Here a non-exhaustive list of the resources I’m using (or have used) to get started with Korean. Feel free to share yours. If interest is there, I can update this first post to make it a general overview of resources. Some resources require to pay for additional features (which makes sense, as they don’t all use the crowdsourcing format of duolingo and memrise), but I have managed to get by without paying (unless I decided to support the work of the content creators).
Based on the language courses from the How To Study Korean website:
I have tried many others, but I found these ones to be the most systematic (with sole focus on vocab).
Many of the available resources on Memrise focus too much on “survival sentences” which are overly complex with grammar until you have actually learned the grammar using other resources.
- Right now, only the Korean-English tree is available (if you don’t have a reasonable level yet, it pretty hard to learn Korean doing the reverse tree).
EDIT: I’m halfway through the tree now and it it is going much more smoothly compared to the first time I tried. Definitely, you need basic knowledge of grammar and extensive vocabulary to not get stuck trying to understand the suggested answers in Korean.
The advantage, you get a lot of exercises English to Korean (rather than the easier opposite direction) and you encounter a lot of different vocab. The disadvantage, translations are not always very natural as it is aimed towards learning English of course.
- The other course is in alpha (I will update once it is available, but I expect many months will pass until then).
I am eagerly waiting for this one, as it will allow to use spaced repetition methods with a focus on sentences. Duolingo is better for that IMHO, as the crowdsourcing mechanism provides the means to have nearly all possible correct translations once the course has been used by sufficient users.
EDIT : Announced for 30th of April 2017 now.
Based on Cloze Tests. You get sentences, and you have to fill in the blanks with the missing words. I tried a few, seems pretty fun and sentences are from all levels. The sentences I got also included Audio! Same Spaced Repetition Approach as Memrise.
How To Study Korean
Very systematic approach of the Korean grammar. I found the web-based format sometimes a bit tiring to read through pdfs one after the other. Still, a very complete resource, that is growing by the day.
Learn With Oliver
Discovered this one only recently. Very nice way to, for instance, improve your reading skills. You can even upload your own texts for analysis. Unfortunately, the really nice audio is only available for free during one week. I advice to subscribe to their mailing list, yo get a daily email with some chunk-sized Korean sentences.
Talk To Me In Korean
Very good for its podcasts. You gotta weed sometimes through some crappy humour at the beginning, but to each their taste. And I have to admit, I started to actually like some of the repetitive and predictable jokes they made.
EDIT : Their YIYAGI lessons are Korean only, no English. I sometimes listen to them in repeat on my phone, look up what I don’t know, and listen again.
Memrise course based on Talk to me in Korean.
I have been using this every day since this month. Perfect for podcasts. It is very similar to the TTMIK format, but I’ve found some of the lessons to have less useless banter (not all, though). The creator of TTMIK used to work for Korean 101. TTMIK gives more free content, but the ability to easily track your progress by marking the lessons you’ve listened to, gives this tool an edge. I hesitated long between the free and paid format, but have finally went for the paid version (Premium option). Especially because the App is truly useful and the line by line transcriptions after each podcast dialogue allow me to go over the material without having to take out my notes. Still, I’d only advice for the Premium in case you spend a lot of time commuting. Newer podcasts can be listened to for free.
Not strictly a Korean language resource, but I found that this app has a lot of already uploaded podcasts from popular resources, including the above TTMIK podcasts above. Even paid resources provide some free podcasts on there.
Korean Grammar in Use
Probably the best and most well structured grammar books on the market, edited by Darakwon. Having done a lot of vocab drills on memrise, I was able to understand all the vocab in the Beginner level book. I also acquired the intermediate level, but can not say anything about this one. I think these books will become my reference grammar book whenever there is some concept I need to quickly look up. You can buy them for around 20$ in Korea, so beware from the price that some versions cost on Amazon (up to 60$ I saw at some point).
I tried, but never continued using this website. Might get back to it some day. Focuses on text reading. I felt I would not be able to use the website fully if I didn’t pay from the start.
Learning with Texts
Open source alternative to LingQ mentioned above. It takes some patience to get it installed, but once it is done, it seems you have a very powerful tool at hand to read random texts from the internet in your target language. Very handy once you want to step into the real world beyond the usual text book texts. Will update once I’ve tested it a bit more.
http://lang-8.com/ (works for many languages besides Korean).
Very good way to practice your ability to form your own sentences. Basically, you write and post in your target language (e.g. a diary entry) and you wait for other users to provide their corrections. In return, you can also make corrections to other people’s posts in your mother-tongue. You get L-points for such efforts, allowing you to use the website for free.
From @Christietje message below: cool site and extension to use for reading in Korean. It’s called readlang translate words and phrases when you select them. They will also get added to a wordbank where you can learn them in context.
Simply Korean News
They started very recently on facebook. They provide English and Korean side-to-side articles of newspaper articles. Very useful for quick reads on the subway where you don’t have easy access to dictionaries.
Naver is kinda like a Korean google. This dictionary gives you plenty of back-ground information. They also have an app for the smartphone.
Also from the Naver family. In case you ever need to look up a Hanja.
Not very good at translating Korean to English. Still, can be useful if you need to quickly make translations to a 3th language for instance.
Catch the wave on Arirang
Junior version of Naver
Excellent resource to find short korean stories, using the junior version of Naver.
Menu categories on top:
인기동화, 생활동화, 명작동화, 전래동화, 이솝우화, 창작동화, 학습동화, 영어동화
인기동화 (book icon) : popular stories (don’t forget, this site is aimed towards children)
생활동화 (house icon) : teach kids good behavior
명작동화 (pinocchio icon) : classic children’s stories
전래동화 (tiger icon) : Korean traditional stories
이솝우화 (fox icon) : Aesop’s Fables
창작동화 (rainbow and sun icon) : new stories
학습동화 (figure icon) : learn more
영어동화 (alphabet icon) : learn English
(adapted from the answer in https://www.italki.com/question/118460)
For instance, I just found this short story in video and written version: http://jr.naver.com/s/story/view?sort=popular&contentsNo=19601
Youtube Channels (not tested yet)
A series of other resources I have not used yet
Other lists with resources
http://www.languagelinksdatabase.com/korean/ (also for many other languages)