A Comprehensive Guide on How to Learn Korean From Scratch

Embarking on the exciting journey of learning a new language is a venture filled with curiosity, challenges, and the promise of cultural exploration. If you've set your sights on mastering the elegant and dynamic Korean language, you've arrived at the right place. Welcome to "A Comprehensive Guide on How to Learn Korean From Scratch," where we'll navigate the intricacies of 한국어 (Hangugeo) together. Whether you're a language enthusiast, a K-drama fanatic, or someone captivated by the beauty of Korean culture, this guide is crafted to be your companion from the initial steps of understanding Hangeul to achieving fluency in everyday conversations.

Join us as we unravel the layers of Korean language learning, providing practical insights, tips, and a roadmap to guide you through this enriching linguistic journey. Let's dive into the world of Korean language acquisition and unlock the doors to a new realm of expression and connection.

1. Hangeul (Korean Alphabet)

Embarking on your Korean language journey is an exciting endeavor, and a crucial first step is to acquaint yourself with Hangeul, the beautifully crafted Korean script. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of Hangeul, guiding you through the process of learning its characters, understanding vowels and consonants, and mastering the art of writing and pronunciation.

a) Understanding the Essence of Hangeul: The Korean Script Unveiled

Learn the Characters of Hangeul:
Hangeul is a unique script with a fascinating history. The characters, known as "jamo," are grouped into consonants (자음 - jaeum) and vowels (모음 - moeum). Begin by familiarizing yourself with each character, recognizing their distinct shapes and sounds.

Understand the Basic Vowels and Consonants:
Delve into the foundation of Hangeul by understanding the basic vowels and consonants. Unlike many other scripts, Hangeul is a phonetic script, meaning each character represents a sound. Recognize the unique shapes of vowels and consonants and understand how they combine to create syllables.

Practice Writing and Pronouncing Hangeul Characters:
Transforming theoretical knowledge into practical skill involves hands-on practice. Engage in writing exercises that guide you through the proper stroke order for each character. Pronunciation is equally crucial, so utilize resources that provide audio examples to refine your accent and intonation.

b) The Dance of Vowels and Consonants: Unlocking the Melody of Hangeul

The Harmony of Vowels:
Mastering Korean vowels is akin to learning musical notes. There are ten basic vowels, each contributing a unique sound to the language. Practice the correct pronunciation of vowels like 아 (a), 이 (i), and 우 (u) to form the melodic foundation of your Korean language skills.

The Rhythm of Consonants:
Consonants in Hangeul add the rhythm to the melody. There are fourteen basic consonants, each with its own distinct sound. Dive into characters like ㄱ (g/k), ㄴ (n), and ㅁ (m), understanding their pronunciation and how they interact with vowels to form syllables.

Navigating Syllables:
The beauty of Hangeul lies in its modular structure. Syllables are formed by combining one consonant and one vowel. Practice constructing syllables such as 가 (ga), 나 (na), and 다 (da), gradually building the vocabulary that will become the cornerstone of your Korean language skills.

c) Crafting Your Hangeul Masterpiece: Writing and Pronunciation Exercises

Writing Hangeul Characters:
Begin your writing journey by focusing on individual characters. Start with vowels and simple consonants. Pay attention to stroke order, as it influences the visual appearance of the characters. Progress to more complex combinations, refining your writing skills.

Pronouncing Hangeul Characters:
Effective communication in Korean requires accurate pronunciation. Leverage online resources, language learning apps, and pronunciation guides to fine-tune your ability to articulate Hangeul sounds. Mimic native speakers, and record yourself to identify areas for improvement.

Interactive Learning Platforms:
Engage with platforms that offer interactive writing and pronunciation exercises. Apps like Falou provide hands-on experiences that reinforce your understanding of Hangeul characters.

d) Embracing the Melody of Hangeul: A Harmonious Journey Awaits

Mastering Hangeul is not just about learning characters; it's about embracing the melody and rhythm of the Korean language. Regular practice, coupled with interactive learning, will empower you to navigate the intricacies of Hangeul with confidence. As you embark on this linguistic adventure, remember that every stroke and syllable brings you closer to fluency in 한국어 (Hangugeo). Happy learning!

2. Basic Greetings and Expressions

Embarking on a journey to learn a new language involves more than just acquiring words—it's about understanding the cultural nuances that shape communication. In the realm of Korean language, mastering basic greetings and polite expressions is akin to opening a door to meaningful interactions. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the intricacies of common greetings, expressions of gratitude, and apologies, providing practical insights for students navigating the social waters of 한국어 (Hangugeo).

a) The Art of Greeting in Korean: Breaking Down the Basics

Mastering Common Greetings: 안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo) and 안녕 (Annyeong)
Korean greetings are not just words; they are expressions that convey respect and friendliness. "안녕하세요" (Annyeonghaseyo) is the standard, polite way to say hello, suitable for various situations. For a more casual setting, "안녕" (Annyeong) is an informal and friendly greeting. Practice these greetings until they become second nature, setting the tone for your interactions.

Context Matters: When to Use Formal and Informal Greetings
Understanding the context in which you use formal or informal greetings is crucial. In professional or unfamiliar settings, opt for the formal "안녕하세요." In casual environments with friends or peers, "안녕" is perfectly suitable. Striking the right balance shows cultural awareness and respect for social norms.

b) Expressions of Gratitude: 감사합니다 (Kamsahamnida)

Unlocking the Power of 감사합니다 (Kamsahamnida)
"감사합니다" (Kamsahamnida) is the key to expressing gratitude in Korean. Whether someone has helped you, offered a kind gesture, or provided assistance, this phrase is your go-to expression of thanks. Practice saying it with sincerity and a slight bow for a more culturally nuanced delivery.

Politeness in Action: Adding Formality with Honorifics
In Korean culture, demonstrating respect is paramount. When expressing gratitude to someone older or in a higher position, consider adding honorifics. For example, "감사합니다" can be elevated to "감사합니다, 선생님" (Kamsahamnida, Seonsaengnim) when addressing a teacher.

c) Navigating Apologies: 죄송합니다 (Joesonghamnida)

The Gentle Art of Apologizing in Korean: 죄송합니다 (Joesonghamnida)
Mistakes are part of the learning process, and when they happen, a sincere apology is invaluable. "죄송합니다" (Joesonghamnida) is the standard way to say sorry or excuse me. Understand the weight of this phrase and use it with humility and sincerity.

Clarifying Intent: When and How to Use Apologies
While "죄송합니다" is a versatile apology, the context matters. Use it when you genuinely feel remorse or when you need to excuse yourself in a formal setting. In more casual situations, a simpler "미안해요" (Mianhaeyo) can suffice.

d) Practical Tips for Language Learners: Bringing It All Together

Cultural Immersion: Embrace Real-Life Scenarios
Practice your greetings and expressions in real-life scenarios. Engage in language exchange, join language meetups, or even converse with native speakers online. This immersive approach allows you to refine your pronunciation and observe cultural nuances.

Consistency is Key: Make Greetings a Daily Habit
Integrate greetings and expressions into your daily routine. Greet your language exchange partners, use polite expressions in emails or messages, and apologize when necessary. Consistency builds confidence and reinforces your language skills.

Utilize Language Learning Apps: Interactive Learning on the Go
Take advantage of language learning apps that focus on greetings and expressions. Apps like Falou provide opportunities to practice with native speakers and receive feedback. Use flashcards, quizzes, and interactive exercises to reinforce what you've learned.

3. Introduction and Self-Expression

Learning a new language involves not only understanding grammar and vocabulary but also navigating the intricacies of human interaction. In the realm of 한국어 (Hangugeo), the ability to introduce yourself and discuss personal details is a vital aspect of effective communication. This comprehensive guide will take you through the art of self-expression in Korean, covering self-introduction sentences, discussing your name, nationality, and occupation, and providing insights into asking and answering questions about personal details.

a) Breaking the Ice: The Essence of Self-Introduction in Korean

Forming Simple Self-Introduction Sentences:
Introducing yourself is the first step in any conversation. In Korean, this involves crafting sentences that convey essential information about who you are. Start with the basics: "제 이름은 [Your Name]이에요" (Je ireumeun [Your Name]-ieyo) means "My name is [Your Name]." Follow this structure to introduce your nationality and occupation as well, creating a foundation for deeper conversations.

Navigating Cultural Nuances: Honoring Formality in Introductions
Korean culture places significant emphasis on respect and formality. When introducing yourself, consider using the formal suffix "-세요" (-seyo) to convey politeness. For example, "안녕하세요, 제 이름은 [Your Name]이에요" (Annyeonghaseyo, je ireumeun [Your Name]-ieyo) is a courteous and standard way to say, "Hello, my name is [Your Name]."

b) Unraveling Personal Details: Asking and Answering Questions

Learning How to Ask Questions:
To deepen your interactions, learn how to ask questions about personal details. Basic questions about name, nationality, and occupation often start with "뭐" (mwo), meaning "what." For example, "뭐에요?" (Mwoeyo?) is "What is it?" or more contextually, "What is your name?"

Crafting Responses: Answering Questions with Clarity
When responding to questions, clarity is key. Provide concise and accurate answers. For instance, "제 이름은 [Your Name]이에요" (Je ireumeun [Your Name]-ieyo) is a straightforward response to the question "What is your name?" Practice crafting responses that seamlessly integrate personal details.

c) Delving Deeper: Additional Tips for Effective Self-Expression

Expanding Your Vocabulary: Include Additional Details in Your Introduction
To make your self-introduction richer, consider expanding your vocabulary. Learn words related to your interests, hobbies, or where you live. For example, "저는 [Your Interest/Hobby] 좋아해요" (Jeoneun [Your Interest/Hobby] johahaeyo) means "I like [Your Interest/Hobby]."

Politeness Matters: Use Honorifics Appropriately
When discussing personal details, especially in professional or formal settings, incorporating honorifics is a sign of respect. Addressing someone with "-님" (-nim), a honorific suffix, adds a layer of formality. For instance, "교수님, 제 이름은 [Your Name]입니다" (Gyosunim, je ireumeun [Your Name]imnida) is a polite way to say, "Professor, my name is [Your Name]."

d) Practical Strategies for Improvement: Elevating Your Self-Expression Skills

Language Exchange: Practice with Native Speakers
Engage in language exchange to practice self-introductions with native Korean speakers. Role-Playing: Simulate Real-Life Scenarios

Simulate real-life scenarios through role-playing. Enlist the help of language exchange partners, friends, or even practice in front of a mirror. This practical exercise enhances your confidence and fluency in self-expression. Language Apps and Flashcards: Reinforce Your Vocabulary

Reinforce your vocabulary through language learning apps and flashcards. Include phrases related to self-introduction and personal details. Apps like Falou offer customizable flashcards that cater to your specific learning needs.

4. Numbers and Counting:

Embarking on a journey to learn Korean involves not only grasping the intricacies of grammar and vocabulary but also delving into the world of numbers. From expressing age and discussing time to navigating quantities, understanding the Korean numbering system is a crucial aspect of language proficiency. This comprehensive guide will lead you through the fundamentals of Korean numbers, offering practical insights into counting from 1 to 100 and beyond, and applying this knowledge to convey age, time, and quantities in everyday conversations.

a) Demystifying the Korean Numbering System: A Foundation for Fluency

Understanding Korean Numerals:
The Korean numbering system consists of two sets: native Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers. Native Korean numbers are used for counting items, while Sino-Korean numbers are employed for age, time, and larger quantities. Familiarize yourself with both sets to navigate various contexts seamlessly.

Native Korean Numbers (1-10):
1: 하나 (hana)
2: 둘 (dul)
3: 셋 (set)
4: 넷 (net)
5: 다섯 (daseot)
6: 여섯 (yeoseot)
7: 일곱 (ilgop)
8: 여덟 (yeodeol)
9: 아홉 (ahop)
10: 열 (yeol)

Sino-Korean Numbers (1-10):
1: 일 (il)
2: 이 (i)
3: 삼 (sam)
4: 사 (sa)
5: 오 (o)
6: 육 (yuk)
7: 칠 (chil)
8: 팔 (pal)
9: 구 (gu)
10: 십 (sip)

b) Counting Mastery: From 1 to 100 and Beyond

Learn the multiples of 10: 10 (열), 20 (스물), 30 (서른), ..., 90 (아흔). Combine multiples of 10 with native Korean numbers from 1 to 9.
11: 열하나 (yeolhana)
21: 스물하나 (seumulhana)
37: 서른일곱 (seoreunilgop)
49: 마흔아홉 (maheunahop)
68: 여든여섯 (yeodeunyeoseot)
100: 백 (baek)

Beyond 100: Expanding Your Counting Horizon
As you progress, apply the same principles for counting beyond 100. Understand the pattern of combining hundreds (백), tens (십), and units (native Korean numbers). For example, 253 is 이백오십삼 (ibaeosipsam).

c) Expressing Age, Time, and Quantities: Practical Applications

Conveying Age: Navigating Time
Use Sino-Korean numbers to express age. For instance, "I am 25 years old" is "스물다섯 살이에요" (Seumuldaseot salieyo). Discussing time involves using both native Korean and Sino-Korean numbers. "2 o'clock" is "이 시" (i si), while "2:30" is "이 시 반" (i si ban).

Quantifying Items: A Guide to Counting Objects
Use native Korean numbers for counting items. For example, "three books" is "책 세 권" (chaek se gwon). Sino-Korean numbers are appropriate for counting age, minutes, and larger quantities.

d) Strategies for Mastery: Elevating Your Numerical Proficiency

Daily Practice: Integrate Numbers into Your Routine
Incorporate numbers into your daily routine. Count everyday items, practice expressing the time, and convey quantities in Korean. Consistent practice builds a strong foundation.

Language Apps and Flashcards: Reinforce Your Numerical Skills
Utilize language learning apps and flashcards specifically designed for numbers. Apps like Falou offer interactive exercises to reinforce your numerical proficiency.

Engage in Conversations: Apply Numerical Knowledge Actively
Participate in language exchange conversations to actively apply your numerical knowledge. Discuss age, arrange meetings using time expressions, and quantify items in conversations to strengthen your skills.

5. Basic Vocabulary and Nouns:

Embarking on a journey to learn Korean involves not only mastering grammar rules and sentence structures but also building a strong foundation of vocabulary. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the world of basic Korean vocabulary and nouns, focusing on common words related to everyday life. From family members and food to colors, we'll delve into practical strategies to build your vocabulary and effectively integrate these words into simple sentences, laying the groundwork for meaningful communication in 한국어 (Hangugeo).

a) Essential Building Blocks: Common Nouns in Everyday Life

Family Members: Creating Bonds through Language
Family (가족 - gajok): Begin by learning the word for family, as it forms the basis for discussing relationships.
Mother (엄마 - eomma): The universal term for mom.
Father (아빠 - appa): The equivalent for dad.
Siblings (형제자매 - hyeongjejaemae): A collective term for brothers and sisters.

Food: Savoring Korean Culinary Delights
Rice (밥 - bap): A staple in Korean cuisine.
Kimchi (김치 - kimchi): Iconic fermented vegetables, a staple side dish.
Bibimbap (비빔밥 - bibimbap): A delicious mixed rice dish with various vegetables and toppings.
Ramyeon (라면 - ramyeon): Instant noodles, a quick and popular meal.

Colors: Adding Vibrancy to Your Vocabulary
Red (빨강 - ppalgang): A vibrant color often associated with passion.
Blue (파랑 - parang): A calming color prevalent in nature.
Yellow (노랑 - norang): A bright color symbolizing positivity.
Green (초록 - chorok): A color associated with nature and freshness.

b) Practical Strategies for Vocabulary Acquisition

Learning through Association: Connect Words to Images
Associate each word with mental images or real-life objects. For example, visualize a family while learning 가족 (gajok) or picture a bowl of rice for 밥 (bap).

Flashcards and Mnemonics: Reinforce Memory
Create flashcards with the Korean word on one side and an image or English translation on the other. Use mnemonic devices to associate sounds and meanings, making the learning process more engaging.

Themed Learning: Focus on Specific Categories
Organize your learning around specific themes, such as family, food, or colors. This targeted approach allows for deeper immersion and retention of related vocabulary.

c) Building Sentences: Practical Application of Vocabulary

Constructing Simple Sentences: Applying Your Knowledge
"우리 가족은 다섯 명이에요." (Uri gajogeun daseot myeongieyo): "Our family has five members."
"엄마는 맛있는 음식을 만들어요." (Eomma-neun masitneun eumsigeul mandeureoyo): "Mom cooks delicious food."
"하늘은 파랗고 풀은 초록해요." (Haneureun paraggo pureun chorokhaeyo): "The sky is blue, and the grass is green."

Daily Practice: Incorporating Vocabulary into Conversations
Integrate these words into your daily conversations. Describe what you ate for lunch, discuss the colors of your surroundings, or share information about your family. Practice makes perfect.

6. Basic Sentence Structure and Grammar:

Embarking on a journey to learn Korean involves not only acquiring a rich vocabulary but also mastering the art of constructing sentences. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the basics of Korean sentence structure and grammar. From understanding the foundational Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) structure to grasping essential grammar particles like 은/는 (eun/neun) and 이/가 (i/ga), we'll guide you through forming basic sentences using verbs and adjectives, laying the groundwork for fluent and expressive communication in 한국어 (Hangugeo).

a) Cracking the Code: The Essence of SOV Sentence Structure

Subject-Object-Verb (SOV): Decoding Korean Sentences
Subject (주어 - joo-eo): The "who" or "what" of the sentence.
Object (목적어 - mokjeogeo): The entity receiving the action.
Verb (동사 - dongsaa): The action or state of being.

Example: "I eat an apple" translates to "나는 사과를 먹어요" (Naneun sagwareul meogeoyo).
In this example:
나는 (Naneun): Subject (I)
사과를 (Sagwareul): Object (apple)
먹어요 (Meogeoyo): Verb (eat)

b) Navigating Grammar Particles: 은/는 (eun/neun) and 이/가 (i/ga)

은/는 (eun/neun): Topic and Subject Markers
은 (eun) or 는 (neun): Used to indicate the topic or subject of the sentence.
Example: "I like coffee" translates to "나는 커피를 좋아해요" (Naneun keopi-reul johahaeyo).
In this example:
나는 (Naneun) marks "I" as the subject.
이/가 (i/ga): Subject Markers
이 (i) or 가 (ga): Used to indicate the subject of the sentence.

Example: "The cat is cute" translates to "고양이가 귀여워요" (Goyangi-ga gwiyeowoyo).
In this example, 고양이가 (Goyangi-ga) marks "the cat" as the subject.

c) Constructing Basic Sentences: Using Verbs and Adjectives

Using Verbs: Conveying Actions
동사 (Dongsaa): Verbs express actions or states of being.
Example: "I study Korean" translates to "나는 한국어를 공부해요" (Naneun Hangugeo-reul gongbuhayo).
In this example, 공부해요 (gongbuhayo) means "study."

Using Adjectives: Describing Nouns
형용사 (Hyeongyongsa): Adjectives describe qualities of nouns.
Example: "The movie is interesting" translates to "영화가 재미있어요" (Yeonghwaga jaemiisseoyo).
In this example, 재미있어요 (jaemiisseoyo) means "interesting."

d) Practical Strategies for Grammar Mastery

Pattern Recognition: Identify Common Sentence Structures
Study various sentence patterns in Korean. Recognize how subjects, objects, and verbs interact in different contexts. Common patterns include "Subject-Object-Verb," "Subject-Adjective-Noun," and "Subject-Verb-Adjective."

Sentence Formulation Practice: Create Your Own Sentences
Apply your knowledge by creating your own sentences. Start with simple sentences and gradually incorporate more complexity. This hands-on practice enhances your understanding of sentence structure and grammar.

Media Consumption: Learn from Authentic Content
Watch Korean dramas, movies, or listen to Korean music to expose yourself to authentic sentence structures. Pay attention to how native speakers construct sentences in various situations.


Congratulations on completing this comprehensive guide on learning Korean from scratch! You're now equipped with the essential knowledge to kickstart your language journey.

As you begin this exciting endeavor, use the Falou app to enhance your learning experience. Its user-friendly interface and interactive features make it an excellent companion on your path to mastering Korean.

Remember, consistency is key. Embrace the challenges, celebrate your progress, and enjoy the journey. Best of luck, and 화이팅 (Hwaiting)!

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