9 Tips for Learning Korean

9 Tips for Learning Korean

Deer Korean learners! We came across this really good discussion at r/Korean on Reddit and thought you might enjoy some of the tips from those who’ve been through the hard parts of starting out. Take a look and hope it’s helpful for your Korean Learning!

Tip 1: Use context

Some words don’t really exist in English. So they should be understood with context instead of English-Korean translation.

Korean has many such words. The word 떨이 (ddeol-i), for example, is a concept that we can easily describe, but English lacks a counterpart. In this case, 떨이 refers to the last few items in a store, the last stock that a merchant has struck to clear the shelves.

Tip 2: Learn hangul as early as possible

It is so important to learn hangul (Korean Alphabet) and pronunciation rules plus exceptions before continuing to learn Korean and drop the romanizations as quickly as possible. Hangul may look quite different from the Roman alphabet, but it’s not as difficult as you think! You can use LingoDeer App learn how to read and write hangul for free. You’ll be off a good start and start learning Korean on the fast track!

Tip 3: Choose the right dictionaries

Use the Naver dictionary and Papago rather than google translation. The Naver dictionary is the most used online Korean dictionary in South Korea, which can give you examples of the usage when you search a word. Papago is Naver’s multilingual translation software.

Tip 4: Don’t worry about particles too much

Actually, particles are way less important than you think and you very rarely use high formality in your daily interactions. Those two create big barriers for new speakers worrying about if they’re using the right conjugation and if they have the right subject markers but they’re not as prominent for actual speaking as beginners often think.

Tip 5: Understand Korean culture

Learning Korean along with its history, culture and economic background can help you better integrate into Korean society, especially for those who want to study or live in Korea.

Tip 6: Learn Korean social system while learning Korean

Learning Korean is like learning a social system; it is a linguistic system. Coming from a language that has no marked social hierarchy in its linguistic structure, speaking Korean is very subtle and can easily and accidentally be perceived as “rude” or “awkward”. If you use the highly formal, highly polite form (indicative ending with ~ ㅂ니다), which is the form taught in most textbooks, you will appear very stiff and unnatural. At the same time, if you are using the informal, highly polite form (ending in ~요) and you forget the honorific affix when referring to something done by an elder or a respected person, it won’t work well. In short, if you’re obviously not Korean and default to the ~요 level, and just make sure to use the honorific form to refer to those who are older, you should be fine. You can learn more about Korean honorifics and speech levels from our previous posts

Learning Korean with LingoDeer will allow you to easily get the hang of basic sentence structure. Completing several textbooks will go a long way towards understanding grammar and mastering basic sentence structure. Great for understanding grammar and acquiring a strong vocabulary base.

Tip 7: Practice speaking from day one

Don’t be lazy! You need to practice your Korean regularly,  it’s the only way you can master the language. Try to force yourself a 30-minute to 2 hours practice period every day to enhance your Korean skills.

Tip 8: FOCUS ON GRAMMAR!!

Grammar is the foundation of any language. If you don’t know how Korean grammar works, you won’t be able to understand what many native speakers are trying to say, and others won’t be able to fully understand what you’re trying to say. Once you master grammar, conversations in Korean will be much easier and you will learn where words fit into sentences.

Tip 9: Consonants can have different pronunciations. 

For example, the two ㅂ in 바보 have two different sounds, or ㅈ has different sounds if it is at the beginning, middle, or end of a word, or these sounds change when the word is used with other words in rapid speech. When you are not sure how it should be pronounced, try searching the Internet for pronunciation instruction from native speakers.

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