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January 12, 2012

My Favorite Free Tools for Learning Hangul

Today I’m going to start reviewing some of the great websites I’ve found for students of the Korean language. For those of you who don’t know, Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is a relatively recent development, at least in Korean terms. It was developed in the 15th century – Korea is a very old civilization!

Inevitably, considering the geography and history of conquest, spoken Korean uses many words of Chinese origin. Until Hangul was invented, Chinese characters were used, and in fact, continued to be used by the educated classes until the 20th century. However, Korean is from a distinct language group. In fact, linguists aren’t quite sure where it originated – personally, I think it sounds like a cross between French, Scandinavian languages, and Klingon.

Luckily for non-Asian Korean-learners, Hangul is now the standard form of Korean writing in most contexts. Like the English alphabet, Hangul is phonetic, so you can learn the jamo (letters) and start sounding out words in a reasonable amount of time.

Learn to read, write and pronounce Korean – This is my favorite site for learning Hangul. As each group of letters is introduced, there is a list of English words spelled in Hangul for students to figure out. This process helped me remember the letters far more effectively and entertainingly than flash cards (and since many of the words were international locations, refreshed my geography as well!). Alas, it is unfinished, so you will need to find another site to complete the alphabet. I’d love to credit the author (who has several other language websites), but s/he is too modest to identify him/herself on the website.

More tools coming up in my next post!

5 comments to My Favorite Free Tools for Learning Hangul

  • Coop Choop

    The recommended website is really good. However, I also think it was left unfinished on purpose in order to receive donations. It has been untouched since 2013.

    • That’s a little harsh. I’m grateful that person got as far as they did – I really liked that approach and haven’t seen it anywhere else. It takes a lot of time to put together something like that, more than you would think if you are not a writer. There are projects all over the internet that got off to a good start but never saw completion when time became less available and priorities changed (see my Damo recaps, and, more soberly, the Thundie’s Prattle blog). Trust me, no one is getting rich off of a PayPal link.

      • Coop Choop

        Sorry, I should have been more thorough. I still think that the website it GREAT and they did a great job. But I thought the last lesson implied that he might finish it if he got a lot of donations (I quote: “If you’d like to see the rest of the lessons appear quickly, please consider supporting the site”), which I believe will not happen at she point since it has been so long.

        That being said, what IS there is very helpful, and worth donating on that material alone. What I was trying to say is that I don’t think donations will bring the last lesson to completion.

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