Is Korean hard to learn? The Truth About Learning Korean

Is Korean hard to learn? Learning a new language can be a challenging but rewarding experience. If you’re thinking about picking up Korean, you may be wondering how difficult it is to learn and what kind of benefits it can bring. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Korean language and explore some of the key features that make it unique. We’ll also discuss the benefits of learning Korean and provide tips and strategies for making the most of your language learning journey.

Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an intermediate learner looking to take your skills to the next level, this post will provide valuable insights and inspiration to help you achieve your goals. So, if you’re ready to embark on an exciting new adventure, let’s dive in and discover the world of Korean language and culture!

Is Korean really that hard to learn?

Yes, Korean is indeed a challenging language to learn. The grammar and vocabulary are different from English, making it an arduous task for anyone to pick up the language. However, with the help of a well-designed learning program, anyone can learn to speak and understand Korean. There are many online resources that can be used to help you learn Korean as well. If you are willing to put in the effort, learning Korean shouldn’t be difficult. Remember that success doesn’t come overnight – it takes time and dedication to learn Korean well.

The challenges of learning Korean

  1. Hangul script: Korean uses a unique script called Hangul, which consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels. While Hangul is relatively simple and easy to learn, it can still be a challenge for English speakers to master.
  2. Vocabulary: Korean has a large number of words, and many of them are not similar to English words. This can make it difficult to remember new vocabulary.
  3. Grammar: Korean grammar is relatively complex, with many inflections and particles. This can make it challenging to understand and use the language correctly.
  4. Pronunciation: Korean pronunciation can be difficult for English speakers, as the sounds and rhythms are quite different from those found in English.
  5. Cultural context: Understanding the cultural context in which Korean language is spoken can be challenging, as there may be customs, traditions, and social norms that are not familiar to English speakers.
  6. Limited resources: Despite the rising popularity of the Korean language and culture, resources such as textbooks, conversation partners, and language schools may be limited in some areas.

How long does it take to learn Korean?

The amount of time it takes to learn Korean can vary greatly depending on factors such as the individual’s language learning aptitude, prior experience with learning a second language, and the amount of time dedicated to studying and practicing. On average, it can take around 600-750 hours of study to achieve basic proficiency in the language, which is roughly equivalent to a semester of college-level Korean language coursework. However, to become proficient in the language and able to communicate effectively, it can take anywhere from 2-3 years of consistent study and practice.

Unique features of the Korean language

The Korean language is a tonal language which means that the spoken word can have a huge variation in sound depending on the tone used. The language has three tones, ‘high’, ‘middle’ and ‘low’. The ‘high tone’ is used at the beginning of a word to indicate that it is a statement or question. It is also used to call attention to something.

The ‘middle tone’ indicates that something should be done or considered carefully. The ‘low tone’ is used at the end of a sentence to indicate dismissal or resignation. In addition, Korean has many consonants and vowel sounds which create a wide range of words that sound different when pronounced. This makes learning the language a fun and rewarding experience for those who are willing to put in the effort required to become proficient in it.

The grammar of Korean language is also very complex and there are many rules that must be followed in order to form correct sentences. However, with practice and interest, learning Korean can become an enjoyable process for everyone who is interested in learning this beautiful language.


Is Korean hard to learn

The Korean alphabet, also known as Hangul, is one of the simplest and most logical writing systems in the world. It was created in the 15th century by King Sejong the Great and his team of scholars in order to promote literacy among the common people.

The Korean alphabet consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels. The consonants are grouped into three categories based on the position of the vocal cords (voiced, semi-voiced, and unvoiced) and the vowels are grouped into two categories based on the position of the tongue (front and back).

Each syllable block is composed of one, two or three letters, which can be combined to form tens of thousands of different words and sounds.

The Korean alphabet is relatively easy to learn and write, as it is a purely phonetic alphabet, which means that each symbol represents a specific sound. This makes it easy to learn how to read and write Korean words. However, the pronunciation of the words can be a bit challenging because of the tonal aspect of the language.

Learning the Korean alphabet is a great first step in learning the language and it is important to practice writing the letters and syllables to master the Korean script.


Vocabulary is one of the most important parts of language learning, and Korean vocabulary can be quite challenging for English speakers.

One of the difficulties in learning Korean vocabulary is that many words are not similar to their English equivalents. For example, the Korean word for “book” is “책” (chek), which has no similarity to the English word “book.” Additionally, many Korean words have multiple meanings depending on context, making it challenging to understand and use the language correctly.

Another aspect of Korean vocabulary is the use of Sino-Korean words, which are words that were borrowed from Chinese. These words make up a significant portion of the Korean vocabulary, and many of them have no direct English translation.

Korean Grammar

Korean grammar can be quite complex, especially for English speakers who are used to a subject-verb-object sentence structure. One of the main differences in Korean grammar is that it follows a subject-object-verb structure. Additionally, there are many particles in Korean which indicate the grammatical function of a word in a sentence. These include particles such as 이/가 (indicating the subject of a sentence), 을/를 (indicating the object of a sentence), and 은/는 (used to indicate a topic).

Another aspect of Korean grammar is the use of honorifics and politeness levels. The language has different forms of address depending on the level of respect or familiarity towards the person being spoken to. This can make communication in Korean quite nuanced and complex.

There are also many verb conjugations and tenses in Korean, which can be challenging for learners to master. However, with consistent practice and the help of a good grammar book or language learning app, it is possible to become proficient in Korean grammar.


The Korean language is one of the most difficult languages to learn, with its unique consonant-vowel structure and complex grammar system. However, there are several features of the Korean language that make it unique and challenging to master. For one thing, the language has a large number of consonants and vowels, which makes pronunciation challenging. Another feature is the complex grammar system required to learn specific rules and grammar structures.

However, with the help of a good tutor or learning program, anyone can learn to speak and understand Korean. By investing in learning resources such as language learning software or classes at a local school, learners can speed up their progress and achieve proficiency faster.

Comparison Korean to other languages

ScriptHangul (alphabetic)Hanzi (logographic)Kanji (logographic)Roman (alphabetic)
TonesNoYes (Mandarin)NoNo
Difficulty levelModerateModerate to DifficultModerate to DifficultEasy
Number of speakers78 million1.2 billion125 million460 million

Considerations before starting to learn Korean

Is Korean hard to learn

Before embarking on a learning journey to learn Korean, you must consider several factors. Firstly, you must identify your learning goals and determine how much time and effort you are willing to invest in learning the language. In addition, you must identify your level of fluency in the language and decide whether you want to learn a language for professional or personal reasons. This will help you narrow down your options and pick a course or program that is effective and efficient for learning Korean.

Once you have decided on your learning agenda, it’s vital to be patient and not give up easily. Learning any language takes time and effort, so don’t feel discouraged if it seems difficult at first. Keep a positive attitude as this will help you enjoy the process and try to have fun along the way. Finally, practice regularly as this will help build proficiency in the language quickly.

Things to avoid while learning Korean

  1. Practice regularly and use language learning tools to improve vocabulary and grammar skills.
  2. Mindful of pronunciation as it is important for fluency.
  3. Avoid cramming too much information at once, focus on learning one new word or grammar point at a time.
  4. Create a plan that outlines learning goals, time frame, and other relevant details.
  5. Take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue and improve focus.
  6. Use a learning method that is enjoyable for you.
  7. Reinforce good habits and encourage continued practice of language skills.

The benefits of learning Korean

  1. Cultural understanding: Learning Korean can give you an in-depth understanding of the culture, customs, and traditions of South Korea.
  2. Career opportunities: Knowing Korean can open up new job opportunities in fields such as business, tourism, and international relations.
  3. Improved communication: Being able to speak Korean can improve communication with native speakers and make it easier to travel and live in South Korea.
  4. Educational opportunities: Knowing Korean can give you access to a wide range of educational resources, including literature, films, and music.
  5. Cognitive benefits: Learning a new language can improve cognitive function, including memory and problem-solving skills.
  6. Personal growth: Learning a new language can be a challenging and rewarding experience that can help you grow both personally and professionally.
  7. Access to Korean entertainment: Knowing Korean can allow you to enjoy the wide range of entertainment from South Korea like K-dramas, K-pop, and K-variety shows without any language barrier.
  8. Access to Korean food: Knowing the language can make it easier to order and understand the menu while enjoying Korean cuisine.
  9. Improved problem-solving skills: Learning a new language can help to improve problem-solving skills and enhance creativity as you learn to think in a new way.
  10. Improve relationship with Korean people: Knowing the language can help to build trust and understanding with Korean people and improve relationships.

Online Resources to help you to learn Korean

If you’re interested in learning Korean, there are a variety of online resources available to help you learn the language.

  • Firstly, try YouTube and other video platforms for learning about Korean culture and language. This can be a good way to learn basic vocabulary and grammar points. You can also watch captivating content like dramas or films to immerse yourself in the language and culture.
  • Secondly, take classes or lessons to learn the basics of language. This may provide you with access to learning materials and guidance as well as practice through exercises and activities. This will help you develop skills and knowledge quickly and gradually build your comprehension of the language.
  • Thirdly, use apps such as Duolingo or Memrise to help you with specific vocabulary or grammar points. These apps can help you learn new vocabulary at a slow but consistent pace. They also provide structure by providing bite-sized learning sessions that are tailored to your skill level and interests.
  • Last but not least, get involved in social media communities related to Korean culture and language learning. You can start a blog or create an account on social media platforms such as Reddit or Twitter where people share interesting content related to Korean language learning. By actively engaging with these communities, you can connect with other learners who share similar interests and goals for learning Korean language.

By following these tips, you can learn the basics of Korean language quickly and easily.

Top tips for learning Korean effectively

Is Korean hard to learn
  1. Start with the basics: Learn the Korean alphabet (Hangul) and basic grammar first before moving on to more complex structures and vocabulary.
  2. Practice regularly: Consistency is key when learning a new language. Try to practice Korean every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  3. Immerse yourself in the language: Surround yourself with Korean language and culture by listening to Korean music, watching Korean dramas and movies, and reading Korean books and news articles.
  4. Use a variety of learning materials: Mix up your study materials to keep things interesting. Use textbooks, workbooks, language learning apps, and language exchange websites to supplement your learning.
  5. Find a language partner: Practice speaking Korean with a native speaker or language exchange partner. This will help you improve your pronunciation and fluency.
  6. Learn through context: Try to understand words and phrases in context rather than just memorizing them. This will help you understand the language better.
  7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Don’t let fear of making mistakes hold you back.
  8. Be patient: Learning a new language takes time, patience, and perseverance. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see progress right away.
  9. Stay motivated: Set goals for yourself, reward yourself for reaching milestones, and remember why you started learning Korean in the first place.
  10. Have fun: Learning a new language should be enjoyable. Find ways to make it fun, such as playing language-learning games or watching a Korean comedy show.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to learn Korean?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as learning Korean can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on your level of fluency and motivation. The best way to learn Korean is by engaging in interactive learning activities (such as language learning courses, hangouts, grammar lessons, and more). There are also a number of resources available online that can help you with your learning process.

Why is Korean hard for English speakers?

Korean is a difficult language to learn for English speakers because of its very unique writing system. Koreans write using hanja characters, which are Chinese characters that have been adapted to the Korean language. Hanja characters are made up of two parts: the hanja and the eoja. The hanja is the Chinese character and the eoja is the native Korean word that is pronounced in the same way as the hanja. English speakers who learn Korean often struggle with the pronunciation rules. For example, the word ‘book’ in Korean may be written as 복, but it is pronounced as bok. Because of this, learning Korean can be quite difficult for English speakers who are not already familiar with Chinese characters.

Is Korean harder to learn or Japanese?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as everyone’s learning style and preference differs. Some people find Korean harder to learn than Japanese, while other people find Japanese harder to learn than Korean. The main difference between Korean and Japanese is the number of letters in each language. However, both languages use the same alphabet.


There are several learning methods that work best for different people. The good news is that you can find something that works best for you, as long as you apply a sound learning system and consistent effort. If you’re still struggling to learn Korean despite trying a number of learning methods, we suggest taking a look at our in-depth learning system. It’s designed specifically to help learners like you succeed with minimal effort. You can start learning in as little as an hour and get better results every day. Download the app, set aside some time each day, and let it do the work for you!