17 Amazing Resources for Korean Listening Practice: Podcasts, Programs, Apps and More
Listening skills are also the backbone of language fluency.
That’s why it’s crucial to build your listening comprehension skills through Korean listening practice.
There are so many fantastic resources out there for boosting your listening ability, no matter your language level. In this post, I’ll show you 17 of my favorites, and give you some useful study techniques that will boost your Korean listening skills!
- 17 Resources for Korean Listening Practice
- 1. Podbbang
- 2. FluentU Korean
- 3. Korean Listening Practice for Beginners—Iyagi
- 4. zKorean—Appearance and Sound of Hangul
- 5. “Talk To Me In Korean Level 1”
- 6. “Listening Korean for Beginners”
- 7. “Korean Listening Comprehension for Absolute Beginners”
- 8. Learn Korean through K-POP
- 9. EggBun
- 10. Korean Listening Practice
- 11. Netflix
- 12. AsianCrush
- 13. YouTube
- 14. “Hours of Daily Korean Conversations—Korean Practice for ALL Learners”
- 15. “Listening Practice in Slow Korean—Kimbap: Picnic Food”
- 16. Master Any Language Korean Games
- 17. HelloTalk
- Study Techniques for Korean Listening Practice
17 Resources for Korean Listening Practice
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.
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.
2. FluentU Korean
Cost: Pricing information available here.
Here's a quick look at the variety of video choices available to you:
Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.
Don't stop there, though. You can use FluentU’s unique quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.
FluentU even tracks your progress and remembers all the words you've learned, making for a 100% personalized experience.
Review sessions use video context to help embed the words in your memory. The best part? You can access the full FluentU video library with a free trial!
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)
3. Korean Listening Practice for Beginners—Iyagi
Cost: Pricing information available here.
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.
4. zKorean—Appearance and Sound of Hangul
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.
5. “Talk To Me In Korean Level 1”
This textbook and audio combo might be just what you need to kick your listening abilities up a notch. It’s 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.
6. “Listening Korean for Beginners”
Cost: Around $23
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 actual 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.
7. “Korean Listening Comprehension for Absolute Beginners”
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.
8. Learn Korean through K-POP
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, learners of all levels can try it out and benefit from it.
Cost: Download for free. $9.99 a month for premium.
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 analysis, pronunciation, hangul, basic verbs, phrases and common sentences in Korean.
10. Korean Listening Practice
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.
Cost: Starting at $6.99 a month.
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.
- “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.
Cost: Free with ads. Premium options available
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!
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.
14. “Hours of Daily Korean Conversations—Korean Practice for ALL Learners”
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.
15. “Listening Practice in Slow Korean—Kimbap: Picnic Food”
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.
16. Master Any Language Korean 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 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.
HelloTalk is available for iOS and Android devices.
Study Techniques for Korean Listening Practice
1. Identify Problem Areas When Listening to Korean Sounds
Certain Korean sounds don’t exist in English or other Western languages. Leaning on the sound equivalents in romanizations will make it a lot harder for you to learn and distinguish sounds as they’re really used in Korean.
To remedy this issue, try to identify which sounds are most difficult for you.
An easy way to get started is to watch a Korean movie, preferably using bilingual subtitles so you can more easily verify spelling and words, pausing frequently and writing down what you hear. Then, compare your writing with the actual words. The way you write the words tells you what letters you’re prone to confuse.
2. Use Technology Hacks to Improve Your Korean Listening Daily
- Use your phone to record conversations. This is a fantastic strategy to practice listening by turning your personal experiences into custom lessons. In doing so, you’ll be focusing on words that are relevant to you while also improving your own pronunciation skills.
- Listen to the same podcasts over and over. Podcasts are word-rich audio recordings that feature real-world conversations and presentations by teachers and/or native Koreans. Better yet, podcasts are typically educational and will bring color and culture to your Korean studies.
- Set up your voice-activated devices in Korean. Turning on your voice-activated devices is a smart method to surround yourself with Korean sounds and immerse yourself in a Korean environment without leaving your country. It’ll also allow you to develop precise listening skills and help you to acquire specific terminology along with plenty of useful action verbs.
3. Download Korean Songs
Songs are a terrific tool to train your ear to detect common Korean sounds using repetition, rhythm and rhymes. In addition, songs are catchy and fun to memorize, making it easy for you to learn new vocabulary and practice pronunciation without much effort.
Opt for upbeat K-pop songs during your workout or walks and opt for peaceful ballads during your commute or while you meditate. This article will give you some nice ideas to keep building your Korean music library and find songs that match your taste.
4. Watch Movies and Dramas in Korean
Authentic Korean movies and TV shows will develop your ability to detect and recognize Korean words and conversations while also bringing you closer to Korean culture.
Start by watching with no subtitles and try to glean as much as you can from context. Then, use that precious replay button and display subtitles in English or Korean, or better yet, both. Watch it again, this time taking note of the vocabulary that caused you difficulty and that you wish to remember, and spend a week or more learning and reviewing it.
Once you’re confident that you’ve memorized it, watch it again without any subtitles and check on your progress!
5. Have Real Korean Conversations
- Practice with Korean natives. Don’t be shy! This is a foolproof way to improve your listening (and speaking!) skills in context. That’s because you’ll be able to activate your learning through real-life, unscripted conversations while also getting honest feedback from natives on your accent and intonation.
- Practice with non-native Korean speakers. This will help you to become more aware of the differences between how Korean should sound (i.e. when natives speak) and how it shouldn’t. It’s a very effective mirror to become aware of your own flaws and fix them. And when you converse with fluent non-native Korean speakers, you can gain confidence knowing that it can be done!
6. Make Listening Regular
Frequent exposure to the sounds of Korean is the only way to develop familiarity and comfort with the language.
Plus, Korean listening practice has a range of other indirect benefits that support your overall learning goals. It’ll help you to stimulate your speaking skills by allowing you to eventually “think” in Korean. It can also enrich your vocabulary and help you learn grammar structures by activating usage in context rather than theory.
The goal is to fit your listening sessions into your daily schedule. Set up a routine time and place where you can listen to Korean content. Everyone’s schedule is different, but try to allocate at least 20 minutes a day for maximum results.
7. Set Listening Goals
Improving your Korean listening skills is a step-by-step process. The best strategy is to incrementally target specific elements and set deadlines based on your goals. This will keep you moving consistently forward in your language studies.
- Your first objective should be to accurately distinguish simple, aspirated and tense consonants. Here, you should be able to tell apart letters like ㄷ, ㅌ and ㄸ, ㅈ, ㅊ and ㅉ, and ㅅ and ㅆ.
- Then, your second objective can be to try to recognize as many words as possible when watching a movie, and write down the sentences and context in which you heard them. Verify with a Korean friend or on the Korean subreddit on Reddit.
- For your third objective, you can aim for full phrase recognition and try to focus on the meaning of an overall conversation.
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.