Want to broaden your Korean vocabulary but don’t know how to do it? We’ve prepared 9 strategic tips on how to learn 100 Korean vocabulary in a week.
1. Make Wordlists or Flashcards
Wordlists and flashcards are the most commonly used method to learn Korean vocabulary.
For wordlist, you can make a two-column table with Korean words in one column and their meanings in the other.
You can buy the vocabulary notebook that has the two columns readily available for you to fill in the words and the meaning. The book is small enough to fit your handbag or pocket.
You can buy this vocabulary notebook on Amazon or Gmarket.
You can buy or even make your own flashcard, with the Korean word on one side and the meaning on the other side of the card.
You can review these words regularly or weekly and mark the difficult words. While reviewing pay special attention to difficult words. With time, these difficult words will eventually go to your permanent memory and then you can unmark them. Even if you think you have completely mastered a certain list, it is best to review it once in a while.
Make a separate list of difficult words you often forget and review it more frequently. You can also consider making your own personal dictionary – a dictionary of words that are important for your daily use.
Action Plan: Create a wordlist every week for a new category. Read all the vocabulary words under each category every day for a week.
2. Learn Words in Context
We rarely use words on their own. Words are usually used in context with other words, phrases and grammar patterns.
Just knowing the meaning of a Korean word is not enough – you will need to know when, where, who and how to use it in a sentence. There are certain words used in a particular time, particular situations, particular people and particular way.
If you do not learn how to use the correct Korean vocabulary, there are chances you might make a blunder. Using the word wrongly might create an embarrassing situation especially if its for work or school.
So, the next time you learn a new word, try to get as much information you can on how to use the word in context.
Action Plan: Find out how to use 5 new Korean words in the correct context every day. You can find these new words from your daily Korean reading material.
3. Korean Vocabulary Games
There are many game apps that you can download on your phone for you to not only learn new Korean vocabulary but different aspects of the language such as alphabets, numbers, and grammar.
Game apps that allow you to learn the Korean words for numbers are very useful. This is because learning the Korean numbering is not easy because they have two different systems – Native Korean system and Sino-Korean, which originates from Chinese.
To learn the Korean vocabulary for numbers, you can download the Korean Bubble Bath Game. Besides numbers, they also have a vocabulary in other categories such as animals, body parts, etc.
If you like playing Korean vocabulary games with a real person, you can join us on our Discord chat. We play the 끝말잇기 (word chain game) on a daily basis. If you don’t know what the word chain game is, it is a game where you need to make a new word from the last letter of the previous word.
Action Plan: Learn 10 Korean vocabulary words every day – by playing vocabulary games on any game app on your phone or join us on Discord.
4. Make Associations
Try making associations and connections between the new Korean words you learn and words or things you already know off.
For example, some Korean words might sound almost similar, funny or interesting in your native language. Some words may even remind you of something funny or weird and that is okay as it helps you remember better.
Try connecting the Korean words with a certain image, people, places, or even events.
For example: 많이 (manh-i ) sounds like “many” in English and the word actually means a lot of. You can easily remember the meaning by associating it with the English word.
Action Plan: Pick 5 Korean vocabulary that you can’t remember from your wordlist/flashcard each day and find an association of that word in your native language, or by associating it to some funny sounds.
When learning a new Korean word, you will need to be exposed to that word frequently to remember it permanently – through listening, reading, writing or speaking.
According to research, a word will be permanently stored in our memory after it is repeated 20-30 times.
Even if you are doubtful to use a new word, just keep using it as only by practicing it repeatedly you will be able to remember it.
For example, if you are learning vocabulary on body parts in Korean, you can speak those words every time you catch yourself looking into the mirror throughout the day.
You can think of any creative ways to remind yourself to repeat throughout the day.
Action Plan: Use the new Korean word that you have just learned at least 10 times in a day – either use the word while speaking, writing it down, or even by just reading or hearing the word.
6. Mix Korean Words With Your Native Language
You can use Korean vocabulary in the same sentence when you are speaking in your native language.
It is a good way for you to practice on a daily basis and eventually remember the Korean word.
For example, if your native language is English, you can say. The beach is really 예쁘다’ (beautiful). It might feel odd, but it is one of the most effective ways for you to remember new Korean vocabulary. If you don’t want to annoy people, just
Action Plan: Incorporate 5 new Korean words that you’ve learned when speaking your native language on a daily basis.
7. Read Extensively
No doubt, reading is one of the best ways to pick up new Korean vocabulary or vocabulary in any language. By reading, you will be exposed to new vocabulary words in different contexts.
However, it is crucial to pick a reading material to your liking and suits your level otherwise you will give up very soon.
You can read Korean materials that are available on the Internet such as news, books, magazines, comics, and blogs.
We’ve noticed many people purchase the Korean version of the Harry Potter books because 1) everybody loves this book and 2) it is easier to read compared to any other books as you might have already read the English version or you are familiar with the plot.
While reading, note down words that you’ve read the first time or words that interest you in your notebook and look for the meaning later on.
You can also read the English version (or your native language) of a news article followed by the Korean version.
In this way, you will not only understand the context better but you will pay attention to the Korean vocabulary used.
Action Plan: Read any Korean material that interests you every day and look up for at least 10 words that you don’t know and write it down in your wordlist.
8. Vocabulary Videos
There are many video lessons on Korean vocabulary, especially on Youtube. For example, most popular probably being Talk to Me in Korean. They have playlist such as “Korean vocabulary with pictures” and “Korean vocabulary starting with”.. and many more.
We also have videos on Korean videos on our Youtube channel. The video below is a video on common sickness names in Korean.
The advantage of learning Korean vocabulary through videos is that you get both the audio and the visuals which can help you remember quickly.
Action Plan: Watch Korean vocabulary videos and write down at least 15 new words in your wordlist notebook.
9. Look Up Words on a Korean Dictionary
Always keep a dictionary handy just in case you come across a Korean word that you don’t know. Looking up a dictionary may be a troublesome and boring task but it will help you in the long term.
Try to get rid of the habit of finding an alternative way of expressing yourself when you don’t know or can’t remember the appropriate word.
Looking up a Korean dictionary is even better than asking your Korean teacher or a Korean person because:
1. When you look for a word in the dictionary you won’t only learn one word but other related words.
2. You will stop annoying your walking Korean dictionaries aka your Korean teacher or Korean friend.
Action Plan: Look for the meaning of at least 5 new Korean words each day. Words can be from any of your Korean reading material (newspaper, books, blog, magazine)
Have you tried any of these methods to learn new Korean vocabulary? Do you know of any other tricks that can be used to learn new vocabulary fast? Let us know in the comments below!
Also read: How To Practise Typing in Korean