How can an Indian learn to speak the Korean language?
Of the 3000 languages in use currently, Korean is known to be the 13th most commonly used language. It is an East Asian language spoken by about 77 million people and 5.6 million consider Korean as a Heritage Language. Modern Korean is understood to have descended from the Middle Korean, that emerged from the Old Korean, which itself, culminated from the Proto-Koreanic language, that is suggested to have its linguistic homeland somewhere in Manchuria. It is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each country. It is a recognized minority language in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin Province, China. It is also spoken in parts of Sakhalin, Russia and Central Asia. The most important step of language learning is to identify your personal starting point. It is important to understand where you, as an Indian, stand. We will consider the FSI [Foreign Service Institute] analysis of languages as English is the highest spoken and most popularly taught language in India. According to this, Korean falls in Category 4, which is one of the toughest to master for a native English speaker.
With that said, let’s now see how an Indian can learn to speak Korean:
- To improve your speaking skills, use multiple online resources such as talk shows, Korean news, audiobooks to name a few!
- To hear curated collections of Korean video media use FluentU. It’s a halfway point between a structured language course and full real-world Korean media immersion.
- Put YouTube to its best use and stream Korean radio stations!
- Watch K-Drama, K-films with English subtitles and English films with Korean subtitles to accelerate your learning.
- Learn with Korean pop songs, podcasts and anything that you can lay your hands on to get maximum of some spare time.
- Study consistently but don’t lead yourself to burnout!
- Identify your unique style of learning that helps you ace the language.
- Read aloud to clear your pronunciation
- Find a conversation partner on Lingoci, Verbling, iTalki to practice speaking with and seeking feedback.
- Identify Korean genuine and fake cognates.
- Don’t be scared to try and make mistakes. We all do it. Why let that deter or embarrass you?!
- Sign up for an intensive course. It would really help you master Korean!
- Restrict translating Korean words/phrases into English to when you are just new! As you progress move away from it consciously.
- Use Spaced Repetition System apps like Anki and Memrise for flashcards.
- Learn basic phrases, connector words, conversation builders that will help you communicate and express yourself through smaller sentences.
- Maintain a journal of new phrases that will help you build your first conversation and not just interesting or complex words.
- Choose commonly used words to start a conversation rather than tougher ones that don’t find a way into day-to-day usage!
- Try and link Korean words/ phrases to images and visual situations, not words in your native language or English!
- Study a language every day in short intervals or for about 2-4 hours, as much you can spare. Goes for Korean too. Studying regularly, for a short time, helps dramatically than trying to do it all in one sitting over weekends!
- Engage in constant review to measure your progress – repetition is the key!
Historical and modern linguists classify Korean as a language isolate, although it is commonly included by proponents of the Altaic family and, it does have a few extinct relatives, which together with Korean itself and the Jeju language form the Koreanic language family. Korean vocabulary comprises 35% of native words, 60% of Sino-Korean words and 5% loanwords mostly from the English language.
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