Korean for English speakers now in Beta!
안녕하세요! The Korean course for English speakers has been built, alpha tested, and now you can finally beta test it! Thanks to the efforts of another amazing team of contributors, the course is now available on iOS and Android. Join me in thanking the Korean contributors Soedori, niskigwun, Ash-Fred, ferejang, and HyowonKwon, as well as all past contributors and alpha testers for their great work in building this course!
Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about learning Korean:
According to the Foreign Service Institute, Korean is classified as one of the most difficult languages for English speakers, along with Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic. Some of the factors that make Korean difficult to learn include its relatively flexible word order (which is very different from English), its own unique writing system called Hangul, and the complex honorific systems. But don’t let that discourage you! Our Duolingo Korean course teaches all of these elements in a fun and effective way.
As mentioned above, Korean uses a writing system called Hangul. Although they look pretty complicated at first glance, Hangul characters are designed very logically and you can learn how to read and write most of them in a matter of days, if not hours. Duolingo’s Korean course uses a set of exercises dedicated to teaching you those characters effectively.
Whether you are into K-POP or not, pop culture is an important aspect of the Korean culture, and we have that covered, too! We have a special set of bonus lessons that teach you Korean Wave (a.k.a. Hallyu), idols, fans, etc. There is also another set of lessons dedicated to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. If you are a big sports fan, get yourself prepared for the games by learning how to say words like snowboard, figure skating, and gold medals in Korean!
Download the latest version of the Duolingo app on your preferred platform and let us know what you think. And if you have interesting things to share about Korean language and culture, or other great reasons to learn this language, do not hesitate to share with us. :)
Unfortunately sentence order is one area where I've found this beta course slightly lacking (which is to be expected really, based on every other new course I've tried)
The OP here mentions its flexibility in Korean, which is correct, but the acceptable answers thus far in the course are quite rigidly defined. It can be very tricky to know what the app wants from you!
And this is me speaking as a low-intermediate Korean speaker; I bet it would be much much harder as a total beginner, so well done on working that out & getting to level 6 already
That's true, I didn't understand when they started to give me the sentences already without me learning them until I went online and read the tips and notes. I think they should add that to the mobile version somehow. Or at least have something before you start the lesson if you want, teaching you the lesson so once you get to the actual exercises it's not that new to you.
If you don't feel like waiting, maybe give an Android emulator a try? I've never used one, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
Here's a list, if you're interested: http://www.androidauthority.com/best-android-emulators-for-pc-655308/
Thank you soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo muuuuch !
Quite a number of months ago, due to this course developing, I also did a bit of learning in Korean.
And I was entranced by the history and the logic I found behind Hangul !
It has some great and simple ideas that has enriched the understanding I have of language.
The attention also to detail that I have observed in my limited capacity, including the quality control measures that the rigor of this team has applied, has greatly impressed me.
It is so wonderful to see it now reach this milestone as well !
팀 모두에게 축하를 보냅니다!
It's shocking how much of an amazing course is made in only a matter of months! I've also learned a bit of Korean in the past, and I love the way the language sound when it's spoken (the writing system is great also). The course also appears very detailed and as you stated, it's simply extraordinary that users are now able to learn Korean with Duolingo!
Well, my first impression after just twenty minutes (first two skills) of Korean is.....well, I didn't find it (Hangul) particularly easy (I had read it was an extremely easy and logical script), but then again it is just my first twenty minutes, I guess I will get used to it soon (now I don't remember how long it took me to get used to Hiragana and Katakana in the Japanese course, but maybe it took up to one entire week or more, I just don't remember now, because I started Japanese several weeks ago).
Read the notes repository post on the Alphabet. It can be found here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24352980
It is actually incredibly easy, but because of how Duolingo created the card practice (originally for Kana) the letters had to be grouped up into blocks for the exercises. Making it seem harder than it actually is.
It helps if you get the hangul table in front of you. They you can see how each letter is pronounced, and how they go together in syllable blocks. If you've already been doing the Japanese course, then the sounds are nearly all the same - the good news is that you only have to learn one alphabet. It's unfortunate that they couldn't start off with lessons on each individual letter, before they jumped in to syllable sound combinations.
The good news is that it really is easy to learn hangul. I taught myself to read hangul twenty years ago in about a week. I didn't learn to speak Korean until about 5 years later. So I spent five years being able to read something out loud without having a clue what I was actually reading.
Genuinely my advice is to use some other way entirely to memorise hangul - in my case I literally just went to to the Wiki page for Hangul, tried to read Korean shop signs on Google Maps, wrote random words down in a notebook - and then get the first 3 steps of the Duo course out the way as quick as you can.
Everything thereafter is worth going the Duolingo route, but I feel the alphabet is just made harder than it needs to be by this format. Not the course developers' fault, it's just the nature of Duolingo vs. other methods. Conversely I found the Duo method alright for learning hiragana, not sure why it's so different.
I think this is good news. I will, however, wait till this is released on Desktop before diving in. From using DuoLingo for other languages, including Spanish, German, and Portuguese, all of which I've completed, I've found that the Desktop version is far superior and is a much more efficient way for me to use my time.
I would love to see this released for Desktop soon, and would be glad to dive in and try this when it's ready.
I was an alpha tester for this course. I thought it was gonna be easier for me than a European language speaker since my mother tongue Turkish is agglutinative but I was totally wrong. Course is amazing but definitely needs tips and notes or you should use mobile application with a supportive grammer material.
Thanks to all team
Thank YOU Dr. Hagiwara on behalf of the Korean team for all the help for the course.
The audio is mostly fine, I think it has a bit of trouble with U and O sounds at times. Generally best to assume that the real sound of ㅜ or ㅗ is a bit stronger (like 'oo' or 'aww') than the recording
Also there are some instances where the computer will read two character blocks as if they were in isolation, when the real pronunciation would blend the two together. I don't know if there's any way of getting around this problem, really.
Example of this from the numbers lesson, just to clarify what I mean:
16 is 십육 which to the eye looks like 'ship-yuk,' and that's exactly how the TTS reads it out. The real life pronunciation is different though, because of how ㅂ in the final position relates to 유 at the start of the next block; it's actually said as 'shim-nyuk'
Only a human recording could really appreciate this so, as I said, I don't think they can really do much about it for now. Just something to bear in mind though, you may hear Koreans IRL say certain things quite differently to what you listen to here.
Will you do us the favor of adding this? https://www.howtostudykorean.com/unit0/unit0lesson1/ I think it will be a bit help in Korean grammar.
Congrats to all on getting this done :) the course looks good, just a few critiques;
1) plenty of questions need more/different acceptable answers adding, and some odd grammatical things ironing out, but I think this is totally normal for new courses
2) I don't feel this is the best format for learning hangeul, but I'm not sure there's much you could do differently within Duolingo's parameters
3) as with the reverse course, I definitely think the lesson ordering is very weird in places. Why are the Sino-Korean numbers in the third section (long after the pure Korean ones!! Which are much harder) when they're some of the easiest & most important things to know? Why is all of future tense still right near the end?
Just my thoughts though, maybe other disagree, and besides there is still plenty to like about the course.
Hello, thanks a lot for the course, amazing work! I've been alpha tester as well and I sent a few mails about some things I was concerned but I never had any answers on my feedbacks, so I'm going to repost some of it here :
It is exactly the same sound for ae (애) and e (에). Same thing with we (웨) and oe (외) and also wae (왜). Not sure if it's normal so many syllables sound the same, such as 져 , 자 and 저 or 제 and 재 . had the same situation later with 쎄 and 쌔 , maybe someone could explain us the real difference between all of these please? Also 썌 doesn't really sound like 'ssyae' (we don't hear 'y' at all, but I don't know if we should or if it's just some occidental writing version).
As I read from other users here, I have a request that can concern the whole Duolingo app and even the website. I really miss having some lessons to read, with basically just tiny explanations on how to pronounce things for example. When I discovered 또 , 똣 and 똑 , they obviously sound different for that case, but it seems like you have to pronounce a particular 'note', but we don't really know how to recognise it.
Again another thing like I noticed before and where Duolingo could loose credibility I think... I'm learning to say 'Starbucks' 'McDonald' 'Samsung' 'Hyundai' but I still don't know how to say 'hi' 'please' 'thank you' 'bye' ... And 'Baskin-Robbins'? Really? I'm French and I never heard of it... (I mean, it's even worse to learn how to say a brand I never heard of and I never will unless I go to US). I've been really annoyed and disappointed that I'm learning how to say brands and cities but I still don't know the basics. (Because really, a sentence like 'Washington, New-York, Samsung'...really?! What's the point of it?). What I loved with Duolingo from the first day is that you start with basics such as 'man' 'woman' 'boy' 'girl' 'bread' 'apple' 'orange', and from that you can propose different words depending the culture like 'abacaxi' for Portuguese or 'älgen' in Swedish, like learning how to say 'vin et fromage' in french or 'すし' in Japanese. I'm feeling I'm wasting my time just trying to find the right sounds to match the different brands or even even cities (without understanding anything), and I'm not even able to say simple thing such as 'I'm a boy' 'I drink water'. Anyway, I think you should more concentrate on basics and some logical stuff maybe? I loved the Japanese lesson as we were learning how to count to 5 by learning the Hiragana, it was fun simple and interesting and that's the beauty of learning and that's what I love again in Duolingo.
At the end of the alphabet I finally got to learn some more interesting things, so I get the idea of learning these syllabes like you did but it is a bit clumsy in my opinion. The fact is that now I don’t remember all of them and I’m getting to learn how to say basic things, but I didn’t have good basis. Again like I just said before, I really enjoyed the Japanese lesson where we can regularly learn/practice each syllabes , there’s nothing like this in this Korean course. Also it would be really interesting to be able to pass each syllabe to get the sounds when we click on it.
I'm sorry if I would have been a bit rude here, I didn't mean it, I just don't want to say "wow this is amazing!" without sharing any critics with you. Again you did an amazing work and Korean is clearly one of the most complicated language to learn, as it is a whole different alphabet, different sounds, different philosophy. Thank you for everything you did for us, really, that's awesome.
I'm learning to say 'Starbucks' 'McDonald' 'Samsung' 'Hyundai' but I still don't know how to say 'hi' 'please' 'thank you' 'bye'
I also found that part a bit strange. Was there a specific reason why those loan words were introduced right after alphabet ? In fact, the skill was called Alphabet 3: Loan words, so it made me wonder if there was a special pronunciation skill that I was supposed to grasp from learning loan words but didn't.
Agree wholly with most of this. In terms of the sounds & how they differ in real life, a lot of people (even Koreans) really do say that there's no audible difference between ㅔ and ㅐ.
That always surprised me because I swear there is a small difference...I think the mouth should be slightly more open, or rather your voice should be projecting a little wider (???) for ㅐ. It's less of an outright "eh" sound IMO, but the difference is very small. 외 is another very slight change in that I think you just dwell marginally longer on the 오 sound at the start of it.
As for 썌, the course teaches a few character blocks like this which, to be honest, I've absolutely never seen IRL. Maybe it does exist in practical use (there are hundreds of combinations in hangeul that are possible but don't "exist" if you know what I mean, like they're in zero words)
- The level ordering is something I've mentioned on here as well; I found it really bizarre in the English-from-Korean course & unfortunately I think this one shares the same frustrating issue. I can get behind the idea of teaching loanwords right at the start, just to get you used to the alphabet, but it's very odd that they're just a handful of brand names. Plenty of words like 버스, 택시, 터미널, 에어컨, 샤워 would've been good for that level.
For the life of me I don't know why things like numbers are in the locked sections at the start of the course. Sino-Korean numbers are fantastically easy up to at least 100...then there's things like 'Greetings 2' being in almost the final block of levels. What?!
Hello guys, I was an alpha tester too, and all I can say is that this course is far from finished. As someone who has learned Korean before, I found it quite helpful to brush up on my vocab. However, it was really frustrating to try to guess the correct sentences and to see all those grammar patterns pop up so randomly. I don't see how anyone could learn Korean from scratch through this course on his phone, at least with this structure and without notes, even if you already know Hangeul. As for the (complex) phonetics of the language,ㅔ and ㅐused to be pronounced differently in the past, but that's not the case anymore in most dialects, according to several Korean teachers. I also think it would be better if they put actual Konglish words instead of just brands (I mean, a few Korean brands should be enough), just like they did in the Russian course in order to teach the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.
One thing I can say for them is that they seem to be fixing a lot of the weird inconsistencies very quickly, so hopefully it'll be more up to scratch very soon.
From various Incubator blogs, to be honest, it usually looks like making one of these courses is really excessively tough and thankless. Korean was probably no exception so I do feel for the contributors, frustrating though the course can be.
I can't help but think maybe Duolingo themselves have got to think about how this can all be done more easily in future...nearly every course (besides Japanese??) ends up taking forever to make & seems like no fun to work on.
I'm glad I'm not the only one here who felt it at least, what you said about these sounds similarities are interesting and who definitely need some quick tips/lessons available on the app/website.
I also saw a Hangeul board with all the combinations, which can be really helpful, but to me clearly it would be easier to learn them by seeing each category one by one, like in Japanese when you learn 'i chi' 'ni'. (just had a look at the Korean numbers and indeed it would be so much more efficient and good to start with)
Anyway I hope we could have an answer on all of this sooner or later, I wonder if it's even possible to correct these things now the lesson is out...?
I don't know If I'm the only one having this problem but I can't find the Korean course on the Android app. I deleted the app a while back but reinstalled it when I saw this post. The most recent version is downloaded on my phone but Korean is not an option when I try to add a language to my studied courses.
As much as I am excited to be lesrning Lorean I have found the course very uneven. Not having romanized version makes trying to learn the hangul harder. I believe learning the hangul in smaller blocks, one at a time, would be more fruitful. You only show a gew letters then start all tthese cimbos without teaching all the individuals. Basics is so much harder too. Way way harder especially with no guidance regarding sentence structure or plurals. You learn man and the next lesson has men and one is left to recognize the difference. I feel I am guessing more than learning having to click on more words than not to see options. This is not learning. Obviously much work has been done however after my initial enthusiasm has worn off I see just how much there is left to go for this course to help teach Korean.
For the sang-consonants (ㅃ,ㅉ,ㄸ,ㄲ,ㅆ) the best advice my 선생님 gave me is to imagine how you emphasize the first letter of the word when you curse after hitting your thumb with a hammer ("❤❤❤❤❤❤!") That's the difference between the pronunciation of ㄷ and ㄸ. That same bit of extra emphasis applies to all of those sang-consonants.
I have waited three long years for a Korean course on Duolingo, and been anxiously anticipating the release since the placement into the Incubator. I was chosen as an alpha tester a few weeks back, and I am very pleased to say that the course meets my expectations (and even surpasses them in certain areas)!
Thank you to the contributors for your hard work on a fantastic curriculum, and I look forward to completing the course, and the improvements that you make in the next few months. :)
Congrats, Korean team, on seeing a difficult project through. I am also a "desktop only" user, so will try to be patient. Amongst all the well-deserved accolades were a couple of pieces of great advice.
- Use youtube to learn hangul before attacking the course.. There are several sites that are more effiicent than the 101 site mentioned, Listen to several for a few minutes and choose the one that best suits you. This will jump start your learning experience and give you a leg up on the pronunciation as well. If you are really motivated you can learn the entire hangul alphabet in less than half a day.
- The site "How to Study Korean" is a free site that is great for explaining the basic elements of grammar. If used as a supplement to DL, the need for "notes" becomes unnecessary. (It is also another source for learning hangul)
English actually does have sounds that are very close to the double consonant sounds in Korean, especially when we are excited. Think of excitedly saying "all of a ssudden.", or tauntingly calling someone "Ssucker!" 써커, or trying to imitate the ssizzling sound of your frying pan.
Now imagine a mega-frustration level and say, "But I Ccan't" 깬트or "You ccreep"
Then, try an emphatic Ppissoff! (ㅃ) or "Ddagnabit" (ㄸ) Just tighten up and let it fly. If you always follow along and vocalize what you are learning the Korean sounds will gradually become easier to recognize and to reproduce.
It is now available on desk top. Thank you to the team for all your hard work, and kudos for your attitude to treat the course as a continuing "work in process." I am familiar with Korean, but rather than "testing out" I started with the alphabet to observe teaching methods, and after going through the first 2 levels, wanted to share observations that will hopefully be helpful. It is unfortunate users are required to transcribe Korean sounds with Roman letters, as this actually impairs learning proper pronunciation, but may be necessary in the DL format. I support the opinion expressed by others in previous Forums that it is probably better to learn the alphabet prior to starting the course. (There are several good Youtube sources)
It would be nice to be able to post "corrections/ suggestions" on the lesson pages. Following is a list of issues to be addressed: if 으 is to be transcribed "eu", it seems that 의 should be "eui" rather than "ui"; if 외 is not "oi", then why is 최 "choi"? Several instances of pronunciation are not quite right: 와 (recording does not produce a pure 아 --more like 애 다 (again not a pure 아) 도 (pure 오 sound is not produced) 루 (recording is closer to a 으) It doesn’t seem productive to be asked to spell the same word multiple times in succession – norae, gaemi, ssi, Tokyo. Why not use a few different examples? I was surprised to see so many constructions that do not exist in the Korean language, especially following the question, “What sound does this make?” 츄,끠, 썌, 똬,쨔, and several more exotic letter combinations. It seems counter- productive to introduce non-existent images. There were also several more instances of non-native pronunciation: 루 (again), 표,또, 보,(오 sound needs to be “rounder”) 뽀뽀 should not be “voiced”, and it seemed strange to throw a vocab problem into the alphabet section. I'm not sure this forum is the most appropriate way to present suggestions, and would be happy if you would present an alternative. Please keep in mind that I and many others are thankful for your efforts and hoping you will stay at it
Thank you so much for the app. Does anyone know where is the best place to post general suggestions to improve the app?
Not things that are relevant to individual sentences, but other issues like using 'man' a lot more than 'woman' or discussing how fast the difficult level ramps up at the beginning?
Thank you so much!
J0e0t I have the same question. Until someone gives me a more direct link to the course developers I am using https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24887752 to make suggestions for improving the course. If we all use one particular forum page, hopefully it will be easier for the developers to find our suggestions and respond.
So far I have only posted suggestions for the first 2 units, but hope to post more in the future. They have already addressed one of our earlier requests by adding hangul typing, and are being quite responsive to reports posted on individual lessons.
Korean Team, if there is a more efficient way to contact you, please let us know.
Thank you the Korean team and anyone who has contributed to the release of the course! I had waited for more than three years. But the waiting is worthwhile as it is a most effective way to learn the Korean language as far as I’m concerned. Keep up the great work and look forward to more lessons rolling out!
On my iPhone I can get on the Korean section just fine, but when I switch over to my iPad it can’t load. It says it’s not supported, but my friend can get it on her iPad just fine. Is this normal?