Thursday, September 6, 2012

Language Time: Hangul

I have had a few readers ask me if the language is difficult, what books I am using, how much I study, ect. so I decided to make a blog post covering to answer these questions. ;)

At first glance, Hangul can be a very intimidating language, but you shouldn't be scared away! I won't lie because Hangul is certainly not a walk in the park by any means, but with time and effort, you can make the language work for you!

I have a background with languages, growing up in a bilingual home with Spanish spoken at home, and I also studied and minored in Russian while at University. That being said, Hangul absolutely baffled me! Hangul is far more tonal of a language than I have ever studied and it takes a finesse that is bit frustrating, but is oh so gratifying when you are able to communicate efficiently and correctly.

Here is a photo of the three books that I have used to begin my education of the language, and a photo of my FAVORITE WORD in Hangul. ELEPHANT/ Kokkari (which also means eskimo kiss) I love this word so much and I have taken to yelling it out when I am excited about something as a victory word, which my Korean friends think is hilarious. :)

1) Korean at a Glance : Barron's
2) Your first 100 words in Korean : Jane Wightwick
3) Korean through English: Hollym/ Seoul Natl. University

I love all 3 books for entirely different reasons.

I love how Korean at a Glance fits in my purse and I can whip it out quickly. Korean at a Glance doubles as a useful dictionary and phrasebook, and has the added bonus of having a subway map! (very useful if you are phoneless)

Your first 100 words is fabulous because it has so many hands on activities which give you an opportunity to read, write and problem solve. More activities = more opportunities for your brain to make connections! The book also has great cut out words which you can use as flashcards. I took the opportunity to tape my flashcards to various objects around the house to give me an extra chance to become familiar with the word.

Korean through English is by far the more comprehensive book of the 3, and is great for giving you a way to hear, speak, and write in Hangul. I love how each section consists of all 3 methods of learning, which is once again a great opportunity for your brain to make connections.

I am enjoying my foray into learning Hangul, and I am becoming quite proficient at communicating and understanding the Koreans around me. If you are moving to South Korea, please take the time to learn some Hangul! It isn't impossible, just difficult, but knowing the language will give you so much more understanding of the country and its people. I know that learning Hangul has enriched my experience in South Korea like nothing else could have, and for that I am grateful!

I hope that if I continue my current regime of about 30 minutes a day, that I will become fully fluent before my time in Korea comes to an end. As my time here goes on, and I move on to new books and materials I will make sure to do an update post!


  1. I've always wanted to learn Hangul :D

  2. Verna,

    If I were you, I would give it a try. It really is a beautiful language. :)
    Also, GREAT blog! I am now following you to get updates on your great outfits.