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Tips To Improve Your Korean Listening Skills

안녕하세요 여러분! It's KoreanStudyJunkie Here and Today I am going to tell you a few tips that can help you improve your listening comprehension in Korean.

It’s finally time to be able to understand Korean, you’ve got this. It takes time and it takes practice, but it is so worth it.

Your goal is to understand korean dramas or to speak with Koreans or even just understand what Koreans say!

TIP #1: Listen To Material That Is On Your Level/ The Right Material

Watching/Listening to Korean dramas as a beginner is usually not the best idea to effectively improve your listening skills. Things like youtube videos, podcasts, and other forms of media like it are the best for all levels of learners.

The Korean used in these forms of media is used in everyday life in Korea. Dramas however, while they are fun to watch and you may pick up a few words and phrases - they are scripted and not as natural.

Korean dramas are also full of niche vocabulary. For Example, if you were watching a drama about hospitals and doctors words, words like "blood pressure" or organ names or anything else that is related to the medical field will show up often.

These are words that aren't used in an everyday conversation (unless you are a doctor or nurse). That's the main reason dramas are hard to understand.

There's an app I have been using to access a lot of interesting stories an podcasts - LingQ. It allows you to read and listen at the same time. You could even import videos or maybe even episodes of korean dramas into this app and the text is auto-generated (It's not the best, but pretty good I found). Then you can listen and study the words. Words you don't know are highlighted in blue. Once you click on a word you don't know, it shows that word's definition.

TIP #2: Use Subtitles Wisely

I am usually against using ONLY English subtitles - if you aren't a very beginner learner (or subtitles in your native language) whilst practicing listening in Korean. However, It can be okay as long as you make sure to actively listen to the words being spoken as you read the subtitles.

Try using Korean subtitles while you watch youtube videos and while you watch your favorite Korean dramas. For very beginners, using subs in your native language could be a chance to understand more and get familiarized with how fast Korean is and the different sounds. I suggest watching once with Eng/native language subs & again with Korean subs.

There are even chrome extensions, integrations, or apps that let you do both at the same time which is the best of both worlds.

TIP #3: Read More!

Reading and listening are one in the same - they both have to do with taking in context and interpreting what that context means. In other words, reading will improve your listening skills and vice versa.

You should read and listen to improve your overall comprehension of the Korean language. As with listening materials, try to find things that are on your level to read. Maybe reading Harry Potter books in Korean as a beginner aren’t the best for this unfortunately.  

Lingq & Naver Blogs are good places to find things to read. You can also go to wattpad and find some rather interesting stories in Korean. You can try reading webtoons as well.

TIP #4: Slow It Down

Nothing wrong with changing the speed of a video or a drama to understand it better. Koreans do speak rather fast and slowing down your audio can help a bit.

I would say listen to it normally once and then again slower and then again normally. Or you could start slow and then go back to normal audio. Listening to things more than once is a good thing too. You’ll catch things that you didn’t the first time around. Repetitive listening has many benefits.

TIP #5: Change Your Mindset

Don’t aim to understand every single word and grammar you hear. If you can just get the gist of what is said - you’re doing great. Trying to focus on every word as it is said actually is what causes you to not be able to keep up with whatever audio you’re listening to.

A good tip also is to look at the mouth of the person while they are speaking - if their mouth is visible at least. You can also do this in real life conversations or just with online videos. This actually can really help you understand better although It may seem weird.

Another tip for understanding dramas would be alternating subtitles between your native language and Korean. For example, I watched Squid Game with my family in English subs, but went back to study on my own and watched with just Korean subs. So If you watch one episode with Korean/English subs first and then rewatch and switch it can help alot


That's all for today's post! I hopw I was able to help you get some ideas for your next study session and I'll see you in the next one. If you want more like this > go here!

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