The Best Way to Learn Korean
Are you looking for the best way to learn Korean? The article is going to teach you the best step-by-step instruction and provide you with some useful tips.
In South and North Korea, as well as on the territory of the Chinese region Yanbian, which has its autonomy, Korean is the official language.
Moreover, this language is used in other various counties from Kyrgyzstan to Canada and Japan, because there live huge Korean expat communities, which preserve their traditions.
Before going to another country you simply must learn all details, which you will need during time spent there.
Learning Korean from scratch is useful for those, who plan to move permanently to the corresponding country (or just visit it like a tourist), to learn the culture and customs, and it will definitely be useful for polyglots, who already wish to learn new foreign language.
In order to speak this wonderful language, you should stick to some rules and learn it step by step.
So, here you are – the best way to learn Korean.
Difficulties in studies of Korean
Many people mistakenly think that if the language does not have strains, like in Chinese, it’s very easy to speak it.
To tell the truth, less than half of all Korean sounds have similar ones in Russian.
It means you’ll have to learn the sounds, to which your organs of speech are not used from childhood.
For example, vowels can have two variants of pronunciation.
Moreover, the difference between them is minimal and still extremely important – one false sound and one word becomes completely another.
Besides, vowels can be pronounced in three different ways – in strong or weak manner or with aspiration, none of which coincide with the sounds, which are usual for the Russians.
The word order in a sentence is so illogical for foreign speakers that not everyone is able to accept it even after several years of studies.
Besides, Korean has no usual verb forms, but has various categories of politeness, which you choose depending on the status of your interlocutor!
There are three kinds of vocabulary – native Korean, Chinese and borrowings from other languages – which lead to the fact that a word can be pronounced and written differently but mean the same thing.
What’s more, there are no courses, which are able to help you to figure it out – everything is learned only during the communication with the native speakers and in the full immersion in the language environment.
The best way to learn Korean is step-by-step
The first step is to learn Korean alphabet.
At first, like in learning any new language, you should learn the alphabet.
It is required for the elementary reading and writing.
Learning Korean from scratch and on your own can cause some difficulties on the preliminary level, but as soon as you overcome them, the language itself will attract the student.We should talk a bit more about the alphabet.
For people, who use in their speech Cyrillic or Latin script, it is sure to seem a little strange.
However, among three Asian languages – Japanese, Chinese and the described one – it is the simplest.
The Korean language was invented in 1443.
Since then, it has 24 letters, 10 of which are vowels.
It’ll be enough on the first step to master the elementary level the best way.
Korean has diphthongs, double consonants and Hanja.
There are 16 of the first two. According to it, the full alphabet has 40 different letters.
What is Hanja?
A couple of centuries ago, when Korean was being formed, many Chinese words came to it.
So far there have been no analogues to these borrowings found in the described system.
That’s why an average Korean knows about 3 thousand Chinese hieroglyphs.
However, if in Japanese the words of foreign origin came to the everyday conversations, Korean keeps the distance – they are used only in official letters, texts concerning religion, vocabularies and classic literature.
It should be noted that Hanja is not used on the territory of North Korea.
What is so easy about the alphabet?
The knowledge of the basic information, surely, helps you in such hard process as learning Korean from scratch on your own.
Unlike Japanese and Chinese, where hieroglyphs are used, Korean uses letters to make the words.
Separate symbols, which make the alphabet, mean only one (sometimes two, if you speak about the couple of voiced and voiceless) letter.
The second step is to learn the Korean numbers.
After you learned the alphabet, you should start learning numbers.
The most important here is to understand at once the difference, when a Korean system of calculation is used, and when a Chinese one.
The first system, as a rule, is required to count from 1 to 99 and names the age of any subject.
For example, one – “hana”, two – “dul”, three – “set”.
The second system is implemented by the population counting from 100, in the names of the streets, houses, dates, money and telephone numbers.
For example, one – “il”, two – “i”, three – “sam”.
Besides, writing them they use letters, but not hieroglyphs.
It may also seem very difficult, but later it’ll be even more difficult.
If you do not master it, you’ll find it extremely difficult to go on learning.
The third step is to learn the widespread Korean words and expressions.
The third step presupposes learning small phrases and a couple of dozens of the basic words.
You should only begin, and you are sure to notice at once, how Korean word combinations will pass through your mind themselves.
You must always have a small notebook with you, where you could write the way how to pronounce these or those words.
The best way to learn Korean will be sticking stickers with the phrases on the visible places.
This way the brain will memorize new information the best.
Learning Korean from scratch on your own, you should not forget about the basic vocabulary, such as hello or bye.
They are necessary even for the least educated polyglots and will always come in handy while talking to the native speakers.
Among the standard words one can single out the following ones: yes (ne), no (ani), thank you (kamsahamnida), hello (annen).
The fourth step is to learn the official and unofficial forms of Korean.
Korean culture has certain parceling on the official and unofficial forms of language.
Which form you’ll use in communication with a certain person, you must decide from the following factors:
- the interlocutor’s age;
- his profession and achievements;
- his social status.
There are three degrees of formality during the conversation:
- This way is the best for the conversation with the elder, boss or unfamiliar people.
- This way will suit the best, if the opponent is your close friend, relative or is younger than you.
- This way is not used in the everyday speech, but you can often hear it on TV in the scientific or news broadcast, and in the army, too.
Those, who do not stick to the formalities, are considered impolite, and because of it many people ruin relations with others.
The fifth step is to learn Korean grammar.
Not you should master grammar.
It is difficult only in one way – there are plenty of various forms of one and the same verb.You must know all of them.
Among the most widespread rules in grammar you can point out the following ones:
- The verb is always in end of the sentence.
- Subject is used only if you cannot understand from the context or from the previous sentence, who or what you are talking about.
- Adjectives, like the verbs, can have different forms depending on the tenses.
The best way to learn Korean is practice
Practice is a very important way of learning.
The more a person speaks or writes, the sooner his skills become the best.
Leave your comfort zone.
Watch movies and TV series without translation, but only with original subtitles.
Switch your desktop language on the one you are trying to learn.
Do the tasks in the books, where the tasks themselves are written in the original language.
Learn how to type “blindly”.
This will help you at work and is the best way to train your brain.
Pay attention how fast can type Korean, even if there is no Korean keyboard in front of them.
It turns out that this is the basics and they can’t live without it.
Download some games concerning the way how to type fast in Korean and start practicing every day.
Work on your pronunciation.
They say, if you do not know a word, you can always look it up in the dictionary or explain in other words, but if you have bad pronunciation, even knowing a million of words, nobody will understand you!
That’s why you should not only listen to the Korean speech, but say the heard words aloud.
Learn the words by the topics, and the grammar, which is used in everyday conversations.
It’s completely understandable with words.
Speaking about grammar, you should not try to learn at once some difficult clauses.
Moreover, you should not use them.
It’s not the best way, because it’ll only confuse you and fill your head with the knowledge unnecessary for the moment – everything has its best time!
Look through some blogs or dialogues “about nothing” and learn from them.
This way you are likely to understand which words and clauses are used the most.
Take every chance to practice language and do not be shy speaking it.
If you have an opportunity to go to Korea, this will definitely be the best way to learn the language.
Otherwise, you should attend language courses or find a native speaker.
He is sure to help you to correct all grammar mistakes and fix pronunciation.
Besides, he’ll tell you more useful information and teach you different expressions, which you’ll never find in books.
This is the best way to master Korean.
If you have a Korean friend, who is ready to help you – it’s wonderful!
Otherwise, you should look for the interlocutor in the Internet or, perhaps, there are some Korean courses in your city.
In conclusion, it’s important to mention there is no magic wand or teacher, who will easily put all needed knowledge in your head.
Even if you know the best way to learn Korean, without everyday practice and hard work, there will be no desired result.
That’s why you should work and constantly practice.
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