Friendship is based on listening to one another.
Listening skills are also the backbone of language fluency.
The two certainly go hand in hand, especially if you want to make friends with Korean speakers.
When it comes down to it, the purpose of language is to communicate. After all, if we can’t talk to each other using the language, what’s the point?
Being able to listen and comprehend quickly and effectively is the key to making connections.
That’s why it’s crucial to build your listening comprehension skills through Korean listening practice.
This can be tough at first. When you’re a beginner Korean learner, it might be the case that all you hear is gibberish.
But not all is lost! There are so many fantastic resources out there for boosting your listening ability, no matter your language level. In this post, we take a look at 20 of our favorite.
So listen up and get learning!
What to Look for in a Resource for Korean Listening Practice
Not all Korean listening practice resources are created equal. To form a well-rounded listening comprehension practice pack, here are a few things to consider when picking out resources to work with:
- A mix of visual and audio elements. Both of these are important for improving your listening skills and provide a more well-rounded way to learn.
- Multiple listening focuses, such as pronunciation, pacing, tones and accents. Improving your listening skills doesn’t solely involve the act of listening. It involves focusing on the various aspects of listening, as well.
- The appropriate level for your current skills. You wouldn’t want to use a listening resource designed for advanced learners if you’ve just started learning Korean. Figuring out your specific skill level is key to improving your skills.
These are just a few potential factors for the best listening practice session.
Decide what’s important to you and determine your own goals before you begin the search for the perfect listening resources. This’ll help you narrow down the options to the ones that’ll be most useful for you!
20 Korean Listening Practice Options: Podcasts, Programs, Apps and More
These resources are quite varied, from podcasts and Korean listening apps to books and fun games. Choose a handful or try them all!
Podbbang is a great little podcast resource that’s free to use. Here you can find podcasts that focus on language-learning, news, storytelling and much more. All of the podcasts featured by Podbbang are in Korean.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to run Flash in order to listen to podcasts on this site.
Since the entirety of the website is in Korean, beginner learners may have trouble navigating it. As such, intermediate and advanced learners can benefit the most from this resource.
Podtail has a great podcast series from the program “Talk to Me in Korean” called “Korean Listening Practice for Beginners.”
There are over 2,000 episodes to choose from and a majority of them are free to listen to. The podcast features dialogues with an emphasis on being beginner-friendly but also natural.
This series is a very popular listening resource among brand new learners, but intermediate and advanced learners can find some good “review and refresh” content from these podcasts.
Keep in mind that most of the podcasts are Flash-based and only available through the website portal.
FluentU Korean (Program)
Videos can do quite a lot for listening skills. Not only do they let us listen to Korean audio, but they also provide a visual aspect to language learning that helps with listenings, such as facial expressions, mouth positions, etc.
FluentU can help you improve your listening skills by providing authentic video clips with crystal clear audio in Korean. That’s because the program takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
On FluentU, you also get access to interactive flashcards and vocab lists, annotated subtitles and personalized quizzes that evolve as you learn. And you’ll never be lost in translation: Follow along with a full transcript and click on any word in the subtitles to see its definition instantly.
In other words, you’ll have all the supportive tools you need to learn the most from your listening experience.
You can use FluentU in your browser or download the app for iOS or Android.
Sometimes, all we need to learn a new language concept is a well-organized chart guide. This little resource from zKorean is just that.
The chart features consonants and vowels in Korean, complete with audio clips, in-depth written pronunciation and hangul. As a little bonus, zKorean also made an Anki deck of the entire guide, so you can practice your Korean listening abilities on the go. This guide is completely free to use, as is the Anki deck.
Intermediate and advanced learners have probably already mastered everything involving consonants and vowels in Korean, so this resource is better suited for beginner learners.
Hanok Korean Listening Practice (Audio Clips)
Of course, the best way to improve your Korean listening skills is to actually listen to Korean dialogue. This site has a bunch of free audio-based lessons to help you improve your listening skills.
Before each lesson, you can see how long the lesson will last and how many quiz questions will follow. This can help you plan your study sessions around your schedule.
Hanok Korean Class has audio listening lessons for beginner and intermediate learners. Advanced learners may want to look elsewhere.
These lessons are also free to use.
“Talk To Me In Korean Level 1” (Textbook and Audio)
This textbook and audio combo might be just what you need to kick your listening abilities up a notch. It’s is a great paperback textbook with accompanying downloadable audio files.
The resource focuses on helping newbies improve their conversational listening skills.
The textbook is based on podcast lessons and is designed for absolute beginners, so intermediate and advanced learners may want to look elsewhere.
“Listening Korean for Beginners” (Textbook and Audio)
Another fantastic textbook and audio combo resource is “Listening Korean for Beginners” from The National Institute of the Korean Language and The International Korean Language Foundation.
This book’s goal is to improve listening ability in Korean by supplying learners with actually authentic real-world conversations.
This book is designed for beginners, but you do need to have a basic understanding of common vocabulary words because the audio often uses vocab that’s not defined in the text.
Do you learn Korean best from more traditional courses? If so, this course from Cosmo Learning may be just what you need.
This entirely free course is made up of 20 video lessons, most of which are pulled directly from KoreanClass101’s free YouTube channel. The lessons are short and not quite as in-depth as the program’s actual video lessons (which cost money to access) but these lessons are still fantastic to use as a beginner learner.
The host of each video is a native Korean speaker, so you’ll be able to listen to Korean in a way that’s authentic and similar to how it’d be spoken in an actual Korean conversation.
Since this course is designed for absolute beginners, more advanced learners may not benefit from using it.
Learn Korean through K-POP (Website)
Many language learners and polyglots will admit that they’ve used music to help them learn a new language. It really is an effective way to learn. This blog took this concept and made it into a full-fledged Korean language course based on K-POP music.
Each entry on this blog revolves around a Korean pop song. You can search for individual songs easily via the search function.
Lessons break down the lyrics into hangul and English. At the end of each lesson, you can access a quiz to help you memorize what you’ve learned. The blog also features a variety of Korean grammar lessons, a Facebook and Instagram page, tutoring info and a guide to the Korean alphabet.
If you’re learning Korean because you’re a K-POP fan or you just like learning Korean through music, this is the resource for you. Since a variety of songs with varying difficulties are used on this blog, all level of learners can try it out and benefit from it.
We’ve mentioned EggBun quite a bit on FluentU, but that’s only because 1. it’s adorable and 2. it’s very useful!
EggBun is a free app that sets users up with a live chatbot to improve their reading, writing, vocabulary and speaking skills in Korean. It’s based almost entirely on AI, so you won’t be talking directly with a real person. Still, the technology used is quite impressive.
Lenny, the cute egg-like tutor, is very entertaining and actually fun to talk to. The app itself is modeled after typical app-based group chats and is very aesthetically pleasing.
EggBun focuses on audio analyzation, pronunciation, hangul, basic verbs, phrases and common sentences in Korean.
Korean Listening Practice (Android App)
If you own an Android device, you’ll definitely find some use in this free app!
The app features over 50 lessons that cover a ton of Korean words, phrases and proper pronunciation. You can also access free podcasts and news reports in Korean.
There’s no written component to this app, so you’ll be doing pure listening without any transcript or subtitles to rely on. As such, even though there are plenty of “beginner” listening segments, this app is recommended for more advanced learners who want to wean themselves off subtitles.
Korean Pronunciation Practice (Android App)
Another great Android app to try out is Korean Pronunciation Practice, which is totally free to use with ads.
One downfall of a lot of free Korean language-learning apps is the lack of adequate “record and analyze” features. The best way to improve your listening and pronunciation skills is to have your speech analyzed for mistakes.
Fortunately, this app takes the cake! With over 50 lessons, you’ll be able to pronounce every word you learn in Korean perfectly through the use of speech recognition software. The app works by providing users with a word in Korean, then providing a recording function for users to say that word. If the pronunciation is off, the app will correct you.
You can even view graph-based analytics to help you see how long and how in-depth your practice sessions are.
Netflix (Films and Television)
Netflix is a surprisingly good resource for Korean television, dramas and films. Just about every Korean video on Netflix comes in its native Korean audio with English and sometimes Korean subtitles.
All levels of learners could use Netflix shows in Korean to work on their listening and comprehension skills.
Here are a few great shows we suggest to use for Korean listening practice:
- “A Korean Odyssey” — A supernatural fantasy romance that’s full of lovable characters and a lot of slapstick comedy.
- “Strong Girl Bong-soon” — A young cute girl has superhuman strength and is hired by a videogame company owner to be his bodyguard.
- “Kingdom” — A gritty historical drama mixed with zombies. Yep, you read that right.
You also can do a simple search for “Korean drama” or “Korean movie” to see what Korean-language content Netflix currently has to offer.
AsianCrush (Dramas and TV Shows)
Like Netflix, AsianCrush is a fantastic (and legal!) website for streaming Korean dramas, as well as Taiwanese and Japanese dramas.
A vast majority of the Korean-language streaming content here is presented with the content’s native Korean audio and Korean subtitles. Not all videos have subtitles, though, and many don’t have English subtitles, so this source may be best suited for intermediate or advanced users.
In the wake of Drama Fever’s unfortunate demise, AsianCrush has grown in popularity among Kdrama fans and as a result, the site’s been more active in adding more Korean material to its website. So stay tuned for even more great content!
YouTube (Korean Vlogs)
Let’s be real here. Watching vlogs is just fun and usually a good time-waster.
However, watching Korean-language vlogs can improve how well you comprehend conversational Korean as well as showcase a bit of contextual Korean culture and casual language.
Here are a few great vlogs on YouTube to learn with:
- PONY Syndrome — Korean beauty tutorials and “get ready with me” videos.
- The World of Dave데이브 — A comedy and satirical channel based in Korea (with Korean and English subtitles).
- YD(YANGDDING) Gaming Channel — A video-game channel with numerous guests and players.
It’d be wise to test a video or two from each channel to see if it’s too challenging or too easy to keep up with the dialogue.
This little (or maybe not so little) video from KoreanClass101 is one of the best free YouTube videos you can find to improve your Korean listening skills.
With this video, students can get started with daily conversations in Korean and challenge their Korean listening and comprehension skills. The two-hour video features many small dialogues to help beginners get closer to being advanced learners.
This is definitely one of the more underrated videos you can find on improving your Korean listening ability and it’s only 25 minutes long!
In this video lesson from Motivate Korean, you’ll learn how to use repetitive listening to help any level of learner improve their Korean comprehension. Although it’s not a Korean listening practice resource in itself, it teaches a valuable skill for improving your practice sessions.
You know what they say, teaching someone to fish is more valuable than just giving them a fish!
This little clip may seem like a very niche and very short video at only three minutes and 40 seconds. Still, this bite-sized Korean lesson is great for learners of all levels who want to improve their listening skills by listening to authentic native-spoken Korean that’s slowed down.
With resources like this, the audio tends to be too fast or too slow. Somehow, the teachers at Talk to Me in Korean got it perfectly with this video! Hopefully, we can expect more videos like this one in the future.
Master Any Language Korean Games (Flash Games)
Who doesn’t love a good game? These flash learning games from Master Any Language make learning Korean more fun!
While we wouldn’t suggest this resource as your sole way of learning Korean, it’s definitely a fantastic resource to use when you need a little extra Korean practice or are getting burnt out with more traditional Korean courses.
For example, the first “Practice Game” will present you with a list of hangul and ask you whether the listed English phrase would fit with any of those hangul. It’s a basic “matching” game, but the clear and crisp audio for each character can definitely help improve your pronunciation and listening ability.
These flash games are mostly story-based and designed to help all levels of learner get some in-depth and challenging practice time in.
Currently, this resource has 40 different games to choose from and most of them focus on Korean listening and comprehension.
HelloTalk (Chat App)
HelloTalk is a chat app that connects language learners with native speakers of that specific language. You can find a native Korean speaker who’s interested in learning your native language and start a language exchange with them.
Once connected with a speaker, you can send audio messages to one another and correct each other’s pronunciation mistakes.
This resource is ideal for learners who know the basics of Korean and can record audio of themselves speaking Korean confidently.
How awesome are these Korean listening practice resources? They’re perfect for kicking your Korean listening comprehension skills up a notch!
We bet some of these resources will become staples in your Korean language learning plan for the long term.
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
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