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How To Study Korean Without Textbooks? | How to study Korean at home without a teacher

Updated: Apr 25

This is a question that lots of Korean learners wonder about. You may have many fears surrounding self studying. You might think you're learning the wrong things, or not learning things you should be learning, but in this blog I will go in to depth about this topic so stick around.

The 6 Core Tenets Of Studying Any Language:

> Grammar
> Vocabulary
> Reading
> Listening
> Writing
> Speaking

Korean is easy to start learning, but the more you learn the harder it may become. However, don't let that deter you from studying this language. Learning Korean has changed my life for the better and I'm still learning new things every day.

If you've been studying for a few months and you already know how to read and write well then you can skip this next part and scroll down to the next relevant spot for you.

TLDR: Follow these 6 tenets in order to learn and practice grammar & vocabulary using websites and free online lessons.

I Want To Learn Korean, But Don't Know How To Read It Yet:

If this is you then keep reading. You do have to learn the Korean alphabet - that is the very first step. The Korean alphabet is called 'Hangul'. It is one of the easiest alphabets to learn in the world and most novice learners can have it learned within 3 days to 2 weeks. There are only 24 letters (14 vowels and 10 consonants)

Although it's easy to learn - it can be hard to remember at first. That's why you have you to take the time to review daily and If you go a few days without studying it - you may find that you have once again forgotten many of the hangul letters.

You should be writing and/or typing out these hangul letters so that you can become familiarized with it and also memorize it quicker. Korean letters have a certain stroke order that you have to follow but it's very easy and not complicated at all.

After you feel that you know the characters well enough, be sure to study the pronunciation rules. This will allow you to sound more natural and know how tons of words should be pronounced.

Term to know: Romanization

- when a Korean word is spelled out in English letters that is called romanization. For example, Hangul is a Korean word but It has been written in English. Here is the original word - 한글


* Split it up into 2 sections (vowels - 14 & consonants - 10) and study 1 section at a time. Then combine the two.

* To improve pronunciation and practice reading do K-pop karaoke. I did this a lot, find a K-pop song you like and search for a karaoke version on YouTube, but make sure it had hangul letters and not just romanization.

*Use apps like Quizlet, Lingo Deer, Drops, or Duolingo to study the alphabet. (I usually don't recommend Duolingo for beginners but just for learning the alphabet & phrases it is pretty good.)

* Ditch romanization as quickly as you can. Obviously, you may need the first week or two to start learning, but after that do not cling to it. Beginners make this mistake a lot and it hinders your progress. Using romanization will lead to your pronunciation sounding very unnatural.

I Know 한글, But I Don't Know What To Do Next..

(I made a post like this on tumblr so I'll link to that here)

The next step is to start learning vocabulary and grammar. Which one first? Let's just say vocabulary, because It's hard to learn grammar without knowing the core words. Core words are words like I, you, we, he, she, what, how, when, where, why, and so on and so forth. I'll leave a link here to some common Korean vocabulary lists that you can study.

After you've started learning these core commonly used words, you can start with the most basic of grammar. Sentence structure, politeness levels, and Introductions - I would encourage you to also learn some everyday phrases - a link to an old Instagram post I made about phrases > here.

If you scroll down, I will also have more information about a huge list of all beginner grammar.

I've Studied For Awhile, But Still Don't Know How To Make Sentences

I actually just created a post on how to make basic sentences as well as longer and more complex sentences and here is the post on that. It's very easy to learn how to do this

I Know How To Make Sentences, But Don't Know What Grammar To Learn Next

You've been studying for quite awhile now and you feel confident in hangul and with making basic sentences, but you feel a bit stuck. You don't know what grammar or topics you should be learning next. I have a list of all the Beginner Korean grammar that you could ever need to learn.

I will link to my past Instagram post about this and to the PDF where I listed it all out for you.

> Grammar Masterlist IG Post
> PDF List of all grammar

Now that you know what to do you might be wondering...

How To Study Korean Grammar:

This is a very loaded question. There are many ways to study grammar, although you might be wondering which is the BEST method. And arguably the best method to study grammar is the one that works best for you, so try out a few methods and see which one you like the best.

If you want to know a ton more methods to not only study Korean, but improve your skills in listening, reading, speaking, writing, and even your handwriting this is the BEST RESOURCE for you.

Websites I Like To Use:

But for those just wanting to know a few good quick methods for getting grammar to stick in your head here are my top tier methods:

> Sentence Replacement Technique (this is when you look for a lesson on a specific grammar, read through it, and then pick 1 or more example sentences. With that 1 example sentence you start to add in and remove words as many times as you can until you eventually have a lot of different unique sentences that you created- I go into more detail in the self-study guide book. I made an Instagram post about it too, you can find by scrolling my feed.)

> Create Your Own Sentences (this is self-explanatory. just make your own example sentences using the grammar you learned. the mistakes I made as a beginner was just reading a lesson and never using what I learned to actually make sentences. If it's too hard to do on your own use the method above. I also like to use Naver Dictionary & Translate App to check if my sentences are okay.

> Use Multiple Resources For Hard Grammar (we have all been there, some grammar you won't learn in one siting. sometimes it takes a few study sessions to nail down that one difficult piece of grammar. you should be using more than one resource) you can use books, website lessons, YouTube videos, etc. My favorite person to turn to when I need to learn a grammar structure is Go Billy. I also use at least 2-3 websites each time I study any grammar. Sometimes 1 lesson explains it better but another lesson might have better or more example sentences - so check around. (Please don't just use Duolingo or just use one resource when there are hundreds.)

> Hunt For Lots Of Example Sentences (I am a firm believer in this. the more example sentences your brain has to work with the better it can understand the grammar in context. I will often use Naver Dictionary & Translate app just to read through example sentences. It's repetitive. that repetition is what helps you remember it. the more you see it - the better.)

> DO NOT SKIP REVIEWING (if you ask me what I like the least when it comes to studying - it's reviewing. I don't know why, but I just hate it - and when I was a beginner I would skip this step too and have to re-learn again and again... It's not worth it, just look over your notes or watch a video about the grammar to remind yourself - even making 1 sentence is better than nothing.)

QUICK NOTE: has nothing to do with this, but if you sign-up for me email list you will get a special free book around valentines day. It's going to be a Korean dialogue workbook. If you visit the home page of my site and scroll to the bottom, you will see a sign-up form.

I Sit Down To Study, But Don't Know How To Study Sometimes

If you find it hard to fit studying into your day, or struggle with making and keeping a routine I can help you with that. I just started 1 on 1 private tutoring - If you want to be a part of that just send me a message on Instagram.

> I have one-off lessons available if you just want to practice a skill like speaking or reading, or a concept/grammar for one lesson.

> We can meet from 1-3x a week depending on your preference and each lesson is from 30-60 mins (your choice)

> We’ll work around any timezones or schedules

> I aim to create personalized practices for you and give you “homework” after each lesson.

> We’ll mostly be doing classes through Instagram calls and dms. You can choose whether you want to only do calls, only do texts & audio messages, or both.

> Any level can do tutoring with me, even if you don’t know hangul yet

> Payments will be through paypal

That Is the end of this post! Phew... this was kinda hard to make. I didn't realize I had so much to say haha and so much to share with you all, but below I will add in a masterlist of different resources (from me and a couple other places)


a good karaoke youtube channel to practice reading skills:




Plus I have so many things to practice reading on my Instagram - too many to link all of them lol



Plus I have lots of dialogues on my Instagram that you can practice your listening skills with


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great blog post I like using koreanling too they post about Korean hangul and number games, and typing practice game!


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