Learning any language can be difficult and time-consuming, and this is the same when learning how to speak and understand Korean. So, how long does it take to learn Korean? You’ll more than likely want to know the answer to this question before deciding whether to learn it or not.
Knowing how to speak Korean can help you if you want to visit South Korea or understand K-Pop music, Korean films and Korean culture.
The thing that puts a lot of people off of learning Korean is that the language contains a completely new alphabet that can only be used in Korea. So, is it worth learning this language when you won’t be able to use it in your everyday life?
Today we’re going to be looking into how long it takes to learn the language as well as the several factors affecting this timeframe.
How long does it take to learn Korean?
It takes roughly three months to learn enough Korean to hold a three-minute conversation if you study for 7 to 10 hours a week. However, if you continue to study for this many hours every week for a year, you will be able to become fluent in the language of Korean.
With that being said, you might not want to be conversationally fluent in Korean and only learn enough to hold a short conversation. Below, we have a rough guide of how long it will take to learn the language, regardless of what you want to do with it.
Learning the alphabet
The alphabet is one of the easier things to learn when it comes to Korean, and it can take as little as one study session to learn. However, bear in mind that you will need to refresh your memory on the alphabet every so often so that you don’t forget it.
Study the alphabet for another 30 minutes every day for the first week after you learn it initially. Then you can only replenish your mind every so often. Learning the alphabet will allow you to read Korean words and it will make learning the language much easier.
Having a short conversation
You’d be able to hold a three-minute conversation in Korean after around 90 days of studying, if you were to study for 2 hours every day. That being said, you will need the best materials to learn how to speak Korean so that you’re not wasting your time.
When only learning enough to hold a short conversation, you should focus on the phrases that are most common. These could be ‘Hi, my name is…’, ‘How are you today?’, or ‘Where are you from?’.
Don’t forget about grammar as well, as learning grammar properly can be very useful from an early stage. Without it, your sentences might not make much sense and you will have wasted 3 months.
Most people like to say that they’re learning enough of a language to hold a three-minute conversation so that they are not too overwhelmed when it comes to learning the language. A good way to look at it is that you’re learning 20% of the language for 80% of the results.
You should be able to hold a long conversation with someone in Korean within a year of learning the language. You might not be able to know every single word of the language, but you should be able to learn all of the words and phrases that are most commonly used.
Once you learn how to have a short conversation in Korean, you can begin focusing your studies on your desired topics. For example, if you want to learn the language to talk at a conference in Korea, you will begin to learn how to speak the phrases that you will need during your speech.
If you’re learning just to talk to friends, you can begin learning more slang words rather than formalities. If you want to learn Korean to watch Korean films without the subtitles, you will need to learn more about everyday conversations to be able to turn them off.
The longer you study the Korean language, the more you will learn and be able to speak.
What affects the length of time it takes to learn Korean?
While we have given you the rough estimated time on how long it takes to learn the language, these time frames can be affected by a number of factors. Below are a number of reasons why learning Korean might take longer for you to learn than the timeframes that we have listed above.
Your first language
Your first language will depend on whether you find learning Korean harder or easier than others. For example, Korean is a completely different language from English, and therefore it is harder for English speakers to understand and learn.
On the other hand, Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese speakers find it easier to learn Korean because it is more similar to their native language. While your native language might slow down the learning process a little, it is still possible to learn Korean no matter your first language.
How you are learning the language
Learning Korean in different ways will give you varied results. Many think that learning Korean in a classroom is the best way to learn a language, while others prefer interactive learning over books.
You’ll need to find the best way to learn that works for you. If you’re learning with a method that doesn’t work for you, it will take you a much longer time to perfect the language than if you were to learn in a way that was ideal for you.
The best ways to learn Korean, that work for the majority of people, are either in a classroom with other students or traveling to Korea and learning as you go. However, you can get a good understanding of the language by learning Korean online.
How often you are studying
Of course, spending longer on learning Korean is going to get you faster results. However, there is such a thing as learning too much at once. Learning Korean is not as simple as learning the words once and moving on to another.
Instead, you need to learn the word initially and then continue to study it over the next few weeks so that you don’t forget it. So, you need to study a lot to learn how to speak Korean. The ideal amount that you should be studying is 1 to 2 hours a day.
This will give you enough time to study everything that you have learned in the past few days, as well as learning a few more words or phrases. Up to two hours is not enough to overcrowd your brain either.
Your attitude towards learning
Your attitude to learning is certainly going to alter how long it takes you to learn a language. If you have a great attitude to learning a language, you’re going to be able to learn much quicker than if you were to have a poor attitude.
A good attitude keeps you happy and motivated so that you can continue learning Korean at an impressive pace. So, if you want to learn Korean quickly, make sure that you go into your study sessions happy, well-rested, and ready to learn.
How much previous language learning experience you have
Bilingual people have an advantage at learning a new language over people who can only speak one language. Being able to speak at least two languages from a young age will make you more adaptable to learning a new language, such as Korean.
Moreover, having a second language under your belt will allow you to know how to learn a new language all over again. You do not need to figure out the best ways for you to learn Korean because you have already done it once or twice before.
Your brain will already be adjusted to learning new languages, which makes it easier to learn more and more.
To sum up, it can take 90 days to learn how to hold a three-minute conversation in Korean. You could learn the alphabet within a couple of hours to a day. To be conversationally fluent, it will take around a year.
You will find learning Korean easier or harder depending on a lot of factors, such as your first language. English-speakers find it more difficult to learn Korean than Chinese-speakers because Korean is so different from English.
Your previous experience with learning a language will also affect how long it takes to learn Korean, as well as how you’re learning, your attitude, and whether you’re bilingual or not. Good luck!