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Do you want to become more employable and gain unique access to one of the most fascinating cultures out there? If so, the smartest thing you can do for yourself this year is to start learning Korean. Doing so will open up many opportunities for you to expand professionally in Australia and abroad, as more and more companies are looking for proficient speakers that can help them improve their business relationships. On top of that, learning Korean is a great idea if you enjoy immersing yourself in Korean culture and want to get a deeper understanding of its customs and traditions, so if you are a K-pop fan or a lover of Korean cinema, don’t hesitate to learn the language.
Another great reason to learn Korean is to discover one of the most unique languages around the globe, in the sense that, according to linguists, Korean is a language isolate. This means it has never been proven to be related to other languages or language families, as although it has similarities with Japanese in its grammar structure, its vocabulary and pronunciation are completely different. Another aspect of Korean that stands out is its alphabet, called Hangul, which was devised by King Sejong in the 15th century and it’s considered by some to be one of the most perfect writing systems in the world because of how logical it is and how simple it is to learn, so if you are interested in linguistics, this is definitely a language worth checking out.
Ready to start learning Korean? Here is a useful guide to learning the language that will let you know everything you need to get started right now.
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1. Why Learn Korean Today?
The first thing you should do on your journey to fluency is find out why you’re learning Korean in the first place. To help you figure it out, here are some of the best reasons why you should start studying Korean this year.
To Challenge Yourself
If you’re looking for a new personal challenge, studying Korean is exactly what you should do. Although the Korean alphabet is not difficult to learn, and its pronunciation system is really precise, learning Korean grammar can be really challenging for English speakers, as it follows a SOV pattern. This means that in Korean sentences, the subject comes first, then the object and the verb goes last, which can be hard to get used to unless you already speak another Asian language. On top of that, you’ll have to learn a lot of new vocabulary, and because Korean is so different from English, there aren’t any similar words that you can easily understand like in other European languages, so you’ll have to rely on other ways of learning, like memorization or other studying techniques.
To Make Friends All Around The World
In Australia, according to the latest census, there are more than 120,000 people that identify as being of Korean ancestry, so once you become bilingual, you’ll start to have a much more active social life, as you’ll be able to get closer to many more foreign-born Australians. On top of that, you’ll be able to communicate with the more than 75 million Korean native speakers that live in different parts of the world, such as South and North Korea, where the language has official status, but also the US, Ukraine, China and Russia, where there are big communities of Korean speakers. What’s more, you’ll have the chance to build incredible relationships with Korean learners who love the language as much as you do and help you improve your language skills, so if you want to meet diverse groups of people, learning this language is the way to go.
To Become More Employable
Do you want to work for some of the top Korean companies that operate from Australia? If so, you need to learn Korean, as having this language skill will make you eligible for well-paid positions in companies like Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and POSCO Australia Pty Ltd. On top of that, you’ll be able to access international job markets, and even get a job in Seoul or any other city in South Korea, where there are many great jobs available for English native speakers. On the other hand, learning Korean can be a great way to expand your business in Australia, as you’ll be able to attract more potential clients that speak Korean, and also take advantage of the successful economic relations between South Korea and Australia, that in 2020 alone accounted for more than 20 billion dollars.
Want to know more about how Korean can impact your business? Check out Korean & Profit: The Perks of Entering South Korea’s Growing Market
To Immerse Yourself In Korean Culture
f the reason why you are interested in studying Korean is that you love Korean dramas and K-pop, learning the language is a great way to deepen your understanding of their culture, which will allow you to get all the cultural references and enjoy all the language puns that are usually lost in translation. On top of that, learning Korean is essential to access a part of Korean culture that most westerners don’t know much of, like its politics, religion, and the values of Korean society, so if you want to become an expert on the subject, speaking the language is the way to go.
If you’re a K-pop fan, here are The Most Inspiring K-Pop Quotes to Learn Korean
2. The Different Korean Dialects
If you ever set foot in South Korea, you’re probably aware that are many Korean dialects that are used in different parts of the country. The most well-known is the Gyeonggi or Seoul dialect, which is the one that’s used in most Korean TV shows, and the one that is mainly taught abroad, so most learners start by learning this variant first. However, once you are fluent enough in this variant, you can start to explore others, like the Chungcheong dialect, the Jeju dialect, or the Jeolla dialect. The good news is all variants that are spoken in the country are mutually intelligible, so learning one is enough to make yourself understood in South Korea.
Although people in South and North Korea can understand each other, there are differences between the variants used in these two countries. The dialect in North Korea is much more formal, doesn’t include the English loanwords that are typically heard in the South Korean variant and instead uses words of Russian origin. On top of that, there are differences in vocabulary, punctuation, and orthography, and although they use the same alphabet, in North Korea it’s called Chosŏn'gŭl and not Hangul.
used in Seoul
in the Northeastern area
in the North
in the Gyeongsang region
in the Southwest
in the Jeju Island
3. How to Learn Korean More Efficiently
Now that you have decided to take the leap and start learning Korean now, you may be asking yourself where to start. Well, the first decision to make is whether you would like to study alone using printed and online resources or if you want to hire a language professional to accompany you in your language journey. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks and depend on your objectives, needs and learning style. Let’s analyse these options below!
Why Learn Korean With a Teacher
Now that we have explored the reasons why you should start learning this fascinating language, it’s time you decide what’s the most efficient way of doing so. Although many learners try to learn Korean on their own, if you truly want to start your journey to becoming fluent on the right foot, the smartest thing you can do is to get a trainer that can guide you through the learning process. To help you understand why you should learn Korean with a language professional, here are some of the most important advantages.
Do you want to understand Korean culture? If that’s the case, the best thing you can do is find a native tutor who can clearly explain to you all the differences between the Korean people and Australians, as well as let you know interesting facts about life in South Korea that you wouldn’t find in textbooks. On top of that, a teacher can help you understand your favourite K-pop songs, and recommend amazing Korean music, books, and movies to expand your knowledge of Korean culture.
Another great reason why you should learn Korean with a teacher is that it’s the most efficient way to get enough practice time. As you’ll quickly find out, most learners that study on their own end up having many difficulties when it comes to actually talking with natives because they usually don’t have many opportunities to work on their conversational skills. On the other hand, people that study with a teacher get to chat in Korean at least once a week, which helps them speak confidently in any situation.
Fluency in Korean won’t happen overnight, you’ll need to put in a lot of work and dedication and spend many months studying before you feel that you can confidently communicate in the language. Because of that, it’s essential you have someone who can motivate you through the whole learning process and help you overcome all the stumbling blocks you’ll encounter, and there’s none as qualified as a Korean trainer to do that.
If you study Korean with a tutor, you won’t have to waste time looking for materials or designing a learning plan, because they’ll create all your lessons based on your language goals, your interests, and any requirement you might have. This will ensure you actually have fun during your lessons, and that you use updated resources, which will impact how fast you learn.
Lastly, getting the help of a language professional will allow you to ask as many questions as you want about the Korean language, which means you’ll get to learn many interesting things that are really hard to find online. What’s more, you’ll be able to clear up any doubts you might have, which means you’ll make fewer mistakes in the long run.
Now that you know why studying Korean with a trainer is the smartest option, what are you waiting for to get started? Simply contact us and we’ll find the best tutor for you!Study Korean With Our Native Tutors
4. Individual or Group Lessons: Which One Should You Choose?
Depending on what your language goals are, there are different types of lessons you can choose from. To help you make the best decision, take a look at some of the differences between individual and group lessons.
Individual lessons are ideal for learners who want to achieve a particular goal like passing an exam or relocating to another country and don’t want to have to adapt to other people’s schedules. One of the main advantages of this type of lessons is that you’ll have the complete attention of your tutor, which can help you make progress more quickly and work on those areas of the language that you need some help with. In addition to that, you’ll get to have lessons that are solely based on your interests, so this option is perfect for those who want more personalised classes.
If you want more affordable lessons and you enjoy learning with others, group lessons are exactly what you’re looking for. Although you’ll have to adapt to other people’s schedules and you’ll have less feedback from your tutor, you’ll get more varied conversations and also more opportunities to enjoy cultural exchanges with your peers, so if you’re a sociable person, you’ll love this type of lesson.
5. Tips to Learn Korean Vocabulary
Memorizing new words in Korean can be challenging, especially for beginners, since they sound so different from English and most other European languages you might know. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to learn Korean vocabulary more efficiently.
If you’re a complete beginner, the first thing you should do before you attempt to learn new words in Korean is to learn Hangul. Don’t worry, the Korean alphabet only has 24 letters, 14 consonants and 10 vowels, and the shape of the consonants is based on the shape that the mouth takes when producing the sound, so they are pretty easy to remember. On top of that, because Korean is a phonetic language, you’ll learn how to pronounce each letter very quickly, and you’ll be able to read words that you don’t know much faster than in other languages like French or Portuguese.
Need some help learning Hangul? Take a look at The Beauty of Korean Letters: Everything You Need to Know About the Korean Alphabet
Start With Simple Words
Once you can write and read Hangul, it’s time you start building your vocabulary. It’s best you start with simple things, like the numbers, the days of the week, and simple conversation phrases and greetings. After that, start learning things that are related to you, which will be easier to remember because they’ll have more emotional value. So for example if you like playing the piano, learn vocabulary that’s related to music, so you can say things like “I love playing the piano” in Korean. You can then move on to learning things that are related to the reason why you’re learning Korean, so for instance if you want to speak the language to advance your career, you can try to memorize vocabulary that’s related to work and business.
”I chose Language Trainers because your teachers are certified. It takes a special type of person to be able to teach a grown adult how to speak a new language. The teacher must be understanding, patient, and diverse. It seemed to me like you specifically seek out people like this. The lessons are going great so far! I’m being challenged to find and use everyday words in my normal speech. I feel Nara will be able to help me accomplish my goals.”
Katrina Armstrong- Korean course in Dallas
Learn English Loanwords
Although English and Korean don’t share cognates, there are plenty of loanwords that come from English and Korean-style English words called Konglish that are really easy to learn and make up a significant part of everyday vocabulary. Some of them are:
- Chocolate – 초콜릿 (choko-lit)
- Dessert – 디저트 (dijeoteu)
- Apartment – 아파트 (a-pa-teu)
- Nightclub – 나이트 (na e teu)
- Report – 리포트 (li-poteu)
- Healing – 힐링 (hil-ling)
- Team – 팀 (tim)
- Selfie – 셀카 (selka)
- Kitchen Towel – 키친타올 (kichin-taol)
- Big Size – 빅 사이즈 (bik-sa-ee-jeu)
Immerse Yourself In The Language As Much As Possible
The more you immerse in Korean, the faster you’ll learn new words and phrases. You can do this in different ways, such as by watching Korean cinema and TV shows, listening to music and podcasts, and reading the news in Korean. There are also plenty of YouTube channels in Korean you can check out, and amazing books you can borrow from many public libraries in Australia, so choose whatever you like and try to surround yourself with the language as much as possible.
Find Korean Friends
A great way to expand your vocabulary and socialise at the same time is to meet people who can help you improve your skills. If you live in a big city, there are plenty of events you can attend to meet natives and other language enthusiasts who love Korean as much as you do, like language exchanges and other types of fun meetups organised by language groups. If you don’t know any or prefer to attend online meetings, you can check out websites like Meetup, where you’ll find many friendly groups near your city or town that host all kinds of online and face-to-face events where you can practise the language and make new friends.
6. Useful Phrases in Korean
Are you ready to have your first conversation in Korean? If so, here are some basic phrases you need to learn that will come in handy in any trip or social situation.
|Phrases in English
|Phrases in Korean
|네 or 예
|Do you speak English?
|Do you speak Korean?
|Can you speak more slowly, please?
|천천히 말 해주세요
|cheoncheonhi mal hae juseyo
|I speak a little Korean
|How much is it?
|Where is the bathroom?
|화장실은 어디에 있어요?
|hwajangsireun eodie isseyo?
|Can you help me, please?
|dowa julsu isseuseyo
|What’s your name?
|My name is…
|Nice to meet you!
|Goodbye (to the person leaving when you’re staying)
|Goodbye (when you’re leaving and the other person is staying)
If after memorizing these phrases you feel like you want to learn more Korean, the smartest thing you can do is book a language course at Language Trainers. If you do, we’ll find you an amazing tutor that helps you become the proficient speaker we know you can be! All you have to do to get started is send us a quick enquiry now and one of our staff members will get in contact with you in no time!
Can’t wait to start learning? Check out our social media accounts where you’ll find some of the most useful tips and resources for students of all languages!
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