Have you ever wanted to start learning Korean, because you planned a trip to Korea and don’t want to feel lost, when you get lost? Or ever wanted to understand what your Korean idols are tweeting but you’re not really sure if you can handle such a ‘difficult’ language such a Korean? For many, Korean looks like a really difficult language to learn, because of it’s different letters and the culture that is so much more different than the western culture.
Let me tell you, out of all Asian languages, Korean is probably the easiest to learn the basics of. Even though the characters might seem to be overwhelming in the beginning, it is actually not too far from the Latin alphabet.
But I do understand, if someone says that it takes time and it definitely is not an easy language to master, but if you are happy with knowing the basics, this language is very fun to learn!
So, where should you start? Don’t fret! I have tips for you! This list helped me when I wanted to start learning Korean and hope it will help you too!
1. Learn Hangul
The most important step is to learn the korean letters. Without being able to read or write, you will not get far with this language. It might seem difficult at first, but believe me, once you’ve started, you will be surprised on how easy it actually is! (Thank you very much, King Sejong the Great!)
It has 24 ‘letters’ that are put together to form a word. Easy, right?
You can find many websites and youtube videos where they teach you the basic to writing and reading Hangul.
My favourite ones are TalkToMeInKorean and Koreanclass101
2. Practise Hangul
After you got the letters down, it is now important to read as much Hangul words as possible because in order to continue to the next step, being more confident in reading will be a great help.
If you want to practise your reading, these few examples will help (it definitely helped me) you.
- Korean names in Hangul
- Hangul lyrics for the KPOP fans
- Write random words in Hangeul (eg: on Hangul keyboard)
- Sing to Hangeul lyrics
3. Memorize vocabularies
The second most important step in learning ANY language is knowing vocabularies. You will not be able to express yourself if you don’t know at least the basic vocabulary.
What are the most basic vocabularies in Korean that you should know?
- Hello 안녕하세요 [annyeonhaseyo]
- Goodbye (if you are seeing someone off) 안녕히가세요 [annyeong hi gaseyo]
- Goodbye (if you are the one leaving) 안녕히계세요 [annyeong hi gyeseyo]
- Thank you 감사합니다 [kamsahamnida]
- How are you? 잘지네세요? [jal ji-neseyo]
- What is this? 이거 뭐에요? [igo mo-eyo]
- How much is this? 이거 얼마예요? [igo eolma-eyo]
- No 아니요 [aniyo]
- Yes 네 [ne]
4. Know how the sentence structure works
This one is important if you want to start building your own sentences.
Korean has the S-O-V (Subject – Object – Verb) system. That means that the structure is different from the English language which has the S-V-O structure. It makes building sentences much more difficult especially for English and German speakers, but it is very important as it can change the whole meaning of the sentence, if used incorrectly.
Some sample sentences would be:
I study Korean. – 저는 한국어를 배워요 [jo-neun hanguko reul baewoyo] (I – Korean – Study)
I go to school. 저는 학교(에) 가요 [jo-neun hakgyo-e gayo] (I – School – (to) – Go)
Once you understand how this structure works, phrasing sentences is only one more step away!
5. Understand basic grammar
Some people might be able to understand you, even if you just put words together, but then again, we want to be able say full phrases, don’t we?
By learning the basic grammar you will not only be able to express yourself much better, but you will also be able to understand the daily phrases if you are in Korea. For example, if you finish LVL 2 on ‘Talktomeinkorean.com’, you will already be able to get around Korea without problems.
These are the first steps if you want to start learning the Korean language. If you take your time and be consistent, you will be able to get to the intermediate level very fast! Check out this blog post for your further Korean studies!
If you have any other experience and want to share, just comment in the comment box below!
Good luck and have fun! ^o^