The Korean language is spoken by more than 78 million people worldwide. Differing dialects are spoken throughout both North Korea and South Korea (the major difference is the stressing of words--South Korea's stressing is flatter than its Northern counterpart). It is important to know that if you decide to learn standard Korean, you will be able to communicate with all dialects from both countries. As with any foreign language, learning Korean can be a challenge, but with dedication, the right materials and methods, you'll be speaking Korean in no time at all.
Decide which method of study best suits you. Some prefer to learn on their own, others prefer a more traditional method of dialoguing with a tutor or enrolling in a college course. If you prefer a self-study method without a tutor or college course, then proceed to Step 3.
If you prefer to enroll in a course, check your local college course catalog to see if they offer any Korean language courses. If it's a tutor you're interested in, place a phone call to the language department of your local university to determine if there are any Korean clubs or organizations on campus. If not, there may be individual students who would be available for tutoring; ask the college receptionist to take down your phone number and email and pass it along to anyone interested in tutoring Korean.
Whether you decide to learn with a tutor or on your own, you're going to need an English to Korean dictionary. They're available at Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon.com, and are usually under $10. Flash cards are another useful thing to have. You can find flash cards online available for purchase or for free.
Purchase a Korean language course. These range in price from around $14 to $300 each, depending on content and quality. If you want to learn basic Korean with just a few simple greetings on one audio CD, the CD set available for about $16 from Pimsleur might be the appropriate choice.
If you're interested in becoming an intermediate or fluent speaker, then the Pimsleur comprehensive Korean (which has 16 hours of spoken Korean on audio CD and sells for $230) might be a wiser purchase. Pimsleur's method is simply listen and repeat--no textbooks or course materials are needed. If you prefer a workbook/textbook method, investigate Berlitz and Barron's, as they provide phrase books, grammar books and course guides with their Korean courses.
Once you've settled on a method, practice, practice, practice. Devote just 30 minutes a day to learning Korean, and you'll be speaking Korean in mere weeks. Within six months, you could be an intermediate speaker, and with a year of practice, you could achieve fluency.
Things You Will Need
- English to Korean dictionary
- Flash cards
- Course materials (usually an audio CD program or a textbook with accompanying workbook)
- Korean tutor (optional) or college course (optional)
- Do what you can, every single day. It is better to study 10 minutes every day for five days a week than to study for 50 minutes once per week. The key is to constantly review in order for the language to stick.