Do you want to make the best of your time and effort in studying Korean? You are at the right place! 

How to Speak Korean Fast and fun in 1 Sentence

Practice listening, reading, speaking and writing systematically and in a well-balanced way.


Key principles of language learning: practice listening, reading, speaking and writing while you have your errors corrected. 

Learning a language consists in speaking, reading, speaking and writing. This can be divided into 2 categories: comprehensible input and comprehensible output.

Comprehensible input means that you put the information into you when listening and reading aloud. (You must read aloud for practice.) When you listen or read aloud you need to make it comprehensible. This means that you identify the sounds (intonation, stress and pronunciation), understand grammar and meaning. You take in these 3 elements together at the same time when you listen or read aloud. Then the input become comprehensible. 

Comprehensible output is the same. When you speak or write, you should make your sentences comprehensible with the three elements. 

Another crucial element is review and feedback, which means to identify errors and make changes in response. When you study and practice often you are not sure if you listen, read, speak and write in a proper way. That is when you need a native speaker or a bilingual.

These are very straightforward ideas.


When you start off, listening reading and speaking should be your focus

Speaking a foreign language can be likened to being a copycat of the language you are learning – you mimic them! Understanding the sound is the first obstacle you need to overcome. At the same time you should try to work out what they are saying: grammar and meaning. This is called comprehensible output.

Out of the 4 elements, listening, reading and speaking are what you have to mainly practice. The main reason is that you mostly listen, read, and speak in daily life. You don’t get to write as much. Imagine yourself conversing with someone at a cafe: you mainly listen and speak.

Listening and reading are input. Speaking and writing are output. These are the solid fundamentals. Eventually, this will form a language room in your brain. As much as you listen and read aloud, you will speak and write: more input means more output.


Seek Balance

Learning a new language involves listening, speaking, reading, writing, sometimes even a new alphabet and writing format. If you focus exclusively on just one activity, the others fall behind.

This is actually a common pitfall for language learners. For example, it’s easy to focus on reading comprehension when studying, in part because written language is often readily accessible—for one thing, you have a whole textbook full of it. This is also true of the three key elements: it’s comparatively easy to find input sources (like your textbook) and practice understanding them. But neglecting the other two key principles (output and feedback/review) can slow down language growth.

In summary, listening, reading, speaking and writing are by far the most important principles. Anything that hinders those four facets should be eliminated.


Errors are important

Sometimes, the biggest challenge to language learning is overcoming our own fears: fear of making a mistake, of saying the wrong thing, of embarrassing yourself, of not being able to find the right word, and so on. This is all perfectly rational: anyone learning a language is going to make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes will be very public.

The thing is, you NEED to make those mistakes. One of the key principles of language learning is all about making errors and then learning from them: this is what review & feedback means. Plus, if you’re not willing to make errors, then the amount of language you produce (your output) goes way down. In other words, being afraid of making a mistake negatively affects two of the three key principles of language learning!

So what do you do? In part, you may need to push yourself to get comfortable with making errors. However, you should also look for ways to get low-stakes practice: create situations in which you feel more comfortable trying out your new language and making those inevitable mistakes.


Realistic Study Guide

Now that you have learned the basics, it is time to choose a book and study Korean as the guide suggests. I strongly recommend Sejong Korean Conversation series. These books are very well made because thy use lots of photos so that the learners can learn vocabulary words through them without translation. They don’t have unnecessary explanation and are task-oriented books, encouraging you to be fully immersed in Korean. So here are some steps you should take.

  1. Simply, study the course book and do the directions in the book. For example, when the book tells you to listen carefully and repeat, you can do so.
  2. For a short dialogue with a recording, you have to do this. ① Listen ② Listen and read aloud X twice ③ Understand the meaning of the words and grammar ④ Listen and read aloud X 3 times


The 1st time you listen, do not look at the dialogue, but see if you can understand it as if you were in a real life situation. Even if you cannot understand every word, do your best to guess the meaning of what you listen to. 

Listen once and read aloud twice

Then, you listen and read aloud twice: as you listen to the recording, read along the sentences one by one. You might have to try a few times. If you have a really hard time doing so, do in smaller chunks. Do this twice – listen and read aloud X 2.

Study grammar and meaning

The next thing you should do is to study the meaning of words using the book, a dictionary, Papago or Google. You should also understand the grammar from the book. Grammar is a sentence structure. You should accept the way how sentences are formed, rather than constantly asking why. Don’t analyze grammar too much. Check anything you do not understand. Your teacher will help you in class should you have any questions.

Listen and read aloud 3 times

Then you will listen and read 3 more times. The 5th time you listen to the recording, shadow-read without looking at the sentences. If you cannot do so at the first attempt, try a few more times until you can. If you can do the whole thing within 5 times, you don’t have to practice more: move on.

Do this over and over again until things become natural to you.

Then, take a Korean lesson. Speak and interact with your teacher and other students as much as you can. If there is anything you can’t figure out while you study on your own, don’t spend too much time on it. Rather, check to ask your teacher in class. Bear in mind that the teacher does not teach you everything(A passive mentality doesn’t help at all in learning a foreign language); the book and the system in this guide teach you everything. Think of your teacher as a speaking partner.

After class, review what you have learned in class and listen to the recordings again and read aloud everything, making it your own.


Language immersion is the most difficult, yet the most crucial aspect.

You need to learn Korean in Korean. This means you should not rely on English to understand Korean. This may be challenging for you especially if you have never learned a foreign language in the past. If there is anything foreign, you would want to translate it in your native language. 

However, this important trait is commonly shared by all those who excel in foreign languages. Successful learners always learn languages in immersion way whereas those who struggle have a tendency to translate the new language under the name of ‘digesting’ or ‘processing’. They often have a hard time suppressing the desire of translating the foreign language into their mother tongue. But this will only hurt as time goes by especially because Korean language has zero relation with English language as an example. 

If you start from the scratch, you won’t need translation. Besides, by using photos in good Korean language books like Sejong Korean Conversation, you can learn Korean in Korean. This is called language immersion.  Korean language itself must be the center of your focus. This will not only help you to focus on purely listening to and reading Korean, but also accepting the way it is. 

Simply put, eat the language at it is. Don’t spend too much time merely analyzing the language using your native language.


How often/long should you study

Repeated practice is a must. Remember that persistence is vital when learning a foreign language. It means you should practice the same content over and over again on different days. According to research in educational and cognitive psychology, one of the most effective learning strategies is distributed practice. This concept has two main components: spacing, which is breaking study time up into multiple small sessions, and separation, which means spreading those sessions out over time.

For example, you have 4 days to practice Korean – Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. You plan to study 2 pages 3 times each time you study. 

On Monday, you will study pages 1-3 three times. 

On Tuesday, you study 1-3 pages twice and then study 3-6 pages 3 times. 

On Friday, you study 1-6 pages once and study 7-9 pages. 

On Sunday, you study 4-6 pages once and 7-9 pages twice, then you study 10-12.  

You can understand that you study the same pages on 3 different days. This way will help you to remember and use what you have learned. Truly effective!

As far as how often you should study, the more, the better for sure. Realistically, though, at least 3 times throughout the week is reasonable. If you can study 5 or 6 times a week, it will be the best. On the other hand, cramming isn’t a good study plan.


The most 2 common pitfalls

1. Clinging to the book.

This is actually a common pitfall for language learners. For example, it’s easy to focus on reading comprehension when studying, in part because written language is often readily accessible—for one thing, you have a whole textbook full of it. This is also true of the three key elements: it’s comparatively easy to find input sources (like your textbook) and practice understanding them. But neglecting the other two key principles (output and feedback/review) can slow down language growth.

2. Translating.

A number of learners translate it into English so that they can ‘comfortably’ understand the meaning in their native language. This is partly because you are new to language learning and feel ’safe’ when writing them down. You may want to ‘make sure of everything.’

Yet, translating will only turn out futile as these two languages have totally different roots and no relations at all. For these reasons you would often say to yourself ‘why do they say this in Korean? It doesn’t make sense.’ This leads to under issue: since they give most of their energy in translating, they tend to miss the latter part of what they hear from other party.

Translating Korean in your mother tongue will lead to problems that could make you stop studying Korean. It seems there is not problem is doing that when the sentences are fairly simple or the book you are studying is a beginner. However, as you study more complex sentences, you will have a hard time to the point you want to stop because you don’t seem to make a progress.

Please remember when you converse with Korean people face to face or watch a drama or a movie in Korean, you cannot catch up with the pace if you translate.

These 2 pitfalls prevent you from focusing on listening, reading and speaking. They also distract you from relying on the sound because both clinging to the book and translating are related with visible factors.


Use real-life materials

You should be exposed to as much Korean as you can in progress. While studying Korean from books, find something that holds your interests and look forward to practicing with in real life sources even if you don’t understand every word: K-dramas/movies, K-pop songs, tv shows/news, newspaper articles, magazines, blogs, podcasts etc. They will keep you motivated. Even when you reach around pre-intermediate level or completed a beginner’s course, you can choose to be exposed to these real-life sources. You can, not only expand your vocabulary, but also learn the way they speak and Korean culture.


You need to meet and talk to people.

While you have your own program to learn the language, you should pave your own way to meet and talk to people to actually converse with them. For example, you may be talking with your Korean teacher in class and you also watch some Korean dramas to keep learning from real-life sources. Later you should make plans to meet Korean people in your town or by visiting Korea so you can be more fluent and improve language skills.