Learn Korean

Here you can learn more about our approach to learning Korean as well as the services and contents we offer.

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Our Philosophy for Beginner Level Korean Speaking

So you want to learn Korean, huh? Well you may not know where to begin in this behemoth of an undertaking. Though, I can assure you that you will need either superhuman levels of motivation, a tremendous tolerance for boredom, or a sustainable approach to take on the beast that is the Korean language. As native English speakers (I assume) everything about Korean seems to resist traction in our brains. So, where to start? Let’s answer this with another question.

Where not to start?

Starting with a textbook seems like the logical move. But this could end up having the same effect as grade school –  a general disdain for education and a deeply engrained procrastination habit. Beginning your Korean study with a textbook sucks all of the life and excitement out of the process of learning a language. It also makes everything much more complicated than it needs to be. For instance, breaking a language down into its constituent parts drains all context and all meaning out of the constituent parts. Even the simplest words that we take for granted such as, the, is, was, and could, are exceptionally difficult to wrap our minds around. What is ‘is’? This is philosophy not language learning! Why begin with this? What results is a tedium of memorization of bits, bites, rules and charts. And what results from this is frustration and eventual failure.

Start with communication

At the very least, start with a phrase book. Phrasebooks give generally useful phrases for useful situations such as self-introductions, ordering food, asking for and following directions, etc. Whats great about this is that the phrases are ready to use out of the box. Once you’ve remembered the phrase you can begin communicating with results immediately. Conversely, beginning with grammar or textbooks encourages you to piece together shitty sentences that are totally unnatural or outright non-sensical. The fruits of communication will begin immediately with a phrasebook where as the same harvest will take months with a textbook. Furthermore, as you become more familiar with the language, you’ll start noticing all sorts of amazing things about the phrases that are already locked away in your mind. Oh! I’ve been using this phrase all along but I had no idea that this part means that and that part means this! Oh! that’s what that grammar means. I’ve been using it all this time without knowing…  All of the most relevant grammar and vocabulary is already baked right into phrases that are natural and useful. It’s magic. Subscribe here for essential phrases that you must learn and will use every day you study Korean forever and ever.

Got motivation?

Especially in Korea, your motivation will be fuelled by your ability to communicate on a basic level. 안녕하세요! Wow! you speak Korean SO WELL! If you’ve ever said hello to a Korean like this, you’ll know what I’m talking about. As you progress through your phrases and your language journey, you will learn more about the language and you’ll see that it’s a live, dynamic living thing that is alive and living. The interaction with other people that want to learn more about you and that you want to learn more about will spur you on to learn more. Eventually, you’ll get to that textbook with the superhuman levels of motivation required to finish it and then you can move on to intermediate Korean.

The perfect beginner self-introduction script

Here is an example set of phrases, stripped down to the essentials, that we offer at our Korean lessons and language exchanges. Check out our event calendar here to find out locations and schedules. And subscribe here to get the full 6 beginner Korean conversation phrase lessons emailed to you now.

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Here are some frequently asked questions we have about the Korean lessons.

  1. How much does it cost? As of now it’s free. You only need to pay the price of a coffee to enter the reserved cafe space where the lesson is held. The coffee price is usually 6천원 (6$). Though, as we staff more qualified teachers and the service and lesson improve, the price could go up.
  2. I have absolutely no Korean skills. Can I still go? Yes, absolutely. You’re the perfect student. We’ll get you to intermediate in no time.
  3. Can I bring friends? Yes, absolutely. Just come on time.
  4. Where can I find a lesson? Check out the event calendar here.
  5. Do I have to bring my own materials? No. Pens and papers are provided. Just bring your self, your brain and perhaps some cookies and milk for your Korean teacher.
  6. How is the lesson organized? Good question. It’s really more of a Korean workshop rather than a Korean lesson. Upon entering the cafe, there will be a staff member to greet you with one of our conversation cafe menus (see below). As you order your coffee you can browse and select the lesson from the cafe. Make your way to the table marked with the lesson you chose and begin learning with your awesome teacher and new friends.

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Our Philosophy for Intermediate Level Korean Speaking

Welcome to intermediacy

If you’ve made it this far in Korean, we know the journey you’ve made. It wasn’t easy, but you did it. Congratulations. How can we progress now? Our Philosophy for learning intermediate Korean is still all about communication. With the phrases you learned in our beginner lessons, you can now make self introductions, you can control the speed and difficulty of the conversation, and you can keep your Korean conversation partner speaking Korean rather than English, all while you can receive useful, constructive feedback. To review these phrases, click here and a PDF will be sent to your inbox. Now that you have these tools in your language toolbox, it’s time to consume a lot of relevant content, while applying new concepts little by little.

Relevant, focused stuffs

Some days we feel totally fluent and other days we feel dumb. There are a lot of factors that contribute to these feelings of success or failure. For instance, state of mind, confidence, and the speaking partner make a big difference, but a really important factor that we can control is the content that we are discussing. For example, how confident and fluent would you be discussing particle physics with a professor in your native language? If you are not at least familiar with the specific terminology surrounding particle physics, you may as well be speaking Elvish. The same goes with intermediate Korean learners. We need to choose and study topics that are relevant to us and our language goals. Textbooks that offer a smattering of technical terminology from all areas of life are a waste of time. It’s best to pick a single topic of discussion that is relevant to your life and then get down to work learning the relevant questions, vocabulary, expressions and grammar points that will bring you to fluency on that topic as soon as possible. Are you learning Korean primarily for business purposes? Great. Learn business terminology. Want to date a Korean or make Korean friends? Study material related with common interests, relationships, travel and conversation.  Our intermediate Korean lessons focus on this last option. Content for intermediate learners will be available soon. Subscribe here to be the first to receive more information and content for intermediates.

Apply like a mastermind

For most of us intermediate learners, our listening and reading abilities far outstrip our speaking and writing skills. While we might comfortably comprehend and recognize intermediate and advanced content, we are probably applying mere beginner grammar and vocabulary in speech. How can we activate the content that we work so hard to get into our heads? We can make the whole process faster and more effective by getting out there, and applying new concepts in a focused and strategic way. Allow me to explain.

At this intermediate point, we usually have the urge to move onto the next set of words, or the next grammar point as soon as what ever we are learning looks vaguely familiar. We have to crush this urge. We have to take command of the new content we learn by focusing on relevant words, expressions and grammar, little by little.

Apply little by little

In our lessons, where we have native Koreans teaching intermediate Korean, we offer one topic, a few discussion questions, a handful of vocabulary words and a single grammar point. Thats it. The topic always fall under one of the categories, relationship, work, play, and travel. The reason for this  lesson structure is that we want to learn just enough new stuff that we can own it by the end of the lesson. Just like how 안녕 flies out of our mouths without a second thought, we want to make a knee jerk reaction out of the manageable content we learn each week. To find out the location and time of the next intermediate lesson check out the event calendar. Subscribe here to be the first to receive more information and content for intermediates.

Our Philosophy for learning Advanced Korean

Advanced lessons are coming soon. Subscribe here to receive updates about our advanced Korean lessons and content.