give it a try:
How Can I Learn Korean By Myself?
There’s no single best way to learn Korean, but there are a few resources you can take advantage of. For instance, you can:
- Read Korean learning books (these often cover core concepts like grammar and basic vocabulary)
- Watch Korean videos
- Take Korean lessons with a qualified instructor
- Indulge in Korean media, like books, television, music, movies, and more
- Speak with a native Korean speaker as often as possible
Of course, you can also take advantage of digital Korean learning tools (such as trying the best app to learn Korean or Korean learning websites). Don’t be afraid of giving all kinds of learning technologies and tools a try – you never know what you’ll discover!
Top 7 Reasons to Learn Korean Language
Are you thinking about learning Korean? If you’re on the fence about whether you want to take the time to do so, just consider these top five reasons as to why it might be worth your time.
1. Better Understanding of Korean Culture and Concepts
Perhaps you watched Park Chan-wook’s film “Oldboy,” and it sparked your interest in Korean cinema. Maybe a friend introduced you to K-Pop artists like PSY, Girls Generation, IU, or Big Bang, and now you want to know the lyrics to the songs on your playlist. Perhaps you discovered a Korean TV drama, and you’ve been hooked on K-dramas ever since. Whatever it is that piqued your interest in Korean culture, learning the Korean language can help you gain more than a superficial understanding of your favorite Korean songs or TV shows.
Most Korean music and cinema fans are content using subtitles or online translations, but learning the Korean language can help you have a deeper and more meaningful understanding of Korean songs and shows. The Korean language isn’t as difficult as it seems. Studying Hangul, Korean script, can help you learn the basics. With a little effort and practice, you’ll be able to sing along to those K-pop songs or understand those Korean TV shows without subtitles. This will also help you gain more insight into a fascinating society and country with a long, rich history.
2. Boost Your Brainpower
There are many benefits to learning a second language. Being bilingual can stimulate intellectual growth, and enhance mental development. Learning a new language helps you stimulate your mind, which keeps your brain active and healthy.
If you want to be bilingual, then you should consider learning Korean. Some people are able to learn to read Hangul fairly quickly. Once you can understand basic Hangul, you will be able to pick up Korean vocabulary, and your knowledge and comprehension will continue to grow.
3. Improve Personal and Business Relationships
If you interact with any Korean-speaking people at work, then learning Korean will make you a more valuable asset to your company. With companies like Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, Korea has the 13th largest economy in the world.
If and when your company wants to expand into Korea’s dynamic economy, your knowledge of the Korean language could put you at the forefront in an incredibly competitive, challenging market.
Learning Korean can also help you strengthen personal relationships with Korean-speaking friends or loved ones. Your friends will appreciate your effort to learn a new language, and they will be excited to help you practice and improve.
Being able to speak Korean, even just a little, can help you break the ice with new friends or professional colleagues.
4. Better Travel Experience
If you’re planning to travel to Korea, then you definitely should put some effort into learning the language. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying for a week or several months, learning Korean can help you find your way around, and adapt to the culture and society.
You will be able to communicate with tour guides, business owners, and locals, which will allow you to have a better overall travel experience. Plus, you will feel much more comfortable in a foreign place if you’re able to understand the native language.
5. New Opportunities
Believe it or not, the fact that you speak Korean could enable you to help someone else. If you travel to Korea, or meet Korean-speaking people in the United States, you can use your Korean-language skills to bridge the cultural gap, and help someone else learn English.
Helping someone learn a new language is a fantastic way to be a positive influence in someone’s life. You can help a native Korean speaker improve his or her relationships with English-speaking colleagues, or help him or her understand difficult aspects of the English language. In return, your Korean-speaking friend can help you improve your Korean-conversation skills.
6. It’s a Useful Language That’s Not Too Challenging
Korean is an incredibly versatile language that is spoken fluently by more than 75 million people. It’s within the top 18 most useful languages in the world, making it a great language to learn regardless of whether you travel for business or pleasure.
Plus, the Korean alphabet is super easy to learn. Learning Korean vocabulary might be challenging to some, since there’s a different writing system than you’re used to as an English speaker. However, Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is easy and logical to follow. It has 24 letters and all of them are spelled phonetically.
Not only that, but the Korean language has no verb conjugations or noun genders (something you might struggle with when learning Spanish or French). Other aspects of Korean grammar are also quite straightforward.
It’s even easy to speak. Since everything is based on phonetics, it’s easy to figure out the words and sounds.
7. You Can Experiment With “Konglish”
One aspect of learning Korean as an English speaker that gives you an edge is the ability to speak Konglish. This is when you mix English and Korean in speech. There are lots of loan words from English in Korean, so there’s less vocabulary for you to learn.
Is it Hard to Learn Korean?
Is Korean hard to learn? Fortunately, Korean is not the most difficult language in the world to master – but it does take time and some dedication!
How long does it take to learn Korean? Ultimately the answer to that question will vary depending on how much time you have to dedicate to your studies, how skilled you are as a language learner, and of course, what sorts of tools you are taking advantage of to help you as you begin learning Korean.
For most people, learning Korean enough to be conversant in the language (with two- to three-minute conversations) will take around 90 days. That’s if you’re dedicating at least an hour a day of time to your studies! After about a year at this pace and intensity, you may be able to consider yourself fluent, depending on your aptitudes.
If you want to start learning Korean, you could buy several Korean books and spend hours listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos. While these things can definitely help, the best way to learn Korean is through one-on-one lessons with a private tutor. A Korean teacher can help you learn pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and much more.
Now that you know all the benefits of learning Korean, it’s time to get started. So, what are you waiting for? 가자! (let’s go!)