Learning a new language is fun and fulfilling, but it can also be difficult as well. In particular, Korean is one of the more difficult languages to learn. But, there are some great practices you can engage in that will make it easier for you to learn and master the Korean language.
While the best way to learn Korean will differ from person to person, these tips are a great way to get started learning Korean, and they’ll put you on the path towards success as you tackle this beautiful new language.
#1 Enroll in a Class
Learning any new language can be challenging, and that’s especially true with Korean. As one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn, Korean can be exceptionally difficult to master on your own.
For this reason, getting started on the right foot is critical, and perhaps the best way to do that is by enrolling in a Korean language class.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to find Korean classes, and you may even be able to find some free courses, too. Check with your local community center or library to see if there are any options in your area.
While many people prefer to learn a new language on their own, at their own pace, the challenging nature of the Korean language makes this difficult. Enrolling in a class may be the best way to learn Korean.
#2 Master the Hangul
One of the first steps towards mastery of the Korean language is establishing a strong understanding of the hangul, which is the Korean alphabet.
The Korean alphabet consists of 24 characters, and it’s considered the most precise and scientific alphabet in the world since the different consonants and vowels closely mimic virtually every sound that humans can make.
Mastering the hangul is critical to reading in Korean, and it’s nearly as important when it comes to speaking Korean.
While students can get by at the very beginning by using the western alphabet to appropriate Korean words, this isn’t sustainable for long. Many of the sounds of the Korean language don’t correspond to the western alphabet. Your progress as you learn Korean is contingent upon a solid understanding of the hangul.
#3 Study a Textbook
Whether you’re taking a formal class or not, studying a textbook may be the best way to learn Korean.
One of the significant benefits of learning with a textbook is that they approach the language linearly. You start with the most straightforward concepts and build towards more difficult ones. This is important because, for beginners who are learning on their own, it’s common for them to learn things out of order, which can make it significantly more difficult to grasp concepts and truly learn.
#4 Watch Korean Television
As you become more fluent in Korean, one of the best ways to reinforce what you’ve learned as you continue to learn new concepts is by immersing yourself in Korean culture. This means spending as much time doing things in Korean instead of English as possible.
The easiest place to start is with Korean television. That way, you can turn on English subtitles as you watch, which is sort of like training wheels as you continue to learn the language.
As you become more fluent, you can expand into reading Korean, listening to Korean music, podcasts, or books on tape. This will allow you to passively reinforce your knowledge of Korean while also introducing you to new concepts.
#5 Recruit a Mentor
Another excellent way to learn Korean is to work with a mentor. Your mentor can be anyone who speaks Korean and is willing to help you on your journey as you learn Korean.
Ideally, you’ll be able to spend time with your mentor often; speaking, reading, and writing in Korean. This will significantly increase your understanding of the Korean language, and it will make it easier for you to understand the nuances of conversing in Korean.
#6 Stay Positive
Critical to your learning will be your ability to maintain a positive outlook as you learn Korean. Compared to other languages, like Spanish, French, or German, Korean is exceptionally challenging to master.
Korean is considered a category IV language, which is the most challenging group of languages for native English speakers to learn. This category also includes Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic.
Because of how difficult it is to learn the Korean language, it’s easy to become discouraged or feel overwhelmed throughout the process. If you’re serious about learning to speak Korean, maintaining a positive outlook will be critical.
When you’re feeling discouraged, remember that learning a new language is a marathon, not a sprint. There may be times where you feel like you’d rather just give up on learning. It’s important that you remain positive and persevere through difficult times.
#7 Take to the App Store
Apps and software like Rosetta Stone are some of the most popular ways to learn a foreign language. They can be especially helpful for people who have downtime throughout the day, like those who commute to work or have breaks between classes.
These apps allow you to learn at your own pace, and they present concepts in a linear fashion, just as a textbook on Korean would.
Countless people have relied on software to help them learn a foreign language, or reinforce what they already know. They’re also a great supplementary tool if you’re learning Korean in a class or with a textbook.
Learning a new language can be fun and exciting, but it can also be especially challenging. The Korean language, in particular, is one of the hardest languages in the world to master. If you’re serious about learning Korean, it’s important that you’re focused and dedicated, as this will be more challenging than learning other languages.
While there’s no best way to learn Korean since every person learns and retains information differently, the tips above will certainly put you on the right track as you work to learn and master the Korean language.
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