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Is studying in Korean hard?


Korean is known for being a difficult language to learn, particularly for English speakers. However, with the increasing popularity of K-pop and Korean dramas, more and more people are becoming interested in studying the language. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Korean may be perceived as difficult, as well as some tips and resources to make the learning process easier.

Korean Writing System

One reason why Korean may be difficult for English speakers to learn is because of its unique writing system. Unlike English, which uses the Latin alphabet, Korean uses a system called Hangul. Hangul consists of 24 letters, which can be combined to form syllable blocks. While it may seem daunting at first, many people find that Hangul is actually quite easy to learn once they get the hang of it.


Another challenge of studying Korean is mastering its pronunciation. Korean has several sounds that don’t exist in English, such as the “ㅊ” and “ㅋ” sounds. Additionally, some sounds are pronounced differently depending on their position in a word. However, with practice and guidance from a teacher or language exchange partner, these challenges can be overcome.


Korean grammar is another aspect that may be challenging for English speakers. Korean has a subject-object-verb word order, which is different from English’s subject-verb-object order. Additionally, Korean has many honorifics and polite forms of speech that must be learned in order to communicate effectively.


Learning vocabulary is an essential part of studying any language, and Korean is no exception. However, one challenge of learning Korean vocabulary is that many words have multiple meanings depending on context. This means that it’s important to not only memorize words, but also practice using them in sentences to fully understand their meanings.

Idioms and Expressions

Korean has many idioms and expressions that may be difficult for non-native speakers to understand. For example, the expression “고진감래” (gojin gamrae) literally means “bitterness and sweetness”, but is used to describe the feeling of overcoming a difficult situation. Becoming familiar with these expressions can help learners better understand Korean culture and communicate more effectively.

Cultural Differences

Language and culture are intertwined, so it’s important for Korean language learners to also learn about Korean culture. For example, Korean culture places a strong emphasis on respect and hierarchy, which is reflected in the language’s honorifics system. Understanding cultural differences can help learners communicate more effectively and avoid misunderstandings.

Resources for Learning Korean

Fortunately, there are many resources available for those interested in learning Korean. Language exchange programs, online courses, textbooks, and language apps are just a few examples. It’s important to find a method that works best for you and to practice consistently in order to make progress.

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the most important things when learning any language is practice. Consistent practice will help learners become more comfortable with the language and improve their skills over time. This can include speaking with native speakers, practicing writing, or even watching Korean dramas or listening to K-pop songs.

Benefits of Studying Korean

While studying Korean may be challenging, there are many benefits to learning the language. For one, it can open up opportunities for travel or work in Korea or with Korean companies. Additionally, it can help learners better understand and appreciate Korean culture.


In conclusion, studying Korean may be challenging for English speakers due to its unique writing system, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, idioms, and cultural differences. However, with consistent practice and the right resources, anyone can learn the language. The benefits of learning Korean are numerous, and it’s a language that is becoming increasingly important on the global stage.

Is Korean hard for English speakers?

For English speakers, learning Korean, which has a different writing system and sentence structure, can be difficult. Nevertheless, with the help of appropriate resources and an enjoyable learning approach, it can be made simpler.

What is the hardest thing about learning Korean?

Korean is known to be more challenging to learn than other languages due to a number of factors. Its grammar structure differs significantly from other languages and uses vocabulary that is very different. In addition, there are various nuances to its conjugations and honorifics, making it more complex and difficult to understand.

How many hours a day do you study Korean?

To achieve fluency in Korean, it is advised to dedicate at least one hour daily to studying the language, although everyone’s learning journey will be unique.

Is Korean easy to self study?

One of the advantages of the Korean language is its simplicity, which allows for easy self-learning without the need for a teacher. The Hangul alphabet can be learned within a few hours, and because the language is phonetic, it is not as challenging for English speakers to pronounce compared to Chinese or Vietnamese, which have multiple accents to master. This was shared on June 23, 2017.

How hard is it for an American to learn Korean?

According to the FSI, Korean is a Category V language, which means it is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn. It is estimated to take 2200 hours of study or 88 weeks of intense studying to reach fluency in Korean.

Which is harder Korean or Japanese?

When you compare Korean and Japanese languages, you will find that both are similarly difficult to learn. Korean has complex writing systems, while Japanese has a complex alphabet with 40 characters that makes it easier to create and understand sentences. This is because the writing system is simpler.

Furthermore, learning Korean can also improve cognitive function and brain development. Studies have shown that bilingualism can enhance cognitive control and memory retention, and learning Korean can provide an excellent opportunity to exercise these cognitive abilities.

In addition to cognitive benefits, learning Korean can also be a fun and rewarding experience. Korean culture has become increasingly popular worldwide, with Korean dramas, K-pop music, and food gaining a dedicated following. By learning Korean, learners can better appreciate and understand the cultural phenomena that have captivated audiences around the world.

Lastly, with the rise of South Korea as a major economic power and global leader in technology and entertainment, knowing Korean can provide a significant advantage in the job market. Many international companies are seeking employees who are proficient in Korean to expand their business operations in South Korea and other parts of Asia.

In conclusion, while learning Korean may present some challenges for English speakers, it is a rewarding and valuable experience that can provide many benefits. With consistent practice and dedication, learners can develop their skills in the language and gain a deeper appreciation for Korean culture.

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