Hold onto your credit cards and keep your wallet shut, because it’s time to learn Korean for free!
Your wish to learn Korean can certainly be granted without requiring any heavy expenses on your part.
Many cost-effective methods exist to make the lives of language learners much easier. But what if you’re looking for more than just effectiveness?
Let’s rephrase that question to something a bit more direct and audacious.
Can You Learn Korean for Free?
The resounding answer is yes!
With the high complexity and value of foreign languages, it’s often believed that the best method of gaining fluency in a language would be to invest in a prestigious program or school. While these types of resources usually are dependable, there are many ways you can achieve an impressive level of lingual skill without a large financial commitment.
Over the years, the online realm has rapidly gained precedence as both a professional and personal learning platform. Virtual education, also known as e-learning, has become the way for many folks to learn skills of all sorts, with the incredible bonus of utilizing resources from across the globe (which works wonderfully for foreign language learning) at little to no cost.
The Korean language has gained much popularity in recent years as well. Consequently, plenty of learning materials have been crafted and dedicated to teaching Korean in all kinds of ways, so you can take advantage of the available plethora of tried-and-true learning resources.
Now, to be frank, if you’re aiming for a completely penny-free Korean language education, then you might need to do a bit more digital-digging to find suitable resources. Some creative thinking can also help you find the great educational potential of less conventional items when properly used.
How to Learn Korean for Free
Learning Korean for free can make for an incredibly rewarding experience for multiple reasons, but certain tips and tricks apply when taking the no-cost path for your language journey.
It all really comes down to fully taking advantage of the Korean learning tools available while also scrutinizing their reliability. This is quite important, because sometimes the “silent price” to pay for free resources is their lessened quality or accuracy. Fortunately, it’s usually not too hard to figure out which resource is or isn’t working, as your judgment or that of other users will often catch any glaring or questionable flaws.
However, even if the issues aren’t so evident, you can do simple tests of your own to see if the information presented is accurate. For example, if a resource claims that a certain Korean phrase has one particular definition, do your own quick research (such as an easy Google search) to see if it’s so. Constant dissimilarities or flat-out mistakes can give you a clue that maybe the resource has a level of fallibility that lowers its usefulness.
Download free apps
Apps have put a whole new meaning to the word “convenience.” There’s a vast pool of apps dedicated for educational purposes; when these nifty portable resources come free of price tags, you can acquire a highly convenient Korean learning experience.
With apps, you can get learning and studying done anywhere, so long as you have a smart device on hand. A simple tap or click can give you instant access to the service, sometimes without the need for any online connection.
Apps are highly colorful and varied in their approach to keep users engaged, so different Korean learning apps can train you in the language in different ways. Some apps may be much more direct in their teaching method, such as by providing flashcards or Korean quizzes. Other apps may choose to use more interactive ways such as with Korean learning games.
A specific app that’s almost always free to install but would likely be invaluable as a study tool would be a humble dictionary-slash-translator app. This allows you to get Korean to English (or vice versa) translations on-the-go, often with additional information such as audio pronunciations or example sentences. You’ll find constant use for this kind of resource throughout your learning journey, so it may be a good idea to have this kind of app downloaded early-on!
Also, if learning with apps is your study M.O., then you should definitely check out FluentU.
With FluentU’s vast video catalog, you can have your pick of fun and engaging content to learn from. Each video is organized by topic and learning level, making it easy for you to figure out which clips will serve you best. Interactive subtitles enable you to learn Korean vocabulary in context, which you can review extensively with FluentU’s special adaptive quizzes and other practice tools.
You can try out the full experience at no cost with FluentU’s free trial. During your test-run, you can personally see what makes the FluentU education special and rewarding.
Watch videos online
Videos can be more than just entertaining—they can serve as educational powerhouses, and rarely would you ever need to spend anything to access them!
You can certainly easily find videos specifically dedicated to teaching you Korean, but almost any video that features Korean content can help you learn bits and pieces of the language, whether consciously or subconsciously. Merely hearing or “seeing” the Korean language in action can be of benefit to your studies.
The audiovisual nature of videos also makes them even more useful. With resources such as books or audio podcasts, you’d be fed the language in a set manner: written or spoken, but not always both. Videos give you the whole package (if subtitles are included), which means you’ll be getting a fuller exposure to the Korean language.
Use free websites
Though some offer learning resources after a set payment, many Korean-teaching websites are completely free for use by anyone. We can think of them in different categories.
There are websites that specifically teach the Korean language to any interested learner; the good-hearted creators of such websites are often keen on sharing and promoting knowledge. These sites may feature full lesson plans that teach you Korean in a curriculum format, usually starting with the basics; in other words, they can serve as full online Korean courses. If you’re extra lucky, you may even find a website that hosts a Korean MOOC (a massive open online course), where you can join a class that offers unlimited participation and access to anyone around the globe.
There are also translation-based websites where you can find out how to say different words in Korean. These usually work best as supplemental resources in which you can look up specific terms to learn or memorize.
Member-driven forum websites are also great in allowing for a wide degree of conversation among fellow learners or native speakers. They can serve as great grounds for putting your Korean knowledge to the test and getting help in specific topics. Plus, if native or advanced speakers are indeed present, they can offer a helping hand!
You can also check out websites hosted by Korean-based organizations (such as the embassy). These kinds of websites often provide quick lessons on the Korean language while also providing interesting cultural context.
Read Korean blogs
Blogs are fantastic open spaces for writers to freely discuss and share articles on all manners of topics. That being said, blogs that are written by those fluent in Korean (or other learners!) can be excellent in boosting your skills in the language in a more casual, approachable manner.
If you really want to challenge yourself, you can read blogs that are written entirely in Korean. However, be aware that they may contain more slang-y language or “internet speak.”
Blogs that specifically discuss the Korean language are also awesome in providing more specific, detailed info that can help learners in targeted issues. FluentU’s Korean Language and Culture Blog is a wonderful example, and you can learn about a whole host of Korean-related matters!
Many blogs also feature comment sections where anyone can share their thoughts, which you should certainly take advantage of! Knowledge-sharing and open discussion can make for a much more engaging study experience.
Connect with Korean native speakers
You might be lucky enough to have a Korean friend who’s willing to be your language partner, but if you don’t, then you should go ahead and seek out native speakers either online or in-person.
It’s quite easy to encounter native speakers online, as they can be found in the very same websites you would frequent for casual purposes. You can also seek them out in websites catered to Korean speakers.
You may also go offline and find native speakers in the flesh via hosted meet-ups and gatherings. Check out your local scene for any Korean-related events in your community that would allow you to chat with Korean people; possibilities include live classes and festivals. Many of these social occasions are hosted by Korean organizations, who may be able to offer language learning resources for anyone interested.
Having Korean penpals can be incredibly rewarding and motivational to your language learning, one with multiple and mutual benefits. You’ll not only be able to get learning help and practice directly from credible sources, but also get the chance to bond with other people who are also eager to test their own skills in the English language! Penpal systems are commonly available online and almost always require no cost for participation.
Remember, this does require your active participation! If you want to interact with native speakers, then don’t be shy about initiating the exchange! You’re bound to find someone who’s more than happy to help you out in your studies.
Download e-books and PDF files
E-books on the market usually require a cost, but online you can find plenty of free downloadable books and files. These are often available in PDF and similar formats, making them accessible for most devices.
The types of digital texts available online can vary widely and serve different purposes for your Korean learning. Your options can range from whole books to worksheets, but as all would be free, you should take advantage of anything you can find so you can amass your own collection of digital study resources.
Immerse yourself in the language
Immersion is a special method of learning that requires constant exposure to the language you’re aiming to master. It seems like a big undertaking, but Korean language immersion can be done quite easily and with little to no cost. The end goal is to surround yourself with as much Korean as possible to the point it becomes commonplace in your daily agenda.
Here are a few great ways to get your immersion going:
- Switch all your typical entertainment sources (including shows, music, news, books and so forth) to Korean-language versions
- Change the language settings of your phone and other devices to Korean
- Take up hobbies that involve the Korean language or culture
- Find someone with whom you can practice your Korean conversation skills
Learning Korean via immersion can definitely be difficult in the beginning, but it’s a fantastic and quick way for you to become more comfortable with the language as it’s consistently incorporated into your everyday life. You may not always be actively learning, but the visual, textual and aural exposure to the language can facilitate your studies.
Where to Learn Korean for Free
There are more than enough places and options you can use to build up your Korean skills at no cost. In general, you’ll likely find that you’ll most often learn and practice Korean online due to the ease and convenience, but that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to just the web. Moreover, some sources can prove to be more dependable than others, however, so let’s talk about them!
The world’s largest online video platform is also home to a vast collection of language-learning educational content. With a simple search, you can access a trove of Korean lesson videos that can teach you the language at length. In fact, whole courses can be available in playlist format, usually offered by actual Korean institutions or teachers!
Of course, you should also take advantage of videos that aren’t necessarily formal lessons either! So long as you’ve turned on your learner brain and make the switch from casual viewer to focused student, even the casual vlog or a brief snippet from a Korean show can teach you some useful Korean.
Your favorite online platforms for watching Korean media can also be your entertaining gateway to language practice.
Services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are traditionally used with paid subscriptions, but even they have some no-cost options available. Netflix, for example, offers a few select shows and movies that anyone can watch for free. Nearly all streaming services offer free trial periods that can let you access some of the Korean entertainment available.
A great bonus with these resources would be the availability of subtitles. Subtitles provide transcriptions and translations and can definitely aid your ability to learn from whatever you’re watching. Make sure you switch on your learner brain and really try to grasp pieces of the language during your viewing!
App-based streaming services may also allow you to watch Korean content without the need for a subscription. Popular K-drama apps are available for installation on smart devices, enabling users to watch their favorite shows at any time. It’d be a great idea to utilize these apps, even if you’re not into dramas, since they can readily and consistently offer Korean content.
There are even specific websites whose goal it is to make K-dramas available for streaming as shown in this video from FluentU’s 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 YouTube channel.
Music and song lyrics
You can do much more with your favorite Korean tunes than just bop to them; you can learn Korean with K-pop songs and other Korean music.
Studying Hangul lyrics and translations can actually help you learn a lot of Korean vocabulary in context. Moreover, if you have the lyrics written out in front of you and sing the vocals aloud, you can get double-time practice with both your written and spoken Korean skills.
Your local library can be home to a collection of Korean-related texts that you can pick up and borrow whenever available! These can range from study books catered to language learners, to casual paperbacks that Korean speakers would pick up for enrichment purposes. Some libraries may even have publication-based texts, which means you can potentially pick up and learn Korean with magazines or newspapers.
If you’re unsure where you can find these kinds of books, you can ask the librarian or check out the library catalog. Texts related to foreign languages usually are stored in their own dedicated section or corner, which will aid your search.
Learning Korean with websites can lead to a quick and impressive improvement in the language, and the types of websites discussed earlier should be the ones you should seek out. That being said, have an open mind about the options available to you and take your time in finding the right websites for your studies; go beyond the first page of your search results and you can encounter those that are less-known but still incredibly useful.
Language exchange apps
It’s important to put your language skills to the test with real people, and language exchange apps can offer a convenient, instant way to do so. Many of them come at no cost, but a lot of value can be found in the mutually beneficial relationship you can form with a Korean speaker as you both work to improve fluency in your respective foreign languages.
There’s no need to break the bank in order to gain fluency in the Korean language. With enough research and dedication, you can garner an impressive level of Korean skill without ever having to pull out your wallet!
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