The way we learn Korean

Hello! My name is Chaimae (체이마) and I’m from Morocco. I decided to share with you my Korean Language learning experience and I hope it will be helpful for you guys.

Let’s be honest! We all started learning Korean because of k-pop or k-drama.

At first, it wasn’t about the language. But as time goes we fall in love with the language and we notice that we have memorized more words and expressions than we expected. And this is when we decide to start leaning Korean!

Most of us go with the “I’m going to teach myself” challenge. The thing is that it never goes as we expect because we don’t learn properly.

I’m going to share with you guys tips about some things that you should do or avoid to help improve your Korean.

So let’s get started!

The first thing that you should totally avoid is Romanization.

Romanization memes

When there is a Korean song you like and you don’t know the hangeul, the obvious thing you’re going to do is to use the Romanization to memorize the lyrics.

My story with Romanization :

I remember when I tried to memorize my first Korean song. I wrote the Romanization of the lyrics on a paper and I spent the whole day at school trying to memorize them. When I got home I was excited to sing along the song. So I turned it on and I started singing but… it didn’t match.

The way I was saying the words and the way they were pronounced in the song were totally different.

This is when I realized that for my Korean language learning, the Romanization is definitely a No-No.

What you should do :

-Go ahead and learn hangeul first.

-Don’t focus on complicated combined vowels or the many sounds of the same letter.

-Just learn the basics and practice your reading with your favorite songs.

-You will practice the basic letters you learned and at the same time, you will encounter those combined vowels and difficult sounds that make us all so confuse. This way you will learn the hangeul naturally, gradually and properly.

An example on how bad Romanization is :

Big Bang – Let’s not fall in love.

-This is when you use hangeul.

-This is when you use Romanization (My first foreign language is French so it sounds weirder hahaha).

체이마

 

 

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5 Comments
  1. Profile photo of Fabien Abbenbroek
    Fabien Abbenbroek 2 years ago

    Hey,

    First of all, I’d like to say that I’m not a huge fan of romanization myself, but it can be very usefull.
    It shouldn’t be a no-no, it just depends on which system you use for romanizing Korean!

    There are several ways of romanizing Korean, but the most used systems are:
    1) Revised Romanization (this is the most used and officially used romanization of Korea)
    2) McCune-Reisschauer
    3) Yale Romanization

    Each system has it’s own issues, but McCune-Reischauer is, in my own opinion, the best romanization system that you can use. For an example, I will use your example written with this system:

    uri saranghaji marayo ajikŭn chaf morŭjanhayo sasil jogŭmŭn durŏun kŏya kŭdae mianhaeyo

    Like this, it might not immediately give you the right pronunciation, but it’ll be better than the other systems that are being used. This system also looks at the following consonants in order to improve the romanization of Korean words.
    For example: 합니다
    in Revised Romanization is often written as hapnida while in McCune-Reischauer as hamnida!

    However, I do agree with you that it’s better to just learn 한글 first, and then continue with learning all the pronunciations.

    Here are some links if you are interested in learning the McCune-Reischauer romanization :)
    There’s a lot to learn about it xD and I really mean… A LOT
    http://cfs9.blog.daum.net/image/34/blog/2007/05/01/10/52/46369d3c8bf96&filename=mccune2-saejoonoh.jpg
    http://cfs10.blog.daum.net/image/23/blog/2007/05/01/10/51/46369d1f73026&filename=mccune1-saejoonoh.jpg
    http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/easia/images/McCune-Reischauer.gif

    • Profile photo of Chaimae Author
      Chaimae 2 years ago

      Hi Fabien,
      I really appreciate your comment and all the information you put in it. I will try and test the difference between those Romanization systems.

      Those tips are based on my own experience and this is why I said Romanization is a no-no.
      When I first tried to know the language (using Romanization) I felt that something was not right. But at that time, I didn’t think of searching whether there is other Romanization systems but instead I just thought that if I want to ‘learn’ Korean I should start from the hangeul. Learning a foreign language starts from learning its alphabet first.

      As you said, Romanization can be really helpful but you have to understand first it’s system and it’s not always easy especially when you’re first language is not English.

      All this to say that Romanization is a step that we all experience but if you want to start learning Korean properly, you should move to the next step and start learning Hangeul.

  2. Profile photo of Renato Carozzi
    Renato Carozzi 2 years ago

    아녕하세요 체마씨
    I partly agree with you. The romanisation is often confusing. Especially for an Italian speaker like me since it’s intended more for English speaking people. Even if I can english it’s sometimes akward to decodify the romanization yet sometimes it’s useful.
    My advice is to use as much as possible Hangul but if in doubt…. to give a glance at the romanization …. is a good thing.
    Thank you for your comment
    아녕히게세요 ☺

    • Profile photo of Chaimae Author
      Chaimae 2 years ago

      Hi Renato,
      Yes you’re right, it becomes more confusing when your first language is not English. So yes we have to use Romanization but only as a checking tool to learn hangeul.

  3. Profile photo of CyberMew
    CyberMew 2 years ago

    I think Romanization is more to guide you if you are unsure how to pronounce something when viewing the hangul characters. When viewing the romanization, based on different backgrounds/cultures the way you pronounce something can be interpreted differently. So, instead of spending time perfecting on how to pronounce another “language” (i.e. romanization), you can just directly learn the hangul itself. For new learners I think it’s best if you learn their alphabets directly. Trust me, it’s easy (content can be found on YouTube, and the alphabets itself is easy, you just have to associate the sounds to the characters), you can get it down in a day :) So my suggestion to anyone new to Korean, is to put in the effort to learn it in one day, and you can pronounce anything~!

    할 수있어요! 화이팅! (Challenge: Come back and try reading this when you’ve learnt hangul – even if you don’t understand Korean you probably will hear this in maybe running man a couple of times)

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