Best Korean Learning Resources for Beginners

Korean Learning Resources

Just started learning Korean and looking for a useful tool? Still worried about how to improve your Korean? This article is just for you.

As a university student who had lived in South Korea for several years, I wish I had this list of Korean learning resources when I just started learning Korean. From online courses,  books to dictionaries, podcasts. I have integrated all the best resources I have tried and always recommended to people around. So I hope you can just get the information you need from this article. Now let’s get started

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Korean Online Courses

first step korean

  • First Step Korean is a beginner-level Korean course with 20 units covering all 4 language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. It mainly focuses on grammar and everyday expressions like greetings. The course is available on coursera.
  • LingoDeer App

    LingoDeer App: LingoDeer is the go-to app for learning East Asian languages including Korean. It has a wide range of lessons, exercises, conversation practices, as well as in-depth grammar explanations that help you learn Korean in a structured and comprehensive way. Each lesson on LingoDeer is bite-sized and gamified so it keeps you motivated while learning on the go. It’s available both on Google Play, App Store, and web.
  • Songang Korean Program

    Sogang University Online Program: Sogan Korean Program is a classic Korean course offered by Sogan University in South Korean. It is a free online Korean language course with short lessons that teach you dialogue, grammar, and reading skills. There are plenty of exercises for you to practice in its beginner Korean course, and you can ask questions by email. The interface of this program looks quite outdated and you probably need to add plugins to successfully run it.

LP's Korean Language Learning

  • LP’s Korean Language Learning: This site very carefully explains the grammar for beginner and intermediate levels. You can easily find specific grammars here that you don’t understand and the explanations are easy to understand.

Learn Korean with Talk To Me In Korean

  • Talk To Me In Korean is a very popular website for learning Korean. It mainly teaches with short videos and explanations, which is especially friendly for those who can’t use hangul. It also provides a series of textbooks to assist learning.

Korean Dictionary

Best Korean learning dictionaries

As a Korean language learner, I highly recommend Papago and Naver online dictionary. Papago is a web Korean translator that can translate korean into over 10 languages. They are both owned by Naver, the largest search engine in Korea, so if you want to get the latest information on Korea, I suggest you try using them!

Korean Books

“Living Language Korean, Complete Edition”

This is a unique multimedia course that takes you from beginner to advanced level in one convenient package. Their approach is to teach you the entire language so you can express yourself, not just memorize words or scripts.

 It includes 4 books, 46 lessons, extra review exercises, cultural notes and grammar summaries – plus a complete guide to reading and writing Korean. There are also 9 audio CDs*. Vocabulary, dialogues, audio exercises, and more – listen while using the books, or use them for review on the go.

“Read and Speak Korean for Beginners”

This edition provides an accessible, entertaining program to reinforce vocabulary and help you create basic structures. Each of the book’s eight topics was designed to help you develop your communication skills in key areas of daily life, such as introducing yourself, asking for directions, talking about your family and your country, and describing people, places, and objects. It has games, puzzles, pull-out cards and audio lessons to help you build language skills.

“Let’s Speak Korean”

Whether you are a K-Pop/K-Drama fanatic or just someone trying to pick up some useful expressions before going on a trip to Korea, this book surely will be a great resource! This book contains over 1,400 daily expressions from 21 different topics and situations, and is designed in a way that anyone with no knowledge in Korean can learn and use right away, through simply listening and repeating the expressions.

For your next trip to Korea, it also prepared a section to get you familiarize yourself with Korean culture, as well as where to visit! In the Traveling to Korea section, you will learn important Quick Facts About Korea, Etiquettes – the Do’s and Don’ts, Culture Guide, Places You To Visit, and Seoul Metro Facts, which is a super convenient way for you to visit places.

“Integrated Korean: Beginning 1”

This is a thoroughly revised edition of Integrated Korean: Beginning 1, All series’ volumes have been developed in accordance with performance-based principles and methodology-contextualization, learner-centeredness, use of authentic materials, usage-orientedness, the balance between skill getting and skill using, and integration of speaking, listening, reading, writing, and culture. Grammar points are systematically introduced in simple but adequate explanations and abundant examples and exercises.

Korean Podcasts

Real-Life Korean Conversations for Beginners

If you are a Korean beginner interested in Real-Life Conversations and also enjoy listening to books, then I highly recommend it. This podcast is one of the top Korean podcasts on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, features short, practical conversations between native Korean speakers that are broken down and explained in English in the second half of the show. Conversations cover realistic and common everyday topics and situations, so you’ll learn the Korean you need to talk to Koreans.

Learn Korean With David

If you like short Korean lessons, then I recommend it because each episode is usually only 5 minutes long. This is one of Spotify’s best Korean podcasts for beginners and it contains a variety of everyday topics as well as learning common Korean phrases such as shopping and holidays. It allows you to quickly improve your Korean expressions.

Learn Korean: Korean Survival Phrases

If you are a beginner and plan to live or travel to Korea, this podcast is still very handy. You can use it with its webpage at KoreanClass101.com. It is a short show that discusses simple basic phrases such as the basic greeting “hello”, “goodbye”, and how to order food, etc. Among other very useful phrases and sentences.

SpongeMind

SpongeMind is one of the most popular Korean bilingual podcasts with a wide variety of topics that are not limited to language and basic expressions. Each episode is recorded in both English and Korean, so listen in English for the first time to familiarize yourself with the topics and background, then practice your listening and comprehension skills in Korean. I highly recommend this blog if you enjoy listening to the host’s banter.

The Legit Korean

It’s one of the best Korean podcasts if you want to learn Korean while delving into the country’s culture and enjoy interactive learning. At the end of each episode, the host gives her listeners a speaking assignment and encourages them to send her voice recordings via Instagram. She then introduces her listeners and corrects their mistakes in the next episode of the podcast.

Korean Language Exchanges & Meetups

In Korea, the fastest way to improve your Korean is to communicate with others! There are many apps like HelloTalk and Tandem that allows you to chat with native speakers from South Korea. You can find all sorts of language exchange groups on Facebook and Meet up apps, and they organize a lot of offline events every week, so don’t miss out on a great opportunity to connect with Koreans! If you are a student going on an exchange to Korea, you can also apply for a one-on-one language buddy at the university you are going to exchange to.

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