5/12/2010

Published 5/12/2010 by

Learn Korean online ~

Is it possible to start learning basic Korean online and for free? Yes, it is. And no, you don't need to read long and boring grammar posts. There are many, many pages that offer Korean courses. Most of them are quite elaborated but also a bit confusing, specially if you're a newbie.
 So here is my action plan for you:


Find out about the structure/history of Korean language 
I mean, if you don't understand the structure of the language what's the point in learning vocabulary?? And if you're really interested in the language you might wonder about the history of Korean and find out some really interesting facts.

Where? I recommend a general page like learn-korean.net


Learn Hangul (the Korean writing system) 
There are many pages who try to teach you Korean with a transcription but I promise you it's much easier to find good courses if you can at least decipher Hangul (that doesn't mean that you understand what you're "reading" *haha*)

Where? smart.fm When you get there the page might be completely in Japanese - don't worry, just click on the "language" button on the upper right and select "English" =P ...erm... yes, you have to sign up - but you can also sign in thru some external ID like facebook xD

What is it good for? Smart.fm is a cool file cards system. You don't need to buy cards and write the vocab you wanna learn on them. Just go to smart.fm and find a vocab list of the language you wanna learn / or create your own vocab list. The interrogation system is quite helpful, if you don't know the meaning of a word it will be put back and you'll be asked later again. anyway, you can learn any list (like verbs, vocabulary from a specific course, etc). but I think just "learning verb lists" is really boring. Even with an online file cards system. ^_^

 I recommend you pick out this set: Korean Alphabet - Hangul (Normal Input) This one helped me to consolidate my reading Hangul skills :D Of course, downloading a complete list of the Hangul and hanging it on your wall is a good additive, too! ^_~ ...So you can read Hangul now? Are you proud? You just started! *^_^* but stay proud of yourself... it's a great achievement nonetheless!


Learn some simple sentences (nouns+verbs) 
Now it's time to actually start understanding what you're deciphering... that's not an easy task at all ^^'

Where? livemocha.com Just register and then click on "Learn" and then "Enroll in new course". Start with Korean 101, then Korean 102 and so on ^^

What is it good for? I like it, because you not only hear the sentences/new words, you even have a "practice" part where Livemocha tests your aural comprehension and reading skills (yes, you have to be able to read Hangul to complete the exercises) I haven't reached Korean 102 yet (I take it slowly... *laziness*) but I really love this unit system!

You can also search Flash Cards sets and so on but I still think that smart.fm is the place for Flash Cards. btw, if you register on Livemocha you take part of a big community and you can add "language partner" and chat with them ~ You can also submit some predefined translating exercises and let native speakers correct them! :D


Add more useful daily life expressions
This is pretty much self explanatory, isn't it?

What is it good for? While Livemocha teaches useful words, KBS WORLD has a lot of useful expressions for you. On the left you can choose your language (you can even choose German or Spanish if you don't feel secure enough with English). ;)


Listen to Podcasts
An easy way to get your daily "Korean language" dosis even when you're commuting to school/work.


What is it good for? Well, first of all: it's a great listening practice! And you can listen to their podcasts over and over again (and anywhere you go if you have an mp3 player) and learn ther dialogues by heart... I love listening to podcasts! Sometimes they are quite funny and they explain the new words really well ^^ it also gives you a "classroom" feeling as if you were studying with other people and discussing the grammar points.

PLUS: the website is a cool community where you can post questions and suggestions and discuss their podcasts ^.~ ! ! !accessing the podcast through the site is a bit more difficult. I'd just subscribe to the podcast through iTunes store to get the updates easily. BUT! if you're planning to go through all the older podcasts of the page and don't know how to access, here's my secret link for you!


Find a tandem partner

Where? There are hundreds of communities! Just google "korean penpals" and register and there you are! =P http://www.interpals.net/ http://www.languageexchange.org/ 

What is it good for? well... speaking practice? Or do you only want to learn Korean passively? Even so, every Korean might have a special prononciation that deviates from the one in your learning tapes and you'll end up confused. That's why it's important to hear many, many different people speak Korean. Of course it would be best to meet a Korean in your town in person regularly and have a nice chat ^^ but for shy people like me it's easier to find language partner online and talk to them through Skype or even MSN. I found this cool article about how to find language partners on skype: click me!

My experience: many Asian will try to impose English as main language (yeees, of course... we (white people) all speak English as mother tongue, right? >.<'' ) but try to make clear that you really want to speak Korean. Plus many of the online penpal communities are more some kind of international flirting site so I'm pretty sure you'll have to write to many, many different people (try different ages too!) till you find a suitable language partner who takes you seriously and who explains well. Of course you can also offer your mother tongue as language exchange ^_~ have fun! ~ 


Listen to K-Pop and watch Korean Dramas

Where? for anything K-Entertainment related, check http://www.soompi.com/ for K-Dramas: http://www.mysoju.com/ 

What is it good for? well... I think one of the main reasons you want to learn Korean is to be able to fully access their entertainment section, isn't it? Just admit it! =P Of course, after studying vocabulary for some weeks you still won't be able to watch a Drama and understand their dialogues, I would recommend keep watching them with subtitles but from time to time try to not "look down" to the subtitles or learn some catch phrases by heart.
(I'm pretty sure you already picked up some expressions from your favourite Dramas xD) Don't content yourself with just a few words. If you like a special conversation, wind back and listen to it again. Try to copy their "melody". For example if it's a sassy girl who is always nagging, try to emulate her tone of voice. If it's a cool and reserved guy speak with elegance.

Learning a language is all about acting. It's all about discovering the melody of the language and emulating it. Someday you'll find your own "tone" and feel like you've grown into that language. ^_^ do you find my tips helpful? what experiences have you made with learning a language through internet? feel free to add more points to my "action plan" !

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