Power is right at your fingertips.
And the many kinds of apps that can fill up your smart devices prove it!
There are apps for nearly everything, so it’s no surprise that there’s a multitude of apps specialized in helping you learn a language.
Users around the world are taking advantage of these readily accessible resources to act as supplements (or even main sources) for their language education.
So for your Korean studies, you can (and should!) take advantage of a whole army of valuable assets that can fit in a device the size of your palm.
Why You Should Use Korean Apps to Learn Korean
Many 4Korean apps are free
There are many apps on the market, so competition is inevitable. That’s one reason why you see so many apps available for free or at low prices.
Many Korean apps can be downloaded without an accompanying price tag, so you can get the full experience without any fees attached. Take caution that there are some free options that might not be fantastic as a learning resource; luckily, it’s usually easy to find them by doing a quick tryout of the app before you decide to keep or delete it.
There are also apps that start free but offer paid versions or upgrades that contain more content or features. These are normally very affordable, so be sure to take a look to see if they pique your interest.
Apps improve every skill
You’ll quickly realize that some apps can improve certain aspects of your Korean knowledge better than others. Plenty of apps are very specialized in their purpose, which helps their potential as being “that app” you can depend on for a certain goal.
In the app store, you can find a variety of language apps that can benefit specific skill sets, including grammar, pronunciation, writing, listening and reading. For your Korean learning regime, you can allocate different aspects of the language to practice to different apps—doing so will help you partition your studies in a guided manner.
Apps are portable
Your smart device can be a treasure trove of educational content—except the treasure inside won’t bear any weight and can be brought along with you anywhere.
Portable learning resources means you can get your Korean studies done anytime, anywhere, whether you have a few minutes to lose or a long trip ahead that desperately calls for something to pass the time. There’s no longer a need to lug around giant textbooks—just flip out your featherweight phone or tablet to instantly start on some easy learning.
Apps are interactive and diverse
Apps aspire to be engaging so that users remain interested and satisfied. For language apps, this is particularly important. We all know that learning can become dry and rote very quickly, but many language apps embrace the medium to create some highly interactive and appealing experiences for learners who want to progress in a fun and reliable manner.
This means that you’re bound to find some Korean apps that are colorful in their style and presentation, with many using visuals, audio and text altogether so that content can be taught at different learning angles. The more interactive an app is, the higher the chance the content you absorb will be retained in your mind.
Furthermore, there’s an incredibly wide range of app types. You’ll be in awe at how much diversity exists in the vast digital ocean that is the app store. With a quick search, it’s likely that you can find an app that suits a specific learning need.
Your learning is tracked and saved
Tracking your improvement is an often overlooked aspect of language learning, especially for those who are going the self-study route. Passionate learners can go very far in their studies yet lack a reliable means to show just how far they’ve gone. This can lead to some disorganization that can make it difficult to see how you can progress, and when this worsens, you can get a pretty bad case of de-motivation.
Most language learning apps include a feature that saves your progress. For example, a Korean quiz-type app would note the latest scores you received, or a lesson-type app that goes over basic Korean phrases may show how much of a certain section you’d finished. These features are quite basic, but they’re still great tools that can give you the immediate reminder of how far you’ve progressed without having to guess—some apps even suggest from your activity what you should move onto next!
5 Types of Korean Apps Every Learner Needs
Korean learning apps
Apps that are specialized in teaching Korean will probably be your first go-to, though you may be startled at how much can be packed in such small bundles of data. These kinds of apps can range from providing quick and fun mini-lessons to offering a full curriculum. Some are highly focused on a certain topic while others aim to make a broader stroke of the language.
It’s highly recommended that you find at least one Korean learning app that works for your intentions on a daily basis. This kind of app can be bolstered by other supplemental apps, even those that aren’t directly intended to teach you Korean but can still be harnessed as a study tool. The more the learning app can reliably cover about the Korean language, the better.
You may find apps that are solely focused on teaching the Korean language, while there are other more general language learning apps that offer Korean as an option, such as Duolingo or Memrise. Another great option is the FluentU Korean app, which works to create an immersive digital learning experience.
With FluentU, you learn Korean not with by-the-book lesson plans, but with the kind of content that real native speakers would consume. All the videos in FluentU’s vast content catalog are captioned and annotated with interactive subtitles that teach you the language within specific contexts.
FluentU also works to preserve and prolong your learning. The app provides review exercises so that you retain your newly-gained knowledge. Your learner’s history is also tracked so that certain videos can be recommended to you based on your progress; what you get in the end is a personalized learning experience.
If all this sounds like an appealing start or addition to your Korean learning journey, you can try out the FluentU app on iOS or Android.
But that’s not all!
FluentU now also has a Korean YouTube channel.
The channel takes the best clips on the internet and transforms them into Korean grammar, vocabulary and cultural lessons.
A perfect example is the following video, which will enrich your vocabulary with 40 travel phrases:
If learning Korean vocabulary with engaging videos is your thing, you’re going to love FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel. Subscribe to it today and hit the notification bell so that you don’t miss out on any of the new content!
Korean social apps
Social apps that enable you to chat and interact with others can do more than just let you stretch your conversation jowls; they can actually possess very high educational value when used with an active learner mind. Besides enabling you to get some great practice with writing Korean via text messages, social platforms provide spaces for you to practice your Korean with other speakers, get instant feedback and even potentially gain some new buddies!
Korean language exchange apps aren’t difficult to find, as social media is huge in the country. The most popular socializing app is KakaoTalk, which boasts around 45 million active users and is used by 93% of all smart-phone owning South Koreans. It would thus be a good idea to give KakaoTalk a try, or a similar app that offers text, audio and video communication methods.
Your communications will act as casual, laidback learning, so you’ll be progressing without even feeling like you’re studying at all!
Korean dictionary apps
Dictionaries are more than just Korean translator apps; they’re crucial for language learners and serve as an ultimate vocabulary-learning tool. Digital dictionary apps allow for on-the-go and instant use so new and unfamiliar words will stand no chance as obstacles in your Korean language studies.
Whenever you wonder how you can say something in Korean, don’t wait to find out—just tap open your dictionary app and look it up. One of the benefits of digitized dictionaries is that they provide more than just definitions, often including synonyms, antonyms, example sentences and audio pronunciation. It’s recommended that you pair a dictionary app with something like a Korean flashcards app so that you can keep note of important or interesting words you just learned.
Make sure you download at least one Korean dictionary app so you can have it handy, and use it often whenever and wherever! It’s guaranteed it’ll be one of your most-used resources for your studies.
Korean TV apps
If you’re aware of Korean dramas (or K-dramas) and Korean variety shows, you’ll probably know that these shows aren’t just popular in Korea. Korean TV has a surprisingly large global following, which is made possible with the use of digital streaming services. So if you’re wondering how your pal managed to binge-watch entire Korean shows and constantly be at the ready to rant about them, chances are he or she was using a Korean drama app.
With Korean TV apps, you can gain access to a plethora of Korean entertainment. These apps can be general streaming platforms that include Korean media (for example, Hulu offers a selection of Korean dramas) but there are also more specific free Korean drama apps that you should certainly take advantage of. If you’re more into the movie scene, there are Korean movie streaming services that can have both website and app versions.
There are even specific websites whose goal is to make K-dramas available for streaming as shown in this video from FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel.
Many of these websites host K-drama content that you can watch for free as well as subtitling in Korean and English, and they are constantly updating as new K-dramas are created and released.
Check out this video and many others like it on FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel.
This isn’t all just to get your TV fix—Korean shows and movies can be powerful resources that test you on all fronts of the language, everything from pronunciation to sentence structure. While watching, you can have subtitles switched on so that you can more easily follow along. Bonus points if you choose to have Korean subtitles!
With Korean TV apps on your Android or Apple device, you’re carrying both instant entertainment and learning opportunities. Even if your learner brain is getting thwarted by the exciting content of the show itself, you can still watch to get some cultural insight or to passively soak in the sounds of the language. Be warned that Korean entertainment is known to be highly addictive, so don’t be surprised if you finish a series of movies or a whole season of a show within a day!
Korean audio apps
Learning with TV is fantastic, but learning with pure audio can be highly rewarding on its own. In fact, it’s highly encouraged that you practice your listening comprehension as much as possible when learning any language because of how crucial it is to your fluency. Moreover, by removing the aspect of visuals present in shows and movies, your studies with simple audio can be very valuable and less distracting to your senses.
Your choice of Korean audio apps can range in content anywhere from informative and engaging Korean podcasts to the ever-popular and irresistible K-pop music. Most audio material can be helpful for your purposes, so long as you’re actively listening to the Korean being spoken. It might be challenging to follow Korean when spoken at a certain speed, but with apps, you’ll likely acquire the ability to pause, rewind or even slow down at your convenience so you don’t miss a thing.
Korean TOPIK prep apps
The TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) exam is taken by non-natives to gauge their fluency in the Korean language. It’s a requisite for any individual who wishes to study or do business in Korea. Because it’s the only official standardized test for Korean language proficiency, there’s a strong interest in it among serious Korean learners who are looking to gain notable accreditation with the language.
So it isn’t surprising that there are apps that specifically offer TOPIK prep. TOPIK tests your Korean reading, writing and listening skills, so the apps in turn will work to boost your knowledge in those areas in a tactical “tried and true” manner. It isn’t unusual to see these apps utilize content from previously-administered iterations of the test so that what you learn and practice is based on real grounded content.
Even if you don’t plan on taking the TOPIK exam, you can find TOPIK prep apps very useful in their method of teaching and reviewing the Korean language, since they’re aiming to help you reach a targeted level of proficiency.
How to Get Fluent with Korean Apps
You can download as many Korean apps as you want—we strongly encourage you to do so! However, before you start tapping all of them open at once, check out these tips to make the most out of your studies and your digital tools.
Turn your phone settings into Korean
This is one of the easiest things you can do, but it serves as a strong method of immersion in your Korean language aspirations. By changing your default language settings, you’ll be forced to encounter and interpret Korean the moment you unlock your phone. It sounds daunting, but it’s not so difficult once you memorize the words a few times, even if you receive pop-up notifications that are longer and have more phrases (most of them are often repetitive).
When using Korean apps, it’s recommended that you switch their settings to full Korean as well; you may also do this first before doing it to your whole phone. Regardless, the language switcharoo in smart devices is one trick that will quickly stop feeling like a chore when you get used to it.
Learn Korean with social media
As said earlier, we highly recommend using a Korean social app as a learning resource. There’s a startling amount of language skills you can learn through casual communication and media consumption, and some would even say this is their preferred method of learning a language because of its interactive aspect.
Along with getting tidbits of Korean culture itself, you can expect to learn the more “hip and current” trends of the language as social media apps would probably utilize more informal Korean. In certain apps that encourage user interaction, it’s also possible that you could encounter those who are eager to help you learn standard Korean speech and perhaps give you mini-lessons on the spot. Don’t be shy when it comes to making mistakes, but do your best when communicating anyhow!
Language learners often find it easier to absorb content when it revolves around something entertaining. With social media and associated apps, you’ll be getting a stimulating experience with strong educational potential that can stick better in your head.
Establish a study routine
Any educational journey benefits greatly from an organized plan of action. This plan includes a study routine that you follow diligently. Without a set agenda, progressing in your learning can become more difficult than it should be.
It’s no different when learning Korean with apps. You can certainly use the apps anytime you wish, including those moments where you have a few minutes to kill, but it’s also recommended that you have a dedicated time solely for studies as well. It’s advised that you allocate different times to use each app so that you can create a sort of schedule that’s easy to follow.
Remember that during these designated study sessions you should be concentrating solely on learning and nothing else! For that reason, perhaps you should hold off on using game apps for these times.
Use a variety of apps and resources
Different apps have different strengths and it’s a good idea to figure them out early on. Search and discover what app can benefit which aspect of your Korean knowledge.
In general, audio-based apps can benefit your listening comprehension or pronunciation skills, flashcards and other text-based apps can bolster your vocabulary and reading and apps that require your textual input can assist your writing. Of course, you may find further uses for more inclusive and interactive apps. If you think you need some extra learning or review for anything, don’t be afraid to branch out from an app’s content and go to external resources. Use what you think is necessary to really beef up your studies!
As a quick tip: physically organize and move around your apps in your device so that those that are similar to each other or probe at the same skills are clustered together. This makes it visually easier for you to know which apps to use for what.
Test yourself often
We can grimace all we want about it, but testing is a vital process for reinforcing the content we learn. Even if Korean apps are the learning resource in question, you should still utilize some kind of testing measure to make sure you’re not just mindlessly tapping away.
Fortunately, a lot of Korean teaching apps have built-in quizzing and review features, particularly apps that are formatted with lessons or some sort of curriculum. Don’t skip out on taking these little tests—if anything, you should try to take them as often as you can, even with older content you believe you’d memorized. It’s easy to fly through an app’s content, but this heightens the need for you to thoroughly digest the material.
If the apps don’t have a testing system in place, then find other means to help ingrain your studies. This can include writing notes (digitally or on paper), making audio logs or even fashioning your own little quizzes! Make sure that for whatever system you use that you keep a cumulative record of your progress.
See what else an app offers
While some apps may be quite basic and do exactly as they state they do, others may go the extra mile and provide supplemental material, such as in the form of external website links or downloadable guides. Don’t overlook these, especially if they’re offered for free! These can be useful additions that make the app extra valuable to your Korean learning.
You can also check to see what perks are offered in paid versions of initially free apps, especially those that you really enjoy using. These paid versions are more or less upgrades that offer more content or features to enhance your experience. They also tend to be quite affordable, usually priced at a few dollars, so do check them out!
Work at your level
Some apps have content that appeals to beginners, while others are more suited for advanced learners. Make sure you use apps that accommodate honestly to your current fluency level. Don’t go too hard or too easy on yourself—work at the standards you know you can accomplish, but provide enough challenge that will keep you driven.
Once the content in a given app becomes easy, move on to apps that provide more difficult material. You can still keep those easy-level apps and use them for some painless review during your downtime—it’s always encouraged that you revisit content you’ve already learned so you don’t forget it down the road of your long learning journey!
Don’t settle for less
There are indeed many apps to choose from to join the ranks of your Korean learning resources. However, not all apps are made equally, and some may not be as reliable as you’d hope as a study asset.
This particularly applies to free apps, as the lack of fees can also mean a regrettable lack of a standard. Whenever you choose an app to download, make sure you find apps that are engaging and accurate in their Korean content. Luckily, quality can be pretty easy to deduce based on user reviews (many of which would be from learners just like yourself), so make sure you check them out before you make your decision.
With a single tap, you can unleash a fantastic and fruitful experience that can greatly aid your Korean fluency—all embodied in a tiny little icon on your smart device! So give the app shops in your phones and tablets a good browsing and be open-minded about what an app can offer you in your studies.
Best of luck, and h-app-y learning!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.