How to Learn Korean Fast: The Faster Way to Speak Korean
So you want to know how to learn Korean fast? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Many people wonder, “Is Korean hard to learn?” After all, it’s listed as one of the hardest languages for English speakers to learn, right up there with Japanese and Chinese.
But if you know the best way to learn Korean, then it becomes easier to learn and speak — fast.
And there are tons of amazing reasons to learn Korean. Korean is one of the fastest-growing languages because the Korean wave (called Hallyu) of pop culture and entertainment has been taking over the world.
So if you’re ready to know how you can learn Korean fast, read on! Here’s what we’ll be learning:
Table of contents
- How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 1: Fall in Love with Korean
- How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 2: Use Home Immersion Techniques to Create a Mini Seoul
- How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 3: Speak from Day One
- How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 4: Use Language Hacks
- How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 5: Use Conversation Connectors and Fillers
- How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 6: Focus on the Easy Parts of Korean
- You’ll Be Speaking Korean in No Time!
Let’s get to it.
How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 1: Fall in Love with Korean
Lesson: Ask “Why” First — NOT “How/What”
First things first. WHY are you learning Korean?
Maybe you’re a new KPop stan and googled, “What language does BTS speak?” and decided to learn Korean to chase after RM, Suga, or Jungkook. (I’m an RM fan myself. #namjooning forever.)
Or perhaps you recently started watching Crash Landing on You on Netflix and now you’re hooked on amazing KDramas.
Your big “why” may be you have family or a spouse who speaks the language, or you want to travel to Korea someday. So you want to know how to speak Korean to communicate and build relationships.
Those are all amazing reasons to learn Korean!
The key is you need to know why you want to study Korean so when the going gets tough, you can refocus on that passion.
Here are some other examples:
- You want to find a job in Korea, so you need to know how to study Korean for business;
- Your goal is to read Korean literature in its original language, so you need to learn hangul (the Korean writing system);
- You want to make Korean friends, so you want to learn how to speak casually and talk about your interests.
Your “why” often gives you your focus of study and how to make learning Korean fun. If you get all caught up in textbooks and business speech, but your goal is to sing along at a BTS concert? Then you know you need to refocus your attention on Korean music and casual speech.
- Practical Korean Phrases to Ace Your First Korean Conversation
- How to Learn The Korean Alphabet and Write in Korean
- 10 Must-Watch Korean Movies to Fall in Love With Korean
How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 2: Use Home Immersion Techniques to Create a Mini Seoul
Lesson: Creating an Immersion Environment for Home, Work, or Play (Applies to all languages!)
Have you heard of code switching? It’s when a speaker switches back and forth between two or more languages.
Our brains do the same thing, even while learning a language. And while code switching is a helpful skill to have, it can wear out our brains while we’re learning. The constant back-and-forth between our native language and the language we’re learning can drain our brain a lot faster and make it harder to learn.
To reduce code switching, we can create a language immersive environment at home!
You don’t have to travel to Seoul to get immersed in Korean. You can learn the Korean language from home with these tips:
- Switch your smartphone to Korean. This will also change most of your apps to Korean as well. If this is too hard, try downloading Korean language apps and games to help you ease in.
- Watch Korean TV shows. Watching TV shows is a great way to learn Korean culture while picking up new vocab and phrases.
- Read often in Korean. LingQ is my favorite tool to start learning to read in Korean. But there are tons of other resources to learn Korean free online.
- Find a Korean language exchange partner. You may be surprised to find that, even in small towns, there are Korean communities. If you have a college with a study abroad program or a Korean company nearby, then chances are there are at least a handful of Korean native speakers near you. Similarly, you can check out how I found my Japanese friends in a small town.
- Best Korean Translator Apps for Learning Korean
- Korean Culture: 47 Facts about Life in Korea
- 90 Day Korean Inner Circle Review — My favorite option for online Korean language classes, community, and lessons
How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 3: Speak from Day One
Lesson: Speak from Day One
You may be wondering, “How can I speak Korean from day one?”
Well, Korean is actually much easier than you think. (More on that in a minute.)
But to learn how to speak Korean, you need to… you know… actually speak Korean.
So here are some ways to can start speaking Korean and get Korean language practice right now:
- Find a Korean tutor on Preply (our review is here). I found an amazing Korean tutor on Preply who’s been insanely helpful on my Korean language journey. The tutors are reasonably priced!
- Hop on social media to learn Korean! Social media is a great tool for language learning when applied the right way. You can use hashtags or location searches to help you find native speakers.
- Blog or journal in Korean. Writing practice is active output practice, too. So if you can’t find someone to speak with right away, try writing.
But to start speaking, you need to know some Korean greetings! Here are a few easy Korean words and phrases to get you started:
- “Hello”: 안녕하세요 (annyeong haseyo)
- “Hi” and “Bye” (casual): 안녕 (annyeong)
- “Did you eat?”: 밥 먹었어? (bab meogeoss-eo?)
- “Yes”: 네 (ne) or 예 (ye)
- “No”: 아니요 (aniyo)
- “Please”: 주세요 (juseyo)
- “Thank you”: 감사합니다 (gamsahamnida)
- “Take care”: 잘가요 (jalgayo)
By the way, “did you eat?” is a super common greeting in Korea. It shows affection and concern — everyone wants to make sure you’re well-fed!
- 10+ Ways to Say Hello in Korean
- How to Say Thank You in Korean
- How to Speak Korean — It’s Easier Than You Think
How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 4: Use Language Hacks
Lesson: Learn a Language Faster: 8 Simple Language Hacks
Language hacking is a staple here at Fluent in 3 Months. Language hacking can be anything that helps speed up your ability to learn a language and start speaking.
In fact, we have a whole category of articles about language hacking.
So if you want to know how to learn Korean fluently fast? Try these tips:
- Focus on the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule means you’re learning the 20% of words and grammar that give you 80% of your results. The best way to do this is to focus on the most common words in Korean and the words you use most.
- Use a spaced repetition system (SRS) app, like Anki. An SRS vocab app helps you remember your new words whenever you’re about to forget them by strategically spacing them out for study. In fact, 90 Day Korean has Korean vocab decks for Anki as part of their program to study. But you could also make your own!
- Use mnemonics. This is how to associate Korean words with their sound or English word (or both). For example, in Korean, the word 일 (il) means “work”. Since it’s pronounced “il”, I remember it as “I’ll be heading to work now.” Boom.
- Use the Pomodoro technique to study in smaller chunks of time, like 25 minutes of study with a 5-minute break.
- Take Goal Setting in Language Learning to the Next Level with the 80/20 Rule
- Korean Phrases for Beginners and Travelers
- Memory Palaces: How to Use Mnemonics to Remember New Words
How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 5: Use Conversation Connectors and Fillers
Lesson: 101 Core Korean Words — Basic Korean Words You Need to Learn First
Conversational connectors and filler words help you sound way more fluent in Korean. Why? Because we use words like “um,” “uh,” and “actually…” all the time in English.
Not only do these words give you time to think, they make your conversation flow more smoothly. Despite that, many people rarely think to learn them.
Here are some to get you started:
- “But” or “by the way”: 그런데 (geureonde)
- “Well…:”: 저 (jeo)
- “Really?”: 진짜 (jinjja)
- “Okay” or “alright”: 그래요 (geuraeyo)
- “But” or “though” (to connect two sentences): 지만 (jiman)
- “And”: 그리고 (geurigo)
- “Uh…”: 어 (eo)
- “Um…”: 음 (eum)
- “Oh yeah?”, “I see”, “Yes”: 네 (ne) or 예 (ye)
- “Wow!”: 우와! (uwa!)
- “Ouch”: 아야 (aya)
- “Ugh”, “gosh” or “oh no”: 아이고 (aigo)
- “Oh my god”: 세상에 (sesang-e)
- “So…”: 그래서 (geuraeseo)
- “Therefore”: 따라서 (ttaraseo)
- “Still…” or “even so…”: 그래도 (geuraedo)
- “Actually”: 사실은 (sasil-eun) or just 사실 (sasil)
- Conversational Connectors to Fake Your Way Through a Conversation in a New Language
- 150+ Conversation Starters So You Can Talk Confidently to Anyone, in Any Language
- Visual Memory Techniques to Build a Conversational Vocabulary
How to Learn Korean Fast, Step 6: Focus on the Easy Parts of Korean
Lesson: Why Korean Is Easier Than You Think
Yes, Korean has a different writing system. And yes, Korean grammar is backward from English.
But Korean is actually way easier than you think, and you should focus on the easy parts first.
What are the easy parts you ask? Well, here are a few:
- The Korean alphabet, hangul, was designed to be super easy to learn because it was invented for the sole purpose to boost reading and writing literacy.
- Korean is a phonetic language. It may not look like it, but hangul is made into block shapes with characters that are almost always pronounced the same way. That’s better than English!
- Korean doesn’t have tones, and it doesn’t have gendered words. Nice!
- There are thousands of Korean words imported from English into Korean. So you’ll recognize tons of words without even studying, like 컴퓨터 (keompyuteo — “computer”!).
- Korean has word families, meaning there’s a logical build on words you already know. For example, 국 (guk) means “country”. 한국 (hanguk) means “Korean”, 미국 (miguk) means “American”, and 영국 (yeongguk) is “British”.
See, it’s not so bad once you realize what the easy parts are! So start with the basics, and keep these points in mind.
- Master Your Manners in Korean
- Learn a Rainbow of Colors in Korean
- The Best Translator Apps for Korean Learners
You’ll Be Speaking Korean in No Time!
Alright, those are your steps to learn Korean fast. Now it’s up to you to go out and use it!
If you use the resources and lessons here to get you started, you’ll learn how to speak Korean in no time at all. So don’t fret about it being one of the “hardest” languages! You’ve got this.