If you wanted to learn Korean a couple of decades ago, you might have found it difficult to find Korean learning resources or might have been limited to dense textbook material.
These days everything has changed. And with the recent global popularity of Korean popular culture, there are now more resources than ever before to learn Korean at your own pace!
In this blog post, you'll discover 18 of the best Korean learning resources for both online and offline. Don’t worry if you’re just starting out – you'll find resources for every level. Keep scrolling to find out more.
Websites To Learn Korean
Let's kick off with some websites that are helpful Korean learning resources.
LanguaTalk is a very picky company when it comes to approving applicants. In fact, only 10% are approved.
This high level of selectivity means that you can be confident in the quality of the Korean tutors on LanguaTalk.
Although native speakers may think that speaking ability is the most important thing to focus on when tutoring, LanguaTalk tutors' lessons are personalised.
This means that your needs always come first, no matter what. If you need to focus on business writing, for example, tutors can pivot to adapt.
Not necessarily a language learning resource per se, HiNative is a question-and-answer type website where you can ask native Korean speakers’ language related questions.
If you’ve just come across a word and you’re not sure if it’s the right fit, the users on HiNative can help quickly answer your questions and make you sound like a native speaker right away!
3. Korean Uncovered
Rather than just being given information and being expected to memorise, learning using the StoryLearning method ensures that you immerse yourself in Korean stories before learning all about it from an expert teacher.
4. Dom & Hyo
Founded by Dom (an ESL teacher in Korea) and his wife Hyo, Dom & Hyo primarily uses colourful and well-made infographics to introduce a range of Korean vocabulary.
This is an especially great resource for visual learners who are just getting started in Korean, as the focus is solely on vocabulary.
Having access to a good Korean-English dictionary is essential, and you certainly won’t regret it next time you’re needing to look up a certain word or phrase!
If you’re looking for a complete Korean dictionary that uses real-life examples – look no further than Naver dictionary.
Accessible through the web or on the app, Naver is a Korean search engine and is unrivalled when it comes to looking up Korean words with accurate translations and examples.
Known for its accuracy, lots of Koreans use Naver when learning English, and this is part of why it’s so effective the other way round too!
Not just limited to the classroom, Korean language textbooks can be a really valuable Korean learning resource when it comes to working on grammar and vocabulary.
Textbooks are also designed with effective education in mind, so you know you’ll be in good hands.
6. Korean Grammar In Use
The Korean Grammar in Use series of books are very highly regarded in Korean language learning due to their simple, easy-to-follow dialogues and grammatical explanations.
The books come in three distinct levels (beginner to early intermediate, intermediate, and advanced), meaning there is something for everyone!
What’s more, if you’re looking to take the TOPIK exam, this series of textbooks cover all the grammar points that you’ll need to know for both level 1 and level 2.
7. Talk To Me In Korean
If you’re looking for something a little more informal and easier to digest than a more traditional textbook, look no further than the Talk to Me in Korean textbook series.
TTMIK is a powerhouse in the Korean language learning world, and their textbook series is a perfect introduction to the language for beginners.
Rather than focusing on reading, vocabulary or grammar, the textbooks help you develop your speaking skills, with downloadable audio from the website.
Reading is an essential component of language learning and can help you gain visual familiarity with the language and help words stick in your mind.
Not to mention being able to read Hangeul quickly will help you a lot in noraebang (Korean karaoke).
8. Short Stories In Korean For Intermediate Learners
When you’re getting into reading in a different language, short stories can be a great way to get started.
Being able to read a short story can prepare you for longer texts.
With stories from genres ranging from sci-fi to fantasy, the short stories in this book feature the 1,000 most frequently used words in Korean, making it a great way to build your vocabulary and reading confidence.
It doesn’t just stop with reading skills though, the dialogues featured in the stories are authentic and natural, meaning you can improve your speaking ability too!
9. Please Look After Mom
“Please Look After Mom” is a bestselling Korean novel that was an international hit.
The story revolves around a family who after losing sight of their mother in a subway station, begin a process of questioning whether they really knew who she was all along.
The language is relatively simple and not too complicated, so this is a great book for intermediate learners.
Most of the dialogue takes place between family members, so it’s also a great way to get to grips with Korean family dynamics, politeness, and kinship terms.
10. Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982
“Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982” is a highly acclaimed book that caused a stir in Korea due to its unapologetically feminist theme.
The book follows the life of Korean woman Ji-young as her married life spirals out of control and she begins to recall her experience as a woman in Korea from childhood to now.
The book is not too difficult to follow but is definitely recommended for upper-intermediate learners due to the way the narrative is structured.
Listening to Korean podcasts is a great way to train your ear to the sounds of Korean.
And with such a range of podcasts for every level, you won’t be disappointed whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced learner!
11. Talk To Me In Korean
The TTMIK podcasts cover pretty much every aspect of the Korean language.
From introducing Hangeul and basic Korean phrases, to more naturally flowing conversations to allow you to pick up authentic phrases and vocabulary, they've got you covered.
The podcasts also provide insight into Korean language and culture, and they have something for learners at every level from beginner to advanced.
All the podcasts feature transcripts so you can also double check anything you don’t understand!
12. SpongeMind Podcast
The SpongeMind podcast is a great resource for learners that are at intermediate level or above.
Rather than just focusing on Korean language skills, the podcast also introduces critical discussion on aspects of Korean culture and society, as well as current affairs in general.
The podcast is bilingual and offers general language learning tips, so it's a great resource if you’re looking to take the next step in your Korean language learning journey.
Korean YouTube Channels
YouTube is one of the best free language learning resources on the internet, regardless of what language you’re learning!
This is no different in the case of Korean, with plenty of channels that teach multiple aspects of the Korean language.
13. Korean Unnie
Korean Unnie is a language learning community with a website, but it all started out on YouTube.
The content is highly useful for learners of all levels (even advanced learners get tripped up sometimes!) and is presented in both Korean and English.
The content is engaging and not solely focused on traditional topics such as greetings or colours, with plenty of videos teaching Korean slang and elements of youth culture too.
14. Billy Go
This channel is run by Billy, an American who has been teaching Korean for years.
Although he might not be a native speaker, sometimes it can be helpful to learn from non-native speakers who are more aware of what aspects of Korean can trip a learner up.
The videos are very well thought out and go in-depth on multiple aspects of the Korean language, making it an especially useful resource for intermediate to advanced learners.
Korean TV Shows And Films
Want to learn Korean but don’t want to sacrifice your leisure time? Watching TV shows and films in Korean can be a great way to improve your speaking and listening abilities. Many Korean language TV shows and films are now available on Netflix too!
This Oscar winning film is equally witty as it is tense, providing a social commentary on class dynamics in Seoul.
The story follows the Kim family as they hatch a scheme to gain money from the wealthy Park family.
I won’t give any more spoilers if you haven’t seen the film, but I recommend it for learners of all levels! If you’re an intermediate or advanced learner, watch the movie with Korean subtitles to test yourself.
16. Miss Granny
This is a heartfelt comedy film about a 74-year-old widow who visits a photobooth and mysteriously transforms into a 20-year-old version of herself.
She still retains her speech and attitude however, causing much confusion for those around her!
The film is a light-hearted and easy watch with simple dialogues, and you will also be able to learn a little bit about Korean dialects through watching the film.
17. The Glory
This K-drama was a huge hit in Korea, and this tense revenge thriller follows a young woman who seeks to get revenge on those who bullied her in high school.
Definitely not one to watch if you’re looking for something light-hearted and relaxing, but the show is a great way to pick up on natural dialogues.
18. Coffee Prince
Although it may seem a little dated now, Coffee Prince was a huge K-drama hit both domestically and internationally, spawning multiple remakes in different countries around the world, and is regarded to be a classic K-drama.
The drama follows Eun-hye and the relationship between her boss Han-gyeol and colleagues as she crossdresses as a boy to work at an all-male coffee shop.
Recommended for beginners and intermediate learners due to simple plotlines and dialogues.
The Best Korean Learning Resources
That’s a wrap! There are plenty more Korean learning resources out there, but these are the ones that will be most helpful in your Korean language learning journey.
Whether you want to improve your speaking, reading, or listening, there's something out there for everyone.
There are many ways to effectively learn a language, so if one resource doesn’t work out for you, don’t worry! You can find out what works best for your learning style.
So pick one of these Korean learning resources and start learning today!