LEARN KOREAN: WHERE TO START

For my last post of the year, I wanted to share with you how I managed to learn Korean by myself and offer you some day-to-day tips on how to improve your Korean in the New Year! Head over to www.dilekaspires.com to read more about it!

LET ME START THE LAST post for this year by wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I really thought hard about what to write in my last post for the year, and I decided that I didn't want to make it the conventional 'New Year outfit ideas' or 'New Year resolutions' or 'Looking back on 2017' etc. I already did that in the past. So instead, I decided to write about something I really love and enjoy and something that some of you might want to start doing in 2018.

If you ever read my ‘About me’ section across social media, then you probably noticed that I always describe myself as a “Fashion devotee with a plethora of hobbies and languages.” Growing up in a multicultural environment that puts a lot of stress on language learning, I was always exposed to different languages, but Korean was not one of them. I ‘discovered’ Korean in late 2010 by pure chance when I stumbled on a Korean drama and was captivated by the fashion in it. Surprise, surprise, right?

I quickly warmed up to the language and, by early 2011, I was sure that I wanted to learn Korean. The Korean alphabet is very learner friendly so I was able to memorize it in one day. What followed was an extensive and time-consuming search for the best lesson-offering sites, channels, and apps. The search is still active, but for more than 7 years of self-teaching and constant exposure to the language, it’s safe to say that I am slowly moving towards being an advanced user. 

Because a lot of people always ask me how I managed to learn the language by myself, I decided to write a post sharing my favorite websites, apps, and channels for learning Korean as well as some tips on what you can do to learn the language faster. 

P.S. To the question "Would you like to live in Korea?" the answer is, definitely yes. If I ever get the chance, I would like to live in Seoul, even if just for a while. 

For my last post of the year, I wanted to share with you how I managed to learn Korean by myself and offer you some day-to-day tips on how to improve your Korean in the New Year! Head over to www.dilekaspires.com to read more about it!
For my last post of the year, I wanted to share with you how I managed to learn Korean by myself and offer you some day-to-day tips on how to improve your Korean in the New Year! Head over to www.dilekaspires.com to read more about it!

This was the first website I stumbled upon when I started learning Korean. The TTMIK website is filled with resources, and they have even put together a curriculum that can help you go from a beginner to a fluent speaker. If you are interested in learning more, you can even buy books from their official bookstore, available on their website. The best part is that they also have a YouTube channel where they offer a lot of insight, including very good explanations to questions from learners. You can even tweet them questions. They are very responsive and kind.

Bravolol apps

I really can't live without my two Bravolol apps:

  1. Korean English Dictionary & Translator
  2. Learn Korean Phrases / Korean Translator

I use the Korean - English dictionary almost every day and have found it to be incredibly helpful when I stumble upon words that I don't know. On the other hand, the second app offers you a variety of Korean phrases you can use for specific purposes like when ordering food at a restaurant, when going to the hospital, when meeting people, etc. Not all features are free though. Some phrases and vocabularies come with a small fee, so expect in-app purchases to pop up quite often. I use this app a lot less nowadays, but when I was beginning to learn Korean, it was very helpful.

For my last post of the year, I wanted to share with you how I managed to learn Korean by myself and offer you some day-to-day tips on how to improve your Korean in the New Year! Head over to www.dilekaspires.com to read more about it!

Google Translate app

I know you might have done a mini eye-roll at me there, but I cannot stress enough how much Google Translate has improved recently. I actually use GT very often on my phone and my favorite thing to do on it is use the recording feature. I learned Korean mostly by listening {read my tips below} so I have a lot of words that I know how to say, but I am not sure how to spell.

So what I do is speak into the app and it transcribes my speech so I can check my spelling, or, if I am lazy to type in Korean, to send a text. I sometimes even use it when I watch a Korean drama without subtitles and I don't understand a sentence. It captures everything pretty well, more often than not.

KBS World TV is one of my favorite YouTube channels to watch. I watch a lot of variety shows there, including Hello Councilor, Gag Concert, Happy Together, The Return of Superman, KBS weekend dramas, and a lot of other videos. The best part is that most videos have English captions. A side note, this channel is not available in Korea, so you won't be able to access it from there. What I wanted to talk to you about is the small Korean learning series titled Pit-a-pat Korean where the hosts analyze dialogues in drama scenes and they give you examples on how to use certain phrases. I no longer watch this and I don't know if they filmed new seasons, but if you are a beginner and you like dramas, you will find it really helpful. Warning: some of the scenes might be incredibly cheesy and the hosts tend to speak as if they are communicating with children. 

Once you feel that you have gotten down the basics to Korean, what I advise you to do is install an app where you can connect with Koreans directly. A friend introduced me to Hello Talk, an app where you can exchange languages and you can choose which languages you want to learn and which languages you are willing to teach to others.

The app has very advanced chat features that allow you to translate, correct, and save sentences sent to you by your chat mate. It's a good way to practice writing and speaking seen as how the app lets you record yourself and send those recordings to the person you are chatting with, or post them on your wall for native speakers to evaluate them. I've met pretty awesome people on this app, but the downside to it is that not many people stick around for long, so if you meet a good person willing to help you, I suggest connecting with them on other social media networks or chatting apps like Kakao Talk. 

For my last post of the year, I wanted to share with you how I managed to learn Korean by myself and offer you some day-to-day tips on how to improve your Korean in the New Year! Head over to www.dilekaspires.com to read more about it!
For my last post of the year, I wanted to share with you how I managed to learn Korean by myself and offer you some day-to-day tips on how to improve your Korean in the New Year! Head over to www.dilekaspires.com to read more about it!

Korean learning tips!

Lastly, I want to leave you with some tips on how to learn Korean a lot faster. These are things that I do on a daily basis and they've really helped me improve my Korean.

1. Try to watch Korean dramas - Regardless of how busy I am, I like making time to watch currently airing Korean dramas. Once you feel you've started to understand Korean better, start watching episodes without subtitles. It really makes you concentrate more on what the characters are saying and how they are pronouncing it.

2. Give Korean variety shows a chance - I love Korean dramas, but Korean variety shows are something out of this world. They are very fun to watch and once your Korean advances and you start understanding the jokes, the puns, and the word plays, expect to laugh till you cry. I mentioned some of the shows I watch above, but I would also mention Running Man, my all time favorite Korean variety show. The good thing about Korean variety shows is that you can get exposed to more natural Korean, because the Korean you hear in dramas is extremely edited and most Koreans will tell you that they don't speak like that. Moreover, most variety shows are edited so writings appear on the screen. Sometimes those writings are explanations and sometimes they are just transcriptions of what the people appearing on the shows are saying. It's a good way to get used to reading Korean.

3. Listen to Korean music while reading the lyrics - Of course, when I say 'Korean music' I refer to K-Pop mostly, but not exclusively. If you are not a fan of pop music, you can find a lot of songs in Korean in different music genres. You just have to look for them. My main tip here is to listen to Korean songs while reading the lyrics to the song and, of course, sing. I can't tell you how much K-pop has helped me improve my Korean. 

4. Install Naver, the Korean 'Google' - Naver is South Korea's number one search engine and it's the place where you can find any news on South Korea. It's entirely in Korean, so I would advise to install it if you are at least an intermediate user. I like using the Naver app because I get to read a lot of news in Korean and challenge myself. Also, I love reading Korean webtoons on Naver which are similar to American comics or Japanese manga. That said perhaps you should try to...

5. Read Webtoons - As I said, I read a lot of webtoons on Naver and the Naver Webtoon app, but I also use the Daum Webtoon app . It's really challenging at first, but since webtoons are like dramas and they are mainly conversations between characters, the content is quite easy to understand. And it's fun! 



Outfit Details:

Sweater: Pull&Bear //
Turtleneck: LC Waikiki //
Boots: Pull&Bear //



And there you go! I really hope this post was able to help you with your learning and don't forget that getting constantly exposed to the language is the best way to master it. That said, tell me, how far along are you with your Korean? If you have more tips, don't hesitate to share. As I said, my search is still ongoing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top