How to Teach Korean Language

Learn Korean: The Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners to Advanced

Lena has always had a weakness for foreign languages. After graduating from high school, she therefore decided to study Asian studies and the Korean language. During her studies she lived in South Korea for two years. There she not only improved her Korean, but also learned a lot about the country and its culture - and that there is nothing more delicious than 치맥.
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Why do you want to learn Korean?

There are numerous reasons why you choose to learn Korean.

South Korea is a country with a booming economy.

Many South Korean companies such as Samsung, LG or Hyundai are now known all over the world. So maybe you want to learn Korean because you have a lot of contact with Korea in your work or because you are planning a business trip.

Even if you are still a student, South Korea offers many opportunities.

There are numerous partnerships between German and Korean universities. Perhaps you are already planning a semester abroad in South Korea? This is the perfect opportunity to start learning Korean.

Maybe South Korea is your next vacation destination too.

Whether breathtaking royal palaces, the nightlife of Seoul or delicious Korean food - as a tourist you always have something to do in Korea. A few basics in the Korean language are sure to make your stay even more enjoyable.

Or are you a fan of the boy band BTS?

K-pop and Korean TV series are now very popular all over the world. Perhaps you've already picked up a few bits of Korean and now want to deepen your knowledge.

Of course, there are tons of other reasons to learn the Korean language. No matter what your motivation, learning a foreign language is always a good idea.

Is Korean Difficult to Learn?

There is prejudicethat Korean is a very complicated language. Of course, it is true that the Korean language is very different from German. Many beginners may also be put off by the Korean script. Indeed it is but very easy to learn the Korean alphabet!

Even if you already If you have other foreign language skills, you have an advantage: Basics in Chinese and Japanese are of great help in learning Korean. But also for Turkish there are many grammatical similarities.

So whether it will be difficult for you to learn Korean is not that easy to answer. Ultimately, however, every foreign language can be learned.

How long does it take to learn Korean?

Everyone learns at different speeds, so there is no exact answer to this question. Of course, it also depends a lot on how much Time and energy you want to invest in learning and whether you might Previous knowledge of similar foreign languages has.

My personal experience: During my school days I was always very good at foreign languages ​​and made rapid progress. When I started my studies and took Korean as a minor, I noticed that it took a lot more time.

This is because as a native German speaker you really have to learn Korean and nothing can be derived from it, as is the case, for example, when learning English. So the learning process is a little slower. Personally, after three years of teaching Korean for about six hours a week, I was at a good level. That means I had no problems in everyday situations in South Korea, I could understand TV news and talk about complex topics.

Learn Korean as an absolute beginner


Hangul - the first steps

Unlike in Chinese, there is in Korean no characters, but an alphabet. It's called Hangul. The Korean letters are the first thing you will learn - and they are so easy!

It is especially important that you practice the pronunciation of the Korean letters. There are some differences to German here.

Correct reading and writing of the Hangul are also important. Take enough time for this too. Because by learning the Hangul you lay the foundation for everything else.

The Korean sentence structure

The word order in Korean is a bit strange at the beginning:

  • Subject - Object - Verb (SOV)

In Korean sentences, the verb is always at the end of the sentence. The verb is also the most important part of a sentence in Korean. But more on that later.

Korean phrases - the basics

First of all, you should learn a few useful basics that you can use in everyday life. This includes greetings, acknowledgments, and apologies.

The most important Greeting is 안녕하세요. It can be used at any time of the day and means something like "hello" or "good afternoon".

When you are with someone thank you you can do that with the word 감사 합니다.

Of course, it is also important to be polite to apologize to be able to. “Sorry” means 죄송 합니다 in Korean.

On LingoDeer you will find a ... with many practical expressions that are often used in everyday life. Perfect for on the go!


The difficulties in learning Korean


The Korean pronunciation

You don't have to worry about different pitches like in the Chinese language. There is no such thing in Korean.

However, pronouncing Korean can be a bit tricky at first.

With Korean consonants, for example, you have to pay attention to how hard they are pronounced. Some of them are pronounced very harshly, others are more breathtaking. This takes a bit of practice.

Depending on where a letter is in the word, its pronunciation can change. For example, in some cases the ㄹ can be pronounced like a German “L” or like a rolled “R”.

There are also some vowels in the Korean language that we don't know in German. You should also pay particular attention to the Hangul ㅗ and ㅓ. In German we only have one letter for these sounds: "O". In Korean, ㅗ is pronounced like the German “O” in “Ofen”. ㅓ is pronounced like the “O” in “Potato”. Do you notice the difference

Korean courtesy levels

There are only two levels of politeness in the German language: We either use “Sie” or “Du” to address someone. It's a lot more complicated in Korean. There are much more politeness levels. The subtle differences between the individual speaking levels are difficult to understand, especially as a beginner.

So try to concentrate only on the forms - 요 and - ㅂ nur at the beginning. They are used the most. In Korean, the politeness level is mainly expressed through the ending of the verbs.

Korean numbers

There are two ways of counting in Korean. That is, there are two different words for the same number. But when do you use which?

For one, there is the Sino-Korean counting systemwhich comes from Chinese. With this counting system, for example, you give that date at.

Then there are the all-Korean counting system. These are the original Korean names for the numbers. With this system, among other things, the Age specified by a person. In addition, the all-Korean counting system is used to indicate the number of objects, people and animals

By the way, you have to be particularly careful with the Time: The hours are given with the Sino-Korean system and the minutes with the all-Korean system.

Confusing, isn't it? But don't worry, practice makes perfect.

Korean verbs

In the Korean language, the verb is the most important part of the sentence. Unlike in German, however, the verbs are not conjugated based on the associated subject. Instead, verbs are used to express various grammatical functions or levels of politeness. There are different endings for this, which are added to the stem of the verb.

Avoid these beginner mistakes while learning Korean


Don't rely on romanizations

The Korean letters are often very confusing to beginners. That is why there are so-called romanizations. One tries to write Korean words with Latin letters.

But better not to rely on romanizations. Korean pronunciation cannot be precisely expressed using Latin letters. So it is better if you try to read everything in Hangul from the beginning. So no pronunciation errors creep in.

No stubborn memorization of vocabulary lists

Better not to try to memorize long and incoherent lists of vocabulary.

It is much more effective if you group vocabulary into topics. For example: colors, animals, food, ...

This way you can memorize the new vocabulary much better.

Don't trust Google translate

German and Korean are two very different languages. Translation engines like Google Translate are also reaching their limits. Unfortunately, the translations are often not correct. In addition, the level of courtesy in Korean is completely ignored in a Korean-German translation. So better not to rely on translation tools.

Grammatical exceptions are ... exceptions

Of course, there are exceptions in Korean grammar as well. But don't try to focus too much on it.

Always remember: the exception proves the rule. So rather concentrate on the grammatical rules and not too much on their exceptions.


Learn Korean with Abbreviations


Konglish - So many words you already know!

There are some words in Korean that come from English. It is therefore also known as Konglish - a mixture of Korean and English.

Examples: 컴퓨터 (computer), 택시 (taxi), 버스 (bus), 크리스마스 (Christmas)

These words are very easy to understand even for beginners. Just make sure that the pronunciation of the Konglish vocabulary may differ from the original English pronunciation.

Basic rule for sentence endings: add 요

The basic rule of sentence formation in the most common politeness level is very simple. It doesn't matter what the subject is. You just add the appropriate ending to the word:

  • Verb stem + 아 / 어 / 여요
  • Adjective stem + 아 / 어 / 여요
  • Noun + (이) 요

Improve all four language aspects of Korean


Speak korean

Try as often as possible the pronunciationto be imitated by native speakers. The LingoDeer audio recordings, which you can listen to and repeat over and over again, are particularly suitable for this.

You can also make your own Create audio recordings. You can then listen to them and compare your pronunciation with that of the native speakers.

Hear Korean

Hearing is just as important as speaking. Try to listen carefully to how native speakers use the Korean language. Also, pay attention to the stresses on each word and syllable in a sentence.

LingoDeer lets you listen to audio recordings by native speakers at different speeds. Start with slow and very clear recordings and then move to a faster pace.

Read korean

If you stumble upon an unfamiliar word, try to figure out its meaning from the context first. You can then view the translation.

Write down new important words and useful phrases in a notebook. This will make it easier for you to repeat it later.

Write Korean

Writing is often the supreme discipline when learning a foreign language. It is perfectly normal for you to have a difficult time at the beginning.

The best way to try to practice is by everyday texts write. This can be, for example, an e-mail, a sick note or an invitation.


Tips for Korean Self-Study


LingoDeer App & Blog

The LingoDeer app is your ideal companion if you want to learn Korean - regardless of whether you are a beginner or have some previous knowledge. Use LingoDeer and learn the Korean language with a scientifically structured curriculum. In contrast to other language learning apps, LingoDeer focuses on the difficulties of learning Asian foreign languages. With many different features, learning a new script and pronunciation can be trained perfectly.

You will also find many useful tips for learning foreign languages ​​on our blog.

Practical Apps for learning the Korean language


  • Anki: Flashcard app that is very useful for learning vocabulary
  • Drops: playful vocabulary learning app
  • Naver dictionary: the most popular online dictionary in South Korea
  • Papago: a translation app developed by Naver
  • Tandem: a platform for language exchange with people from all over the world
  • Hello Talk: a language exchange app used by many Korean users

Korean media

A very good way to improve your Korean is through the media.

If you like korean music you may already be able to pick out some Korean vocabulary from your favorite songs. There are also plenty of Youtube videos where the Korean lyrics are faded in during the song. So you can read along and sing along right away!

You're more of a fan of Korean Movies and K-Dramas? Perfect, because there is now a lot of material from Korea even on major streaming providers such as Netflix. Another big advantage is that many Korean films or series are not dubbed. So you can watch them in the original with German subtitles. This is great for training your listening skills! If you understand Korean a little better later, you can also use Korean subtitles.

Another way to improve your Korean is through Newspaper articles, Blogs or Webtoons. You can find the latest rankings of the most-clicked news articles via the Korean search portal Naver. You can also find tons of free webtoons here. The advantage of this is that they often contain little text and that you can understand part of the story through the images. Korean blogs are also very popular. People especially like to post about popular restaurants and food.

No matter what you are enthusiastic about. There is sure to be something there to make learning Korean even more fun!