I'm planning to attend a weekly course for Korean starting on Thursday 27 April. I have about one or two months before the course starts (I'm doing a Russian course for one more month, but I could drop it if having two months of study before the Korean course starts is beneficial)

My goals for Korean are fairly basic: to be able to read out loud written text (at least that written in print), learn a few phrases, and some vocabulary.

What can I do in the weeks before starting the course that will not be rendered redundant during the course, nor actively cause me confusion while I'm doing the course, nor cause me to obtain bad habits?

I'm open to taking private lessons, or purchasing learning resources, and I have some commute time where I can use my iPhone. I'm especially interested in learning enough Korean so that I can start using Anki to enlarge my vocabulary. I could just have private tuition without attending a course, but I like the social aspect of courses.


Honestly, I like to work ahead in basically anything I learn. When I say this, I don't mean something like doing Korean I, learning Korean 2. What I'm trying to say is that, since you have the whole curriculum ahead of you, try picking off some of the basic points out or get a head start on something you find that might be very time-consuming. From your link, you will be learning:

  • understand the Korean writing system and Korean culture
  • recognise the Han-geul letters and say the alphabet
  • recognise and identify consonants and vowels
  • greet others and introduce yourself
  • say the words for common nationalities and professions
  • ask the name of things in the classroom and other common objects
  • order food and drinks in a bar or restaurant
  • count and use numbers in everyday situations
  • read and write Sino numbers and Korean native numbers
  • talk about the location of a person or a place
  • ask for and tell the time, date, days and months
  • ask what and where questions
  • ask for and give phone numbers
  • interact in a simple way using basic sentences acquired from learning the basic gram

Let's say, counting goes really easy for you (the ninth bullet). So, try getting a course online or anything really that will teach the basics of counting Korean native numbers and Sino numbers. After a few seconds of Googling, I have found this very interesting link that should suffice for Sino numbers.

For the next example, let's assume that you really struggle at grammar and writing in general. Thus, you should try to learn the alphabet and identify the consonants and vowels (second and third bullets) ahead of time. This link could work but more extensive Googling is required.

The above two are simply examples. Overall, just learn what you think is really easy so you get a rough idea of how to do it and polish it off during the course or get a head start on what you think is difficult so everything begins to make sense as you begin that section of the course.


I would focus on anything that cannot go wrong and produce bad habits. With Korean, focus on pronunciation: minimal pairs (the dreaded soft-tense-aspirated triads), listening to vocabulary (Anki has decks with audio but no writing so you really listen).


If you live in a diverse area, do all your grocery shopping at K-Mart, attend church services in Korean and listen exclusively to K Pop. This will make learning the language all the more meaningful and give you a sense of urgency to learn it. That's how I started learning Mandarin.

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