Self-Study Starter Kit: Korean

Want to learn Korean? Fascinated by its legendary grammar, or just want to understand BTS and BlackPink? Even if you’re just here for the k-pop, you can definitely study Korean on your own.

Here’s your free starter kit, everything you’ll need to fall in love with the Korean language: some online resources which I have found to be particularly helpful.

LEARNING THE ALPHABET

Teaching yourself the Korean alphabet is EASY. There is no excuse not to learn it, in fact, it will be much harder to learn the Korean language if you try to stick to using the Roman alphabet, as the Korean language really doesn’t Romanize very well. Even if you are just learning Korean for a quick vacation to Korea, you should still learn Hangul! You’ll notice a few irregularities along the way, but mostly, it is an ingenious design. Here are some apps you can use to learn Hangul!

Innovative (KoreanClass101) – 7 day free trial, has a section on just the alphabet

Hangul app – Tengulogi

Korean alphabet writing – Awabe

FINDING A TUTOR

Italki: There are dozens of excellent tutors for Korean on italki. Get $5 off using my link here!

Mondly: This is a great introduction before you learn Hangul (the Korean alphabet), but oddly, the lessons use the Roman alphabet. There is no need for this, as Hangul is very easy, and in fact it is pretty hard to learn proper pronunciation if you use the Roman alphabet. So start with this, but transition to Memrise once you’ve learned Hangul!

Memrise: Great for learning vocabulary on the go. Try these packs:

TOPIK (Korean Proficiency Test) Vocabulary

              Seogang Level 1

 

ONLINE SELF-STUDY PROGRAMS

Pimsleur (I love to listen to their audio lessons while I workout or while I get my eyelashes done ㅎㅎ ) Get 10% off with this link

Talk to Me in Korean

KoreanPod 101

PRONUNCIATION PRACTICE

Glossika

I recommend getting a tutor on italki (see below) to sit with you (on Skype) and listen to you do your Glossika reps, sort of like a personal trainer. This is great for mastering Korean prosody (the unique sentence level musicality) of the Korean language. Get your discount for Glossika here

PHRASEBOOKS

A great way to learn colloquial language.

Making Out In Korean

Lonely Planet Korean

FINDING A TEXTBOOK

Not everyone likes to learn Korean from a textbook, and you certainly don’t need to, but I found Seogang’s textbooks and CD’s to be really helpful (the following links will get you my discount!)

Seogang (also spelled Sogang) uses a textbook (they call it a Student’s book) that explains the grammar and includes everyday conversations, as well as a workbook to practice what you know.

Seogang Book 1a Workbook

Seogang Book 1a Student’s Book

YOUTUBE CHANNELS

Go! Billy Korean

Minji Teaches Korean  

Korean Unnie

FINDING A LANGUAGE PARTNER

If you want to practice your language, here are some places you can go to find a partner!

Italki

HelloTalk

Amikumu

 

TV SHOWS TO WATCH

Hello, k-dramas!! Here are some of my favorite Korean dramas, and some that are not my favorite but are part of the K-drama canon so you should watch them anyway. Depending on where you live, try looking for them on Netflix, Viki, Tudou, Youku, or Youtube. Painfully, if you’re living in Korea, Netflix does not provide English subtitles for its Korean movies and tv shows. However if you’re living outside of Korea, you should be fine!

My Love From the Star

My Princess

Strong Girl Bong Soon

Boys Over Flowers (k-drama canon)

Winter Sonata (k-drama canon)

MOVIES TO WATCH

Try looking for them on Netflix, Viki, Tudou, Youku, or Youtube.

Ode to My Father (a bit cheesy, but a must-watch to understand Korea today)

The Handmaiden (do not watch this with your parents)

Joint Security Area (a touching film about friendships at the North-South border)

Done with studying on your own, just want to study Korean in a class in Korea? If you go to Seoul, I can personally recommend:

Seogang University Korean Language Education Center (semester-long courses open to foreigners)

Ganada Hagwon (monthlong courses open to foreigners)

This post includes affiliate links, but I’ve only included products that I’ve tried myself and stand behind.

Have any more suggestions? Please leave them in the comments! I’ll update this post as much as I can as I come across new resources!

One comment

  1. The one textbook that saved me was “Korean Grammar In Use” you may know this already but since I didn’t see it on your list I figured it was worth mentioning.

    I have a lot of Sogang books but KGIU beats them hands down with their explanations.

    Great Website…All the best!

    #TheSeoulBrotha

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