Menu Close

Most important things to keep in mind when learning Korean

People always ask me what the most important things are when learning Korean. I wanted to organize my thoughts into a quick article.


1. Prioritize Vocabulary Acquisition

When I started studying Korean 15 years ago, I hit the vocabulary really hard. I tried to memorize 20 or so new words every weekday, and use the weekends to review the words I had learned previously that week. That gave me a solid 100 new words that I was learning every week. I kept this up for about two years. At the time, it was painful (and time consuming!) but looking back I feel it had the biggest impact on me developing my Korean.

Even now, every once and a while I will see a word I don’t use very often, but somehow I still remember words like this from my days of intense vocabulary study. Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate learner, expanding your vocabulary should be a constant focus.

The more words you know, the more confident and articulate you become in expressing yourself in Korean.


2. Master Grammar Fundamentals

While a rich vocabulary is crucial, grammar serves as the framework that gives structure to your language proficiency. Invest time in understanding and mastering Korean grammar rules to build a solid foundation for effective communication. I’ve done my best to describe as many grammatical principles (as clearly as I can) in my lessons.

One of the hardest parts of “grammar” that is difficult for Korean learning is the irregular conjugations. I found this the most confusing as a beginner, but it really is crucial to sit down and learn. Regular practice is key – apply newly learned grammar concepts in your writing and speaking exercises to internalize them effectively.

By combining a robust vocabulary with a strong grasp of grammar, you’ll unlock the ability to construct clear and meaningful sentences in Korean.


3. Speak, Speak, Speak

Language is a tool for communication, and the true test of your proficiency lies in your ability to speak. While studying vocabulary and grammar is essential, actively practicing speaking is equally crucial for becoming a proficient Korean speaker.

Seek opportunities to converse with native speakers or fellow learners, either in person or through language exchange platforms. Join language meet-ups, attend language exchange events, or connect with language exchange partners online. Engaging in real conversations forces you to apply what you’ve learned in a practical setting, helping you gain confidence and fluency. If you have absolutely nobody to talk to you could even consider getting a tutor on italki, a popular language tutoring website.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; they are an integral part of the learning process. Embrace every opportunity to practice speaking, as it is the bridge between theoretical knowledge and practical application.


4. Consistency is the Key:

Language learning is a marathon, not a sprint. Consistency is paramount to making steady progress in your Korean studies. Establish a daily routine that includes dedicated time for learning – be it vocabulary drills, grammar exercises, or speaking practice.

Consistency not only helps reinforce what you’ve learned but also builds a habit that sustains long-term language acquisition. Even on busy days, commit to a small, manageable amount of study time. The cumulative effect of consistent daily practice is powerful, leading to gradual improvement over time.

Consider setting achievable goals, such as learning a certain number of new words each day or completing a specific grammar lesson. Celebrate small victories, and view language learning as a continuous journey of growth.


5. Avoid the Burnout

Learning Korean, like any skill, requires patience and perseverance. It’s essential to recognize that language acquisition is a gradual process, and attempting to rush through it can lead to burnout. Avoid the temptation to learn as much as possible in the shortest time frame – instead, focus on sustainable progress.

Set realistic goals that align with your lifestyle and commitments. Learning a language is a long-term investment, and pacing yourself allows for better retention and understanding. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take breaks, reassess your approach, and adjust your goals accordingly.

Incorporate variety into your learning routine to keep things interesting. Explore different aspects of Korean culture, try diverse learning materials, and mix up your study methods to stay engaged and motivated.


Learning Korean is a multifaceted journey that requires a balanced approach encompassing vocabulary, grammar, speaking practice, consistency, and patience. By incorporating these key principles into your language learning routine, you’ll build a strong foundation and steadily progress toward fluency. Remember, the joy of language acquisition lies not just in reaching the destination but in the discoveries and growth along the way. Embrace the process, stay committed, and enjoy the richness of learning the Korean language.

For the first time in a year, we are running a sale on our Workbooks. Two weeks only!