Korean Beginners Guide
This guide was written for Korean Beginners that don’t know where to start learning the Korean language.
Why Learn the Korean Language
Korean is spoken by an estimated seventy-five million people in North and South Korea, and the importance of the Korean language is steadily growing all over the world. Although most speakers of Korean live on the Korean Peninsula and its adjacent islands, more than three million are scattered throughout the world on every continent.
Learning to read the Korean Alphabet should be the first stop for Korean beginners.
Korean has personally my favourite alphabet to learn because of its unique structuring and style of writing.
Korean Alphabet has 35 characters overall with 10 vowels, 14 constants, and 11 Dipthongs (Complex vowels made up of regular vowels).
Learn Korean Written Alphabet is also known as Hangul alphabet or script and has origins that from Chinese. The Korean Alphabet contains ten main vowels, fourteen consonants, and eleven complex vowels(Known as Diphthongs). Until 1980, Korean was written from right to left but since then Hangul has changed direction to be written left to right. An interesting fact when you want to learn the Korean alphabet. The shapes of the consonants are based on the shape the mouth made when pronouncing the corresponding sound is made. Some consonants were created by adding extra lines to the original shapes.
Korean letters are group together in blocks or boxes to form syllables. These syllables are formed with an initial consonant, then either one or two vowels to the right of the initial constant or below the initial consonant. The consonant “ng” is silent when placed in the initial position. Example of how Korean is written and how to read Korean below.
Korean Number System
How to Write Korean Numbers
The Korean language has two frequently used Korean number systems:
- Sino Korean
- Native Korean.
Understanding how to write both Korean number system should take very little time and effort to learn.
To Avoid your initial confusion on when and in what situation to use which number system I put together lists in which each Korean number system applies to.
When to Use Sino-Korean
• For any number 100 or higher since Native Korean numbers only go up to 99.
• Counting any unit of time other than hours
• Measurements (kilometers, grams, liters, etc.)
• Phone numbers
• For creating the names of the months (number of month + ?)
• Money / currency
You basically write the Korean Characters in order. If the number is a double or triple digit number you write the Number times Position, Number times Position.
It’s actually pretty straightforward when it comes to learning how to use the Sino Korean number system. Pronouncing Sino Korean numbers is just as easy to learn.
To illustrate what I mean, here is Sino Korean numbers 1 to 100.
When to use Native Korean
• Counting physical objects (including people) and usually followed by a count word.
• Years of age
• Counting (in general)
• Counting months (but only when used with the native Korean word for month/moon: ?)
Native Korean Numbers are written exactly like they are written above.
It’s actually pretty straightforward when it comes to learning how to use the Native Korean number system. Pronouncing Native Korean numbers is just as easy to learn. To illustrate what I mean, here are Native Korean numbers 1 to 99.
You really just need to memorizes how to pronounce the base Native Korean Numbers then you can easily pronounce any Native Korean number. I personally choose to remember that Native Korean numbers follow a “number-position” type pattern. Example of what I mean..
Understanding how to write Korean numbers is really that simple to learn. Only takes an hour or two to fully memorizes the Korean number system.
You really just need to memorizes how to pronounce the base Sino Korean Numbers then you can easily pronounce any Sino Korean number. I personally choose to remember that Sino Korean numbers follow a “number-position” type pattern. Example of what I mean..
Korean Vocabulary and Korean Phrases
The logical next step for Korean beginners after learning the Korean Alphabet would be to start developing your Korean vocabulary with Korean words and phrases.
Common Korean Phrases
If you ever play to visit a country where the primary spoken language is Korean, then knowing and being able to use common Korean phrases. Even though English is gradually becoming the most used language in international business in some situations. Speaking the language of the locals and talking to the people. It shows respect and an effort to their culture with just knowing a few common Korean phrases.
In any language, you should be able to greet people and introduce yourself or simply ask for help or directions. Korean greeting and phrases to start or end conversations. Being able to introduce yourself in Korean. Being able to say your “Sorry” or ask politely for someone to repeat themselves. Common Korean words and phrases like saying “yes’ and “no”
Most of the sentences below can be used for travel and daily life conversations. So they might come handy if you memorizes and practice then. The following is a list of common Korean phrases that you may need to know in the Korean language:
I hope you find this page of common Korean phrases useful in your travels. Memorizes them and try to incorporate them into your daily conversations.
The Korean grammar rules you must follow and understand to properly speak the Korean language.
Korean Sentence follows the pattern of Subject + Object + Verb but politeness and respect to seniority also play an important part in the Korean language and culture.
Korean Nouns do not have a Gender.
Korean Nouns can be made plural by adding “들” to the end of the word.
Korean Verbs rely on several factors such as tense, aspect, mood, and the social relation to the people you are referring and speaking to.
More information about Korean grammar can be found below.
Korean Grammar Rules
The challenging or confusing part of learning any language.. learning Korean Grammar Rules! The rules you must follow to properly speak the Korean language. But don’t worry about how hard learning Korean Grammar might feel at first. Learning Korean grammar rules is one of the most effective ways to speed up your ability to properly speak the Korean language. Keep in mind this is just a basic introduction to understanding how Korean grammar works.
Korean Grammar Rules: Sentence Structure
• In Korean, the order of the words in a sentence is subject + object + verb.
• Politeness and respect to seniority is a critical part of Korean culture and the Korean Language.
Korean Grammar Rules: Nouns and Pronouns
• Korean Nouns do not have a Gender. Korean Nouns can be made a plural by adding “?”
• Korean Pronouns have honorifics to show respect formally or informally.
Korean Grammar Rules: Verbs
• Korean Verbs uses three tenses: past, present, and future
• Verbs can change according to the age and/or seniority to the person your speaking to.
• Korean Verbs rely on several factors such as tense, aspect, mood, and the social relation to the people you are referring and speaking to.
Korean Grammar Rules: Adjectives
• Korean Adjectives are words that describe or modify another person or thing in the sentence
Learning Korean grammar rules can be considered the cornerstone of the language and will take some time to learn but creates a sturdy foundation to help you completely learn Korean in no time. Take the time to let these points soak in, then build on them as you continue your Korean studies. Good luck, and have fun learning Korean.
Consider Using a Korean Language Learning Program
If you’re really serious about learning Korean and want to maximize your time then you should consider using a Korean language course to further aid you in your quest to learn Korean. There are several great programs out there that deliver a great language learning experience. The advantages of a language learning program are the organization and having the next step already lined up. Most break down the lessons into 30-minute intervals that can fit into any type of schedule. Flexible to retry a lesson to make sure you understand what you are learning and give you confidence in succeeding.
Examples of great Korean language programs can be found below.