As a child, most of us picked up our first language or mother language by just listening. Before a child begins to speak or even read or write, they learn to listen and comprehend what is being spoken.
But do you wonder how important is listening skills when it comes to learning a new language? Research shows that out of our everyday communication pattern, 45% is spent on just listening, 30% on speaking, 16% on reading, and 9% on writing.
Benefits of Improving Your Korean Listening Skills
- 1. You will be able to understand and communicate better with native Korean speakers on a daily basis or even at school and work.
- 2. If you are good at listening to Korean, chances are you will also be good at other 3 language skills – speaking, reading and writing.
- 3. You will be able to enjoy Korean movies, Korean dramas, and Korean music.
- 4. You will be able to comprehend and understand Korean news, Korean TV show and even Korean podcast which will give you a better understanding of their politics, economy, and society.
Now that you know the benefits of having good Korean listening, it is time to find out the 7 best ways to improve your Korean listening skills.
1. Listen more to authentic Korean native speakers
This tip sounds pretty straight forward and it is! The more you listen to the authentic Korean language, the better your listening skills will be.
If you happen to live in Korea, this will be easy for you. All you will need to do is step out of your house and pay attention to people speaking on buses, shops, streets, and other places.
You can make a couple of Korean friends and listen to them speak and speak to them back on a regular basis.
If you do not have native Korean speakers around you, you can always listen to native Korean speakers on Youtube, Korean dramas or movies.
You can also make some language exchange friends online and converse with them daily for 10-15 minutes via call or video call.
2. Listen to something you enjoy
Just because there are many Korean speaking contents, you do not necessarily need to hear it if it doesn’t interest you in any way.
You do not have to listen to boring news or audio CD’s if you don’t enjoy them. This is because, if you do not enjoy listening to that content, you will eventually get bored and give up on listening to Korean.
Find topics that interest you and then look for listening to the material on it. If you love topics on Korean politics, then there is no need for you to force yourself to listen to K-drama. Rather, you should look for TV programs or podcasts that speak on Korean politics.
While listening, it is okay if you do not understand each and every word. But getting the gist of the content is more important.
If you’re interested in celebrities, VLive occasionally has podcast uploads.
3. Do Active Listening
There is a difference between just hearing and listening. When you are listening, you pay attention to understand the meaning of the sentences rather than just hearing.
When you do active listening, you do not only aim to understand the meaning but you are also paying attention to the linguistic aspect used – pronunciation, intonation, grammar, and vocabulary.
Whenever you get the opportunity to listen to a native speaker, pay attention to how they frame their sentences, how they present different ideas and the way they speak.
This linguistic aspect is equally important to the meaning of the sentences.
4. Use Subtitles or Transcripts
When watching Korean movies or drama, try watching it for the first time without subtitles, even if you don’t understand much. Then, the second time you can watch it with Korean subtitles.
Now that you have a little understanding of the content, you will be able to read the subtitles faster which will allow you to focus more on the sentence structure being spoken.
If you can find the subtitle or transcript text file of the video, read it while listening to the audio.
5. Speak like a real Korean -Pronunciation, Intonation, and Fillers
When listening to a native Korean speaker, don’t just pay attention to the vocabulary and grammar, but focus on the pronunciation of the words, intonations used to express emotions and fillers (아~, 그러게, 그러네요, 글쎄, 뭐, 그렇구요, 그렇지요) used to make conversations more natural.
You can try to imitate these styles when you try to speak Korean.
You can also try recording conversations in your own voice using natural intonations and fillers and listen to it again. In this way, you will know how natural you sound while speaking and where to improve better.
6. Use Your Phone to Record Conversations
You can use the built-in voice recorder on your phone to record Korean dialogues.
Simply record all your lessons, reading practices and friends’ conversations in Korean and play them often. Try to focus on sounds that you missed, if any, and repeat what you hear.
This is a good strategy to improve your Korean listening skills – turning your personal experiences into custom lessons. By this, you will be focusing on words that are relevant to you while also improving your own pronunciation skills.
What better way to detect your own listening patterns and mistakes than to listen to yourself?
7. Download Korean Songs
Songs are a great way to train your ears to detect common Korean sounds using repetition, rhythm, and rhymes.
The key to improving your Korean listening skills through songs is to maximize your listening opportunities. You can create a Korean playlist on Spotify and Youtube so that you can listen to them as often as possible.
KBS World Radio is a great place to find a diversity of Korean songs.
Have you tried any of these tips we’ve recommended? Or do you know any other tips that can help improve our Korean listening skills? Feel free to share with us your secret tips in the comment section below!