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Everything You Need To Learn Korean

Whether you’re learning for business or pleasure, Korean is a very unique and fun language to study. With some similarities to Chinese and Japanese, the Korean language is based on a system that anyone can understand with guidance and practice.

Keep reading to find answers to some frequently asked questions when starting online Korean classes. We’ll share how long the language takes to learn, how often you’ll need to practice, and more!

Is Korean hard to learn?

If you already speak Chinese or Japanese, learning Korean will be a little bit easier for you. Unlike the Chinese language which has several thousand characters, Korean is based on Hangul which consists of only a handful of characters, equivalent to the English alphabet.

Hangul is very easy to learn, making writing in Korean a fun exercise. There are fourteen basic consonants and ten basic vowels with five extra consonant clusters and eleven vowel clusters.

Learning how to speak Korea

n can be a bit more challenging. Korean pronunciation tends to be tricky for English speakers at first, but with the right amount of practice anyone can master it.

Learn more about why Korean isn’t as hard as you think, here.

How long does it take to learn Korean?  

The amount of time it takes to learn Korean depends on how much you practice and how much you’re exposed to the language daily, but a basic level of proficiency can be accomplished within 6 months.   

Learning basic Hangul shouldn’t take longer than a few weeks for the average learner, if he or she studies it daily. Speaking and understanding the meaning of phrases will take a little longer since it involves learning grammar and a good amount of vocabulary.

Do you have to be a certain age to learn Korean?  

No; you can learn Korean at any age! However, depending on your age, certain topics might be more challenging. For example, a younger student might have an easier time speaking and pronouncing Korean versus learning how to read and write in Korean. For adult students, this could be the opposite.  

What are the benefits of learning Korean?

There are many great reasons to learn the Korean language. Here are just five of the benefits for Korean learners.

1. Improved communication

Learning Korean can help you strengthen personal relationships with Korean-speaking friends or loved ones. Your friends and family will appreciate your effort to learn their native language, and they’ll be glad to help you practice.

2. Better travel experience

If you’re planning to visit Korea, learning the Korean language can drastically improve your overall travel experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying for a week or several months, speaking the language will help you find your way around easier and adapt to the culture quicker.

Take a few online Korean classes to be able to better communicate with tour guides, business owners, and locals. You’ll have much more opportunities to meet new people and make new friends and connections during your stay.

3. More job opportunities

Learning Korean opens the door to countless new job opportunities, and it can also make you a much more valuable asset to your current employer.

With companies like Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, Korea has the 13th largest economy in the world. If your employer seeks to expand into Korea’s dynamic economy, your knowledge of the Korean language could put you at the forefront of an incredibly competitive market.

4. Better mental health

Did you know learning Korean can help keep your brain active and healthy? Speaking a second language has been found to stimulate intellectual growth and enhance mental development.

Some studies have even shown that it may prevent or delay signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Understanding of Korean culture

Studying the Korean language will help you gain more insight into a fascinating society and country with a long, rich history. One of the main reasons people choose to study Korean is because they’re already familiar with Korean songs, TV shows, or movies.

Whatever it is that piqued your interest in Korean, learning the language can help you gain a deeper, more meaningful understanding and appreciation of the culture.

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!)

How much does it cost to learn Korean?

The cost to learn Korean depends on the way you choose to learn. Private tutors can charge anywhere from $30-$60 per hour. The fees vary depending on a teacher's education and experience, as well as the location of lessons.   

Using a computer software to learn how to speak Korean usually ends up costing around $600 as you advance to the highest level of fluency. This isn’t the best option though, because you don’t get the personal attention of an experienced teacher.

TakeLessons offers more affordable, online Korean classes starting at $19.95 per month for new students - plus your first month is completely free. Join one of our classes today to try out an instructor and meet other like-minded learners at the same time!

Another way to learn Korean is to take a class at a local college, but this method will cost the most and you’ll need to look for more ways to practice Korean outside of the classroom.  

What is the best way to learn Korean?

The best way to learn Korean is to study all four areas of the language - writing, reading, speaking, and listening - with the personal guidance and instruction of a qualified Korean teacher.

You can find dozens of experienced, native Korean teachers at TakeLessons, whether you’re looking for private lessons or online Korean classes.

Another great way to learn Korean, if you have the time and resources, is to actually live in Korea for an extended period of time. This way you can fully immerse yourself in the language and culture.

Do I need any supplies to learn Korean?

Depending on your teacher and method of learning, the supplies you’ll need to study Korean will be different. A private tutor could recommend a book, a CD, or a downloadable app. But if you’re taking an online Korean class, a simple notebook and pencil will be enough.  

How often should I practice Korean?

We recommend practicing daily for a minimum of 30 minutes to reinforce all you’re learning in Korean classes or lessons. If a daily practice routine isn’t possible, try setting regular practice schedules throughout your week and stick to them.

Ask a friend or family member to help hold you accountable to your practice schedule. The more often you practice, the faster you will make progress on the road to fluency.

It’s also important to remember that the quality of your practice sessions matters just as much as the quantity, so don’t rush through the exercises and homework that your teacher assigns.  

What are some ways to practice Korean?

When practicing Korean, remember to make time for writing, reading, speaking, and listening. Here are some ways to incorporate each of those into your lifestyle.   

  • Look for ways to interact with Korean speakers. Go to Korean events in your area and make new friends! Many big cities have Korean communities and even Korean newspapers where local events are advertised. Don’t be shy!  
  • Watch Korean TV shows, movies, and YouTube videos. If you need to, turn the subtitles on so you understand conversations better.    
  • Read Korean newspapers, magazines, and books. If you’re a beginner, start with something simple like a children's book or comic.
  • Listen to Korean podcasts and songs. This exercise is easy to do while you’re driving or working out, so there’s no excuse!  
  • Write a letter or email to a Korean friend. Find a penpal online and add the Korean keyboard to your computer or tablet.
  • Visit a chat room where people speak in Korean. Use popular Korean messaging apps such as Kakao Talk to make new Korean friends and practice your skills.  
  • Teach someone Korean. Find a curious friend or family member and share what you’ve learned. When you teach someone, your knowledge and memory is reinforced.  
  • Go to a Korean market. Read the labels on different products and ask store employees questions in Korean.
  • Visit Korea and immerse yourself in the culture. We recommend traveling to Korea after you feel confident in basic Korean, otherwise, it might be difficult to understand others and find your way around.  

Learn more about how to practice Korean, here.

What are the best Korean learning apps?

There are many helpful Korean learning apps available. Download one or two so you can practice whenever and wherever you are. Many apps make it easy for you to remember to practice with pop-up notifications, too.  

While these apps are an excellent tool for language practice, we recommend using them as as a supplement to Korean classes or lessons. Nothing can substitute for the one-on-one guidance that an experienced teacher can provide.

  • Korean Vocabulary Free offers many different drills on Korean vocabulary. Its helpful flashcards are organized into categories such as shopping and greetings.
  • Dongsa is a great tool for learning Korean verbs, which have many different variations. It’s also useful if you want to improve your writing skills.  
  • TenguGo Hangul is an excellent app for beginners that will help you learn how to read and write in Korean. It’s available for both Apple and Android.
  • Learn Korean is an app to help you master different levels of vocabulary, from easy to difficult. The app will also help you keep track of your progress.
  • PopPopping Korean is a fun app that teaches beginners how to pronounce Hangul using animated illustrations.   
  • Korlink offers informative podcasts and helpful PDFs to supplement your learning. It’s available for free on Apple and Android.
  • TOPIK One will help you prepare for the TOPIK exam if you’re planning to take it. It covers several areas of learning Korean, including listening, writing, grammar, and reading.

How many people speak Korean?

There are an estimated 80 million Korean speakers worldwide. Korean is primarily spoken in North and South Korea, however it’s also spoken in China, Japan, Russia, and the United States.

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