Resources for learning Korean online
For some of us, learning a new skill is an activity best done alone. Learning by yourself means controlling your pace, choosing your study material, and learning by following the way that suits you the best. Learning a foreign language can be a daunting task and finding good content to learn from may prove to be equally difficult. Luckily, since South Korea has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, there are now plenty of online resources to help you learn Korean by yourself. Here are our top recommendations:
Talk to Me in Korean (TTMIK)
It is one of the most comprehensive resources that every Korean learner should be aware of. Their website grades your Korean level and recommends a series for you to start with. They have 10 levels of grammar lessons with in-depth explanations (in English) and plenty of examples. In addition to their grammar explanations (in English), one of their most useful resources is their Iyagi series – short, natural conversations in Korean accompanied by a full transcript. Other content includes pronunciation guides, news, and idiomatic phrases. If you prefer to study offline, you can purchase one of their many books from their website.
For those looking for a structured course that teaches you grammar and vocabulary, howtostudykorean.com is a great resource. The course is divided into over 100 lessons and is complete with audio files, example sentences, and translations into over 10 languages. You can also find 60 lessons teaching Hanja and a range of other materials. What’s better, it’s completely free.
Anki is a flashcard application that uses Spaced Repetition algorithms to show you flashcards just before you forget them. If you want something to do while on public transport or while waiting for an elevator, flashcards can be a great way to take advantage of those small periods of downtime. You can download the application on your phone or computer, and you can find a database of flashcards created by other users. Some people have put a lot of effort into them, creating detailed flashcards with audio files and example sentences. Some decks focus on grammar and sentence building, while others focus more on vocabulary. Alternatively, you can create your own decks, which can be a great way to keep track of new words you encounter.
If you are looking to take the TOPIK exam, then TOPIK Guide is one of the most comprehensive resources you can find. They offer an array of past exams, along with grammar guides, graded vocabulary lists, and tips for taking the exam itself. However, even if you are not studying for the TOPIK exam, the resources provided are still great for improving your Korean. The past exams have hundreds of short texts in Korean from the reading sections, and hundreds of recordings from the listening sections. Since the tests slowly increase in difficulty, you will easily be able to find something at your level.
YouTube is a great source of content in Korean (or any language for that matter). There are two main types of content you might want to watch, depending on your own personal interests.
Content teaching Korean: there are plenty of videos online specifically designed for foreigners. They are usually in English and they tend to focus on teaching a particular grammar point. Be aware that many of these videos teach about Korean rather than teaching Korean, so make sure you don’t rely on these videos completely.
Talk to Me in Korean
Go Billy! Korean
Content in Korean: While videos about Korean can be entertaining and interesting, to really improve your Korean ability, you will find authentic content in Korean. You can find videos (designed for native speakers or for foreigners) about various subjects in Korean and use them as listening practice. These types of videos will develop your vocabulary listening skills, and are best when accompanied by Korean subtitles or a transcript so you can read what they are saying. When searching on YouTube, you can activate a filter to only show results that have subtitles.
Easy Korean (Easy Languages)
Talk to Me 100% in Korean
Any Korean news channels with subtitles
세바시 강연 (Korean equivalent of Ted Talks)
Language Learning with Netflix
Many language learners have a goal to watch TV shows and movies in the original language. However, these types of native-level materials are often very difficult to understand if you are not at an advanced level. If you have a Netflix subscription, then Language Learning with Netflix is a fantastic browser extension. This extension allows you to see bilingual subtitles when watching Netflix – meaning you can watch a Korean TV show or movie with subtitles in Korean and in your native language simultaneously. You can also replay individual lines with the arrow keys, and you can click on individual words to see their translation.
Written by Manisha Naskar