Language learning is an adventure and like any good adventure, it’s full of dangerous pitfalls.
Have you fallen into the trap of overlooking your listening comprehension practice until it’s too late?
Did you get ensnared in the tangled tendrils of finding too many resources (and using none of them)?
It sounds like you need a good guide to get you through the wilderness of language learning.
Luckily, if you’re looking for effective Korean lessons, then you might have just found the holy grail.
Welcome to the world of FluentU—where real-world videos meet real-world language learners.
With this one Korean language learning program, you’ll be able to avoid the five most common pitfalls language learners come across in their journeys.
But before we get to those, let’s find out what FluentU is and what makes it so special.
FluentU Korean: A Game Changer for Self-guided Korean Lessons
FluentU is a language learning platform that uses authentic content to teach Korean to learners of all levels. It utilizes flashcards, audio, a number of guided lessons and more to teach Korean. But FluentU’s true star is its video content.
Videos are at the core of the FluentU learning system and once you’ve started tinkering with their features, you’ll very quickly understand why they’re best in class.
FluentU curates authentic Korean videos and embeds them with the latest in language learning tech. By “authentic,” we mean the same types of videos that Korean native speakers regularly consume. In other words, this is content by Koreans, for Koreans.
You’ll find real-world videos that come in the form of interviews, commercials, news, trailers, music videos and more, and cover a wide variety of topics like art, business, humor and travel. (In the next section, we’ll find out exactly what happens to these nondescript clips to make them approachable to Korean learners.)
Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an advanced language student, FluentU is sure to have something that’ll resonate with you. As of this writing, there are almost 400 clips in the Korean video library alone—each primed to get you into shape. And with the FluentU team constantly adding fresh content, the program will only get better with time.
This begs the question, though: Can a bunch of videos really teach you Korean?
Well, the rest of this post will address that.
How FluentU Makes Korean Lessons Pop
FluentU has added a number of features to these otherwise ordinary clips so anybody can utilize them for language learning.
Authentic Korean videos, by themselves, are excellent sources of learning content. They’re context-rich and entertaining. You can find a Korean commercial, for example, and pick up a vocabulary word or two after watching it several times.
But FluentU wants you to be many times more productive than that. That’s why each video is embedded with accurate subtitles both in English and Korean (both of which you can turn on and off at will) so you can follow what’s happening on your screen—whether it’s a catchy K-pop music video or an intimate interview of the artist.
That alone would’ve made FluentU videos worthwhile, but it doesn’t stop there: The subtitles are also interactive.
Every word in each video has the potential to open up a world of learning. When you hover your mouse over a word in the subtitles, you’ll quickly get extra nuggets of info about it. You’re provided with its translation as well as some synonyms. You also see what part of speech your target word is and are even shown a memorable picture so there will be no second-guessing as to its meaning.
These details are given to you even before you click on the word. When you actually click, guess what: You’re given even more info. A lot more. You’ll suddenly have sentence usage examples (that come with English translations) and crisp native-speaker audio readings of said sentences (which you can replay as often as you’d like).
And to really help you master the word, the program will even point you to all other selections in the video library which contain the word. Check those videos and see other contexts where your target word is appropriately used.
FluentU videos are accompanied by pre-made flashcard decks containing key vocabulary terms, and you can also make your own vocab list by adding any word in a video to your “to learn” pile.
And because these are smart, multimedia flashcards, they go far beyond just flipping or turning for the translation on the other side. Each individual flashcard is packed with things you really need to know.
For starters, flashcards contain a picture, a translation, the word’s part of speech and an audio pronunciation.
Again, you’ll have sentence examples that provide rich context for the vocabulary. They’ve been read by native speakers, and the cool thing is that even those sentence examples are themselves packed with new vocab and grammar insights.
Studying these examples closely can be super productive because you can pick up many new words and concepts along the way and learn how the different elements of the sentence interact. This way, you don’t just memorize translations.
You also get to hear what the words sound like and become acquainted with practical grammar rules that animate Korean sentences.
That green button with the label “QUIZ” doesn’t just tell you if you’ve learned the topic. It does something more. FluentU works on the basis of “spaced repetition.” This means that words that you know well will be shown at longer intervals while words you often get wrong will be presented more often until you become more familiar with them.
During a quiz, you’re presented with the target vocab first, as though FluentU is telling you “Here, check this out.” After seeing the item for a bit, FluentU then quizzes you on it to see how much you’ve retained.
No worries if you make mistakes—just continue with the quiz. Because of spaced repetition, you’re bound to meet the word again, soon. You’ll get the feeling that instead of being judged, quizzes are actually there to scope out your weaknesses and help you bulk up.
And unlike your language professor who gets testy every time you answer incorrectly, FluentU will just keep on helping you until you get it.
With FluentU, you’ll always know how you’re doing in your language learning journey.
You have the “Days Streak” metric, which tells you how consistent you are in working on your Korean. You’re said to have achieved a day streak if you’re able to fulfill your goals for the day.
You can set this “Daily Goal” in the settings section, choosing how long you want to study. It can be as short as one minute (for 100 points) or as long as 30 minutes (for 2,000 points).
A progress bar fills as you rack up the points and the minutes. Sure, these sums can’t exactly be exchanged for soda in the store, but they’re actually pretty important: They represent your commitment to learning the language. If you’re not logging in daily, stringing long streaks and meeting your daily goals, then you probably need to put in more work.
The FluentU team has done an excellent job of making the user experience as intuitive as possible.
There’s plenty of content to go through but you won’t have any difficulty finding everything you need. All the material has already been pre-sorted and all you have to do is tell the system what you want. Videos and flashcards are sorted in their respective categories, while videos can be searched by difficulty, topic or format.
And when you get to the material you want, you’ll be closely guided so you can interact productively with the content and maximize your sessions. Buttons, labels and icons are clearly visible. The graphic design is simple and sleek. You won’t have any issues navigating both the app and the site. You only have to focus on the primary task—that of learning Korean.
Take Korean Lessons Online and Bypass These 5 Common Studying Pitfalls
1. “I Want to Learn Korean but I’m Not Sure Where to Start.”
You’d love to learn Korean, but it seems like such a huge task. The first time you laid eyes on those Korean squares and squiggles (Hangul), it seemed like they descended from “The Matrix.” When you try to listen to a conversation, the sounds of the language might as well be gibberish.
Don’t worry: We’ve all been there.
FluentU has content that’s perfect for absolute beginners so you never have to feel overwhelmed. In fact, a lot of the beginner-oriented content is meant specifically for kids. This way, newbies to the language can learn it the way children do: Naturally, through being exposed to increasingly complex language.
So go ahead, learn like a child and sing along to those nursery rhymes!
Here are a few to get you started:
- “Count Penguins”: Learn the numbers one through 10 with this adorable song!
- “I’m Sorry”: This super simple song teaches you the important social skill of saying sorry in Korean.
- “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”: We’re sure this classic needs no introduction!
You get to polish the basics—numbers, colors, animals—through catchy tunes, memorable rhymes and fancy graphics, in full color. You’ll realize from day one that learning Korean doesn’t really need to be an ordeal. The truth is, you can rhyme and sing to fluency.
But don’t worry, as you progress, the content will also grow in complexity. Soon, you’ll be working on music videos of some K-pop hits. There will be trailers, commercials, interviews and speeches as well. As mentioned, FluentU is smartly curated so you only get to work with material that’s suitable for your level.
Check out some fun videos that you can watch to learn and enjoy:
- “Pigeon” by Crying Nut: Thanks to this odd song, you’ll never forget how to say “pigeon” in Korean. Ever.
- “Things You Need to Buy for Korean Thanksgiving”: Learn about an aspect of Korean culture while getting thoroughly creeped out.
- “Pro Gamers Talk About Their Jobs”: Find out what it’s really like to be a pro gamer in Korea.
So yes, you’ll learn Korean, and you’ll have a jolly good time while you’re at it!
2. “Everyone Speaks So Fast!”
You have thousands of authentic Korean videos on YouTube, right? But how many are actually comprehensible to the absolute beginner? Right.
These fellows speak so fast that they leave students in the dust. Learners can’t even make out the words, much less enunciate them. So FluentU went in and made them approachable and digestible even by absolute beginners.
We’ve already talked about how the interactive subtitles help you understand each and every word. But sometimes, you want things even slooooower.
No problem: FluentU has a line-by-line, word-by-word audio of these clips.
Yep, you heard that right. There’s a “Dialogue” tab which slows down what you hear in the videos. Native speakers read each line and every word so that you can really zero in on those elements that sounded like a blur in the original video.
For example, here’s the Dialogue tab of that pro gamer video. This time, the pronunciation will come at you one word (or phrase) at a time. So instead of you trying to catch bits of audio from the original video, you get the whole transcript in an easily digestible format conducive for deeper study.
3. “I Easily Forget the Words I’ve Already Learned.”
Does this sound familiar? You pick up half a dozen vocabulary words and then, only a few days later, you can’t recall even a single one of them. It feels like you’re just wasting your time.
But no worries, FluentU has tools to combat that. The fact that you’re working in an enriched video environment that allows you to go on a vocabulary dive is already one of the safety features against vocabulary lapses.
Every element of FluentU is geared toward maximizing word retention using features to help you keep Korean vocab for the long term. As already mentioned, during the “Quiz” session, you’re working with spaced repetition algorithms that know what words you’re familiar with and which ones you seem to be having a tough time with. The program will then make sure the latter gets presented and tested repeatedly so they get saved more securely in memory.
(And just so you can really focus on words you need more help with and not waste precious time on mastered items, there’s a handy “Already Know” button. This directly tells FluentU that you don’t want to see the word in the future.)
During each learning session, FluentU not only counts your study minutes and gives you points for them, but it also makes a record of the words you’ve already learned.
In fact, the next time you log in, you can go to the “My Content” section found in the lower-left panel of the homepage and check the videos you’ve gone over and the words that you’re (supposed) to already know. This gives you easy access to review items you may have forgotten.
Come back to the section regularly and have a quick run-through of the material there.
4. “I Know Next to Nothing About Korean Culture.”
FluentU has plenty of videos that directly deal with culture. You’ll get to learn about special days for couples in Korea, for example. Here are a few top picks:
- “The Legend of the Creation of Korea”: Discover the original story of Korea and find out what bears have to do with it.
- “Special Days for Couples”: Here are those special days we mentioned earlier.
- “Wearing Glasses Was Rude?!”: Learn about the interesting history of glasses in Korea.
But besides these, culture is seeping out of every video you see on FluentU.
The great thing about working with authentic videos is that you’re not only learning the language, you’re also picking up on Korean beliefs, culture and traditions. This happens very much behind the scenes.
On the surface, you’re learning phrases and statements or you’re watching how the grammar works. But on another level, you’re actually seeing culture unfold before you. Watching those commercials, interviews, speeches and shows, you become familiar with the values and traditions held by native speakers. You get to see what’s different about them. You also get to see the beliefs that are very similar to yours.
With FluentU, you’re really hitting two birds with one stone. You not only study the language, but you also get to know what makes the culture tick.
5. “I Always End Up Watching the Movie or Jamming to the Song Instead of Learning.”
Okay, first of all, there’s nothing wrong with dancing or singing to our videos—especially if you’ve got some rhythm and can carry a tune. (Heck, sing even when you sound like a whale having a C-section. It’ll be good for enunciation.)
But we know what might happen when you get too carried away with a video. You could watch the whole movie instead of studying the language. Worse, you might binge-watch the whole series and miss out on all the learning opportunities along the way!
FluentU has a solution for that: Videos are usually just 1-3 minutes long. Thanks to the short length of the clips, you’re prevented from getting distracted and encouraged to repeat them multiple times to absorb the language and vocab.
There’s really so much Korean loaded into a single minute of each video! FluentU’s clips ensure that you don’t miss anything.
So there you go: By helping you sidestep many of these language learning landmines and giving you a more vivid learning environment, FluentU just might be the best thing to happen to online Korean lessons.
But don’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself and join our growing community of learners today. Grab a free FluentU trial and see how well the program works for you!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.