Listening Tips

Have you experienced this:
you listen to a Korean sentence, you can not understand it, you think it’s beyond your comprehension level, but when you see the script, it’s actually a very simple sentence? And then you realize, Koreans don’t read hangul the way you think they would.

Still happens to me.

But I’m getting better.

Here’s a few tips. Listening is easier if the process goes like this:

1. you hear the spoken Korean,

2. change it into hangul in your head → you need to be able to think in hangul to do this, thinking in romanization slows you down

3. you understand the meaning.

It’s not easy. It takes time. Get a textbook with audio CD to train yourself. Or two. Or five. (I’m not going to advice you to make Korean friends, because after 2 years of learning Korean, I still don’t have any myself. ㅋㅋㅋ)

The ability to think in hangul comes naturally after hours of learning Korean so don’t worry about it. No need to force yourself to think in hangul, if you still hear Korean in romanization. Just keep learning. You’ll get there. Just know that you’ll need to be able to hear things in hangul.

Oh, I still remember the excitement when I caught the word “반갑다” from the drama “Winter Sonata”. I was like,”She said 반갑다! I know that word. I just read it in my phrasebook. Woohoo. I know Korean.” This was when I first started learning Korean 2 years ago. I had fun even though that’s the only word I understood from the whole 20 episodes. ㅋㅋㅋ ###


4 thoughts on “Listening Tips

  1. This is so very true! I find when listening the need to instantly translate from Korean to English, makes me miss the Korean. Which if I listen to it without Korean and let the words flow into my head I understand more. At least for me, wanting to translate kills my listening because I try to do them both at the same time. I remember recognizing words in my first drama too, it was such an exciting feeling. ㅋㅋ


    • Thank you for commenting. I don’t think I wrote anything about translating… Maybe my brain doesn’t work like your brain ㅋㅋ because at first, I couldn’t understand Korean sentences if I don’t translate them into Japanese. And the aha moment came slowly for me. Now I can understand Korean without translating, but only after many hours of learning.


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