Why am I learning Korean?
The main reasons are an interest in Korean culture, speaking with Korean people and Korean food.
First of all, a note about Hangeul – the Korean writing system. Hangeul (한글) is the only way to speak and write the language. Trying to read romanised Korean (Korean written in English letters) is a waste of time, so learning Hangeul is essential. Writing Korean in English letters does not show the pronunciation or how the word is formed.
Culture. Knowing some of the language helps me to understand the culture. For example, the words used to refer to siblings – 언니 (woman’s older sister), 누나 (man’s older sister) instead of referring by name.
Many Korean words are based on Chinese which shows the Chinese influence on the country’s history.
Korean People. Learning Korean obviously helps me better communicate with Korean people. Many Koreans speak English to various degrees of ability. They are usually surprised that an Australian man is interested in learning Korean. “Why are you learning Korean?” is a frequently asked question. I hope this article will answer the question.
Food. Knowing how to read Hangeul and speak some Korean is useful when I go to my local Korean food shop. I can speak to the owner in Korean, ask for ingredients and read the packages. It is fun reading the Hangeul on Korean menus and recognising the names of the dishes.
Fun! Most of all, learning a language is fun and a good workout for my brain.
What do I want to learn?
- Read Song Lyrics (Color Coded) and understand most of the meaning, possible memorising the lyrics for singing along!
- Know the Korean Food Vocabularyof Korean food and ingredients.
- Develop listening and speaking skills so I can have conversation with Korean speakers.
- Useful language for travel. I want to visit Korea. Learning some language will help me communicate with the locals as well as reading signs, menus and other information.
- Learn more vocabulary to better understand the culture
- Learn enough grammar to have basic conversations.
How did I get interested in the language and culture?
- Challenged myself (in 2012) to read Hangeul, mainly as a brain challenge.
- Discovered K-Pop songs (first song was Girls Generation – Twinkle)
- I have made Korean friends in Sydney (including Toastmasters public speaking club, school parents).
- Interested in Korean names, how they are pronounced, and the structure of Korean names. Choi is not pronounced like “choy” !
- I was reasonably familiar with Japanese and Chinese culture, and wanted to know more about Korea.
- Have watched several Korean films (Marathon, The Tower, Werewolf Boy, My Sassy Girl, Momento Mori, Shiri, The Recipe, The Host)
- Started watching Korean dramas where I get to hear a lot of the language. (You’re Beautiful, Secret Garden and Descendants of the Sun).
How can I learn Korean?
- Practice speaking and listening to Korean people. Speak with my Korean friends, make new friends on HelloTalk, KakaoTalk and arrange language exchange
- Self study of Vocabulary and Grammar
- Listen to podcasts and watch movies, dramas and YouTube Videos.
- Write sentences and speak out loud, especially to Korean speakers.
My Learning Resources
- Talk to Me In Korean web site – audio recordings (podcasts) and lesson PDFs. Good for grammar and some vocabulary
- Free book and audio from www.koreanfromzero.com
- Videos from www.sweetandtastytv.com (with “Professor” Mina Oh).
- Kindle ebook version of the Tuttle Korean-English Learner’s Dictionary
- Korean for Beginners – Mastering Conversational Korean – Amen and Park (c) 2010 Tuttle. A useful book with good explanations of grammar. More information on Amazon.
- Most importantly – my Korean friends are my greatest teachers 🙂
Follow my Korean learning journey
I created a Facebook page for posting my pictures, links and other notes about my Korean learning adventure. Please like Charles Learns Korean (Facebook Page).