So, you’ve decided you want to learn Korean. Fantastic choice! While it might not be the simplest language to learn, there’s no doubt that these days, learning Korean will open doors for you. South Korea is one of the world’s economic powerhouses, slowly opening itself to the outside world and attracting more and more international business and tourism by the year.
Whether you want to learn Korean for work purposes, for a dream holiday, or because you’re simply interested in the culture behind the booming Korean wave, you’ll probably have one goal in mind – learning Korean fast. Of course, everyone should learn at their own pace, and progress is all relative, but there are certain ways that can help you speed up your learning process and give you quality study time, rather than quantity. Follow our 5 simple tips to learn Korean fast, and you’ll be on the way to fluency in no time!
1. Learn hangul
It might seem obvious, but the first step towards learning Korean often seems the most daunting. Learning a brand new alphabet system can be scary, but the great thing about Korean is that you can learn hangul (the Korean writing system) in a day if you really set your mind to it!
While to begin with, hangul might just look like a series of lines, it’s the easiest part of learning Korean. Hangul was specifically invented to be simple to learn, designed so that everybody could learn to read and write – even those who had little access to education. Hangul is entirely phonetic, so once you’ve learned the symbols for the 14 consonants and 10 vowels, you’ll be able to read anything in Korean! The faster you get away from romanisation, or Korean phonetically spelt in your native language, the better.
2. Read aloud
Once you’ve got hangul down, start practising those reading skills. It won’t matter at this stage if you don’t understand the words you’re reading, but getting used to reading the new language and making the sounds come to life is a key step towards familiarity. The more you read and practise, the less ‘foreign’ Korean will become as a concept. Use film posters, children’s books, online newspapers, or simply South Korea’s version of Google – Naver – to get your daily practice in. It doesn’t matter what reading material you choose, just make sure you do it aloud!
3. Set attainable goals
Korean is widely considered to be one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn for speakers of most European languages, so it’s important to acknowledge that you won’t be learning Korean in as little as a month. Motivation is a key aspect in language-learning, so to make sure you have the self-drive you need to keep going, set yourself small goals along your Korean learning journey. Tailor your goals to your learning style – do you want to have memorised a certain number of vocabulary sets? Do you want to have mastered the future tense? Or do you want to have achieved a certain level, such as A1 or A2 Korean in a certain time?
Once you have established your short-term goals, you’ll have something to work towards which is smaller than an entire language itself. You’ll soon see how you can learn Korean fast this way – by motivation and dedication to the smaller things!
4. Get chatty
Thanks to modern technology, you have a wealth of native Korean speakers at your fingertips! The goal here is to use the Internet and applications to seek out Korean learners, or native speakers who’ll give you the chance to practise as and when you please. Conversation can be daunting at first, so get some practice by seeking out Korean forums online, or by browsing Instagram to check and add to the comments section.
Once you feel ready to start conversing in Korean – even if it’s just the basics – use apps such as Hellotalk, which pairs you with native speakers around the world to exchange messages, send voice notes, and arrange calls together if you’re quite the conversationalist.
If you’re lucky enough, you can bring this online conversation practice into the real world. Check in your area to see if there are any language exchanges to sign up to, or if there are any conversation clubs you can attend. The more you speak, the more confident you’ll become, and you’ll be on your way to learning Korean fast.
5. Experience immersion
Korea might seem like it’s a world away, but now with the popularity of K-dramas, K-pop, and all things ‘K’, it’s easy to access Korean culture from anywhere with an internet connection. Watch the best Korean dramas with the subtitles off, or try to learn the words to a Korean pop song. Recreate immersion in the country by surrounding yourself with TV shows, podcasts, and newspapers – anything you can get your hands on!
If you really want to experience full immersion and rapidly develop your skills through direct exposure, a language course in Korea will offer you an easy way to develop all the knowledge you’ll have acquired through following the strategies above. What better way to learn Korean than through practising with native speakers every single day, up close and personal with the culture? You could be in for the language experience of a lifetime!