How can I actually learn to speak Korean?
September 21, 2011 6:07 PM   Subscribe

How can I actually learn to speak Korean? I have a few materials, but they're not hitting the spot for me. Or I need to do something else with them.

So, I'm living in Korea and want to learn the language. I have 'teach yourself korean' rosetta stone, and look at the website

They're ok as far as it goes, but find it hard to design a course for my self so that

a) concentrates on a small amount of material and gives practice using it in different ways

b) has a manageable amount to retain

c) has all the skills reading, writing, speaking, listening...although just learning to talk is a priority, it's daft not to read better when hangul is such a good representation of the language.

I've done professional EFL work, and I know that the books are somewhat lacking. To be fair a different kind of person could probably make it work for themself somehow.

I'm not very good at assembling it into a coherent system for myself though, I've always learned best when I'm taken through a course and can absorb material and have practical stuff to do to use what I've learned, in which case I learn pretty well.

Do you have any tips for how I can get to grips with the language? I am in Korea if it helps.

I have met language exchange buddies, but I can't really converse with them.
posted by Not Supplied to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Korean has a lot of slangs, lots of dialects.

If you have a background knowledge in Japanese, then Korean would be a smooth sailing.
posted by sanskrtam at 6:47 PM on September 21, 2011

Realistically, I think you need to take classes. Seoul Korean Language Academy in Gangnam (and Jongno) is very good. They're a bit pricey, but good.
posted by smorange at 7:06 PM on September 21, 2011

I was stationed in Korea when I was in the military and it seemed like over half the country was fairly fluent in English. We learned Korean by hanging out with Koreans. Get off the internet and go outside and find some Korean friends who know English.
This seems to be a good introduction to the language.
posted by get off of my cloud at 7:19 PM on September 21, 2011

Where are you? Take a class.

I'm in Daegu and I take a great (and cheap) course at the Daegu YMCA (they have a Facebook page).

You'll have even more opportunities for a class in Seoul.

They cater to all levels, from non-hangeul to conversation.

Bookwise, I like the Ganada series (가나다). It's a little dated, but the chapters are nice and short and manageable.

Also, "How To Learn Korean" is a very short, very nice introduction. You can find it at (Penguin Korea).

"Hanging out with Koreans" to learn 한국말 has never worked for me. I'm highly visual and need to read words to memorize them. But obviously, you'll want to expose yourself to as much naturally spoken Korean as possible.
posted by bardic at 9:00 PM on September 21, 2011

I just finished writing an e-book called Korean Made Easy. My site's in my profile if you'd like to check it out. It's aimed at people who just want to use the language without conjugating every last little thing. If you learn by recognizing patterns, you'll pick up a lot that way.

Speaking practice is essential - look on the local craigslist for language exchange partners. Plenty of locals are keen to practice their English.
posted by chrisinseoul at 4:38 AM on September 22, 2011

When I lived in Korea, I took lessons with an older woman for ~W10,000 a week.

The Let's Speak Korean lessons on YouTube are also surprisingly helpful.

Mostly, I learned by memorising some phrases and using them, which led to me finding out related phrases and, eventually, understanding exactly what I was saying. Ask your Korean co-workers for vocab; you could ask if they could give you a list of 10 words at the start of the week and then quiz you every Friday, or something.
posted by canadia at 4:56 AM on September 22, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks
posted by Not Supplied at 7:07 PM on September 22, 2011

« Older Canned fish in the glove box?   |   Attention, MeFi Sewers and Seamstresses! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.