How to speak Korean fluently

Learning to speak Korean is easier with these seven tips.

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Do you want to learn how to speak Korean?

You’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to brush up, these tips can help you reach your language-learning goals.

From delicious food like tteokbokki and Korean fried chicken, to some of the most beloved pop bands in the world, to award-winning movies and TV shows, learning to speak Korean can help open up the wonderful world of Korean culture.

So read on for our seven tips on how to get the Korean speaking practice you need to speak fluently and confidently.

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Speaking Korean with confidence: 7 top tips

1. Master the Korean alphabet

Learning the Korean writing system, called Hangul (in Korean 한글, sometimes romanized as hangeul), is key to learning to speak Korean fluently.

Because Korean can be difficult to translate into the Roman alphabet, the first thing you should do when starting to speak Korean is learn to read Korean writing. It’ll help with your pronunciation and make it much easier to tackle vocabulary and grammar – plus, it’ll open up more Korean language-learning resources for you!

2. Dig into Korean food

South Korea has a rich and exciting food culture with tons of delicious things to try – and you can learn a lot about people from what and how they eat! Go to Korean restaurants, familiarize yourself with Korean cooking, and watch Korean YouTube videos with the subtitles. It’s a tasty way to learn new vocabulary and good manners!

3. Practice Korean with native speakers

Language lessons can get you a long way, but there’s no replacement for hearing how the language is actually used by Korean speakers. Get practice listening and reacting with an online buddy – or use a platform like Busuu where you can get pronunciation and writing tips from native Korean speakers! It’ll help you sound more fluent and natural.

4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

One of the biggest things that gets in the way of language learners on the way to reaching their goals is fear of failure. But those who get more practice tend to make more progress, so stop worrying about making mistakes and just try. Making mistakes and learning from them is one of the best ways to improve your Korean language skills!

5. Speak Korean whenever you can

You’ll have an easier time speaking Korean fluently if you speak it more often. Your mouth needs to get used to making the right sounds without tripping. So practice speaking out loud, even when you’re on your own – talk to your pets, chat up your plants, or take a fake phone call when you’re on the go. Even if you feel a little silly, just get talking!

6. Bring Korea to you

Can’t get to Seoul just yet? You can still immerse yourself in the Korean language from home! Watch Korean TV and movies, listen to Korean music and podcasts – and, once you’ve learned enough Hangul, dive into more complicated immersion like reading the news in Korean or switching your social media or your phone’s interface to Korean.

One easy way and fun way to incorporate Korean pop culture into your studies? Try out Busuu’s new K-drama Korean language course.

7. Make a routine and stick to it

Our last tip? Build a habit around learning Korean – little bits go a long way. Set a specific time each day to work on your Korean, like while you have your morning coffee or on your daily commute. Pairing learning Korean with an existing habit or daily routine will make it easier to stick to and you’ll be more likely to make progress toward your goals.

Now you know how to learn to speak Korean – why stop here?

Get started now with Korean lessons designed by experts and exercise feedback from native Korean speakers on Busuu.

Still have questions?

1. Is Korean an easy language to learn?

Korean could be considered a medium difficulty language for English speakers. Here’s why:

  • On the one hand, you’ll have to learn a new alphabet, Hangul.
  • However, Hangul only has 40 letters (as opposed to, say, Chinese or Japanese, where you’ll need to learn thousands of characters before you can read a book or newspaper).
  • Like the Roman alphabet, those 40 Hangul characters each stand for a sound, which are combined to form different syllables. Each syllable has no more than three letters, so there isn’t a lot of guesswork required when it comes to Korean pronunciation.
  • Additionally, Korean is not a tonal language (meaning pitch doesn’t matter the way it does in languages like Chinese, Vietnamese, or Thai). Tonal languages tend to be particularly tricky for English speakers.
  • Lastly, though the grammar is different from English, it’s relatively straightforward.

All that means, once you learn Hangul, you can get up and running with basic Korean conversations fairly quickly – but there are certainly a few hurdles along the way. That said, what you find to be difficult or easy will always depend on your previous language experience and personal learning strengths and style.

2. How can I start learning basic Korean?

The best way to start learning basic Korean is to find a course that works for you (or at least a few lessons or resources!). While you could go to a language school, there are tons of cheap and free online resources and apps for language learners – including Busuu, hi, that’s us! You can start learning Korean for free right now with Busuu. Without a few lessons, it’ll be tough to pick up Hangul or Korean grammar.

3. How can I learn Korean quickly?

The best way to learn a language quickly is to:

  1. dedicate plenty of time to learning and
  2. set reasonable goals for yourself.

We recommend setting up a routine and finding ways to incorporate Korean into your daily life. The more resources you have and the more you can set a schedule and stick to it, the more progress you’ll make.

4. How do I learn Korean by myself?

To learn Korean by yourself, you’ll want to find as many Korean language learning materials as you can, and look for ways to immerse yourself in the Korean language on your own. This could include music, movies, TV, online videos, and podcasts. However, it’s worth remembering that language is best shared – speaking with and learning from Korean speakers can make a big difference in your progress!

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