Tips for learning the Korean Language…

Here are some tips that will help you learn and progress in the Korean language…

1. Watch Korean Dramas: Watching Korean dramas is a good way to get exposure to the language and observe a situation being played out while listening to the Korean.  When you can watch some activity going on it helps to give context to what you are hearing.

2. Learn Korean Pop Songs:  Write out the lyrics to your favorite K Pop song.  Listen to the song and everyday look over the lyrics and sing them to yourself.  There is something amazing about the way a song can help unlock the key to learning a language.

3. Listen and Repeat:   First you will need to find a Korean movie on dvd that has Korean subtitles.  I found lots of these movies in Yongsan in the heart of Seoul.  Yongsan is a big venue for electronics in Seoul.  As you are watching your movie, first watch it without subtitles and find a sentence you would like to practice.  Listen to the sentence on your laptop and then pause the movie and try to repeat what was just said.  Listen again to the same sentence and try and repeat.  Do this about 10 to 20 times.  Then write down what you think you heard.  And then go back and listen again and check what you wrote down with what they are saying, until you think are almost totally accurate.  Now you can turn on the subtitles and check what you wrote down with what they actually said.  Now listen and repeat the actual sentence after hearing it.  This will strengthen your comprehension.  Next, get a Korean friend to translate the sentence and tell you its meaning.

4.  Get a grammar book:  Find a good Korean grammar book and start learning some grammar and practice it with your Korean friends.  If you check my previous posts, I recommend some really good books for learning Korean.  If you already have a grammar book, keep reviewing it, but find some new material to study.  It is always a good thing to learn something new.  If all you are doing is reviewing old material, you will start getting stagnant.  Its amazing how your brain starts using old things you learned, when you start introducing new things to it.  Keep your learning fresh and new.  If you don’t understand some grammar, don’t stress.  Let is go, and it will come back to you…

5.  This is the most amazing online resource for learning that I have ever found.  Visit this site often!

6.  Translate a Korean book into your native tongue:  Find a simple novel or a storybook with pictures and translate it.  Then get your Korean friend to check your work.

7.  Learn new vocabulary:  When you are out on the town with your friends or just by yourself, bring a note pad with you and write down words you see that are unfamiliar to you.  Then, if your Korean is already good enough get a Korean friend to explain it to you in the Korean Language, not your native tongue.  This is very effective.

8.  CONVERSATE!:  The most important thing you can do in Korean is to speak it!  If you don’t practice speaking what you know, you will never progress.  Even if you are incorrect in your sentences, start speaking anyway.  GET IT OUT!  It is okay to fail and it is okay to make mistakes!  How did you learn to walk when you were a baby?  You got up and fell down again and again, until finally one day, you stood!

9.  This is a website where you can study a lesson, practice writing a Korean sentence and get your sentences checked by native speakers.  Excellent resource!~

10.  You cannot succeed until you FAIL!:  You cannot succeed until you fail over and over and over again.  So let go of your fears and worries.  No body is perfect.  Accept your short comings and be free to make mistakes.  It is the best way to live life.  Get out of your cage and live!

Retro K Pop from 1995! — 영원히 내게 – 안상수


Here is one my favorites.  I actually saw the artist perform in a department store in Myeongdong.  The first time I heard this song was shortly before my girlfriend and I broke up in Korea.  Sometimes the painful memories are the most beautiful ones.

This song is about a man who didn’t realize what he had until she was gone.  Now he is asking her to come back to him…

. . . . .

이 넓은 세상에
날 위한건
너 하나였어

밤새워 그렇게도
눈물 흘렸지
어려움 속에

어디에 있는지
모르는 채

나 또한 볼수 없는
거릴 걸었어
어딘지 모를

지금 내게
무엇도 필요치 않아
나를 대신하던 너였어

이제 너를
나없는 어둠 속에서
슬프게 할순 없어

다시와 내게로
널 위한건
새상에 나만이 알아

나에게 돌아와
이젠 내게 있어줘
영원히 내게…

지금 내게
무엇도 필요치 않아
나를 대신하던 너였어

이제 너를
나없는 어둠 속에서
슬프게 할순 없어

다시와 내게로
널 위한건
세상에 나만이 알아

나에게 돌아와
이젠 내게 있어줘
영원히 내게

나에게 돌아와
이젠 내게 있어줘
영원히 내게

[credit goes to Pops8090 for putting this video together]

삼계탕 Sam-Gye-Tang — a summer stew!

Lets make Sam-Gye-Tang!

. . . . .

Samgyetang is a popular dish eaten during the hottest days of summer.  It consists of chicken, ginseng root, chestnuts, sticky rice, dates and pine nuts.

These ingredients may be unfamiliar to you, so during the post, I will have photos of the ingredients.  I will also include a list of the ingredients written in the Korean language.  If you would like, print the out the ingredients in Korean and use it as a cheat sheet.  When you arrive at the market, just show someone and they will be more than happy to help you.  Korean people can be very endearing and they are some of the most helpful people I have ever met.

Young Chicken/ Rock Cornish Game Hen……..1 Chicken
Glutinous Rice……………………………………..6 Tablespoons
Raw Ginseng Root…………………………………………. 1 root
Chinese Dates (dried)…………………2 per serving (added)
Pine nuts…………………………………..2 per serving (added)

Salt…………………………………………………………1 teaspoon
Finely cut thick green onion…………………….2 tablespoon

Ingredients listed in Korean (print them out!)

영계………………………………….1 마리

송송 썬 굵은 파……………….2큰술

. . . . .

Cookware and Eating Utensils

Before I send you on a mission to buy ingredients for Sam-Gye-Tang, I wanted to give you the chance to really get into the culture, so I listed some items below that are integral to eating Sam-Gye-Tang.  Most of these items can be found at a wholesale kitchenware store or an E-Mart / Lotte Mart.

Dook-bae-gi 뚝배기 – This is a traditional-style earthen pot used for cooking fiery hot stews.  The name is pronounced, “Dook-bae-gi”.

winter 2013 014.Standard cooking pot – Initially we will cook the chicken in a standard cooking pot and once the chicken has thoroughly cooked we will transfer everything over to a Dook-Bae-gi for the final stages of the process.
Silverware – A pair of metal chopsticks and one soup spoon per person.  Soup Ladel – Necessary for scooping the broth out of the pot and pouring it into an individual bowl.
Tupperware – One medium sized bowl per person and a small dish for salt and pepper mix to dip the chicken in as you eat  And some metal rice bowls for white rice.
Traditional Korean Floor Table 밥상
– Pronounced, “Bap-Sang”, this is the traditional way friends and family eat in Korea; sitting on the floor at a table that is one foot from the ground.  Its a fun way to eat sitting on the floor.
Traditional Korean Floor Pillows – Traditional Korean floor pillows are square and come in a bright spectrum of colors.  You can find these at a pillow specialty shop or at E-Mart or Lotte Mart.
Rice Steamer – What meal in Korea isn’t complete without white Asian rice?  These steamers can be found at an E-Mart or Lotte Mart.  They will probably run you around $100, but its worth it.  And be sure to get a large bag of white rice to cook with.  [when using your steamer, take out the metal bowl, put in 2 – 3 cups of rice, fill up the metal bowl with water and massage the rice.  Then pour out the water and repeat 2 or 3 times until the rice is thoroughly washed.  Then, for example, if you put in 2 cups of rice, fill up the water to the 3 cup level inside the bowl.  And for 3 cups of rice, level 4 respectively]

. . . . .

Locating and Finding a Wholesale Kitchenware Store

그릇도매” is how “wholesale kitchenware store” reads in the Korean language.  It is pronounced, “Guh-rut-do-may”.  If you cannot locate one of these stores in your neighborhood, I suggest writing “그릇도매” onto a piece of paper so that you can show it to a Korean person when you venturing out.  If you are unable to copy the Korean by hand, copy “그릇도매” using a computer and print it out at a local PC Bang(computer room).  If there aren’t any wholesale kitchenware stores near you, go to an E-Mart or Lotte Mart.

Wholesale Kitchenware Store

Wholesale Kitchenware Store

Wholesale Kitchenware Store 

[If you want to practice speaking Korean, remember the phrase, “Oh-Dee-Yay-Yo?”  It means, “where is it?”  When using this phrase, say the place you want to go first or what you are looking for, followed by “Oh-Dee-Yay-Yo?” ]

. . . . .

Shopping for Ingredients

The open air market is a wonderful place to get authentic Korean ingredients.  Locate one in your area and go there often. 

An open-air market

An Open-air Market

A small chicken 영계This dish requires a smaller chicken to cook with.  You can either go to the grocer and buy a chicken that has been killed already or go the market and find a live chicken and have them kill it in front of you.  I think the latter is more fun.  When you are looking for the right chicken find one that is around 40 to 50 days old and 450 to 500 grams in weight.  If it is not possible to determine age and weight of the bird, just look for a small one.
Glutinous Rice 찹쌀 :  This kind of rice is different from the standard white rice you are used to eating.  Glutinous rice, or “Chap-ssal”, is extra sticky when cooked and is sweeter than regular white rice.Raw Korean Ginseng 수삼: A powerful root well known in Korea for its stamina and immune boosting properties. Korean ginseng is an excellent for a foreigner trying to adjust in Korea.  This root may look odd, but I hope that you can come to appreciate its powerful health properties.  This special root can also be found at Ginseng specialty shops.
Chestnuts 밤These kinds of nuts are dark brown and can fit inside your fist.

Dehydrated Chinese dates 대추
Chinese dates have a dark red color.  Make sure they are dehydrated, not raw.  Pine nuts 잣Pine nuts come from pine trees and resemble kernels of corn.  Salt :   This is what a bag of salt looks like in a Korean grocery store.
Thick green onions
Thick Green onions are different from regular green onions in that they are much longer and thicker.

Green onions

Green onions

. . . . .


Clean out the chicken:  Wash out the inside of the chicken’s stomach with warm water, then use your hand to remove any of the chickens organs if they still remain.
Once you have removed everything from the chickens body, then wash out the inside again until clean.  Then take a paper towel and soak up any moisture inside the stomach and around the outside of the chicken as well.  Now take a sharp knife and cut a hole into the lower part of the chickens left leg.  We will need to tie the chicken’s legs together later to hold the ingredients inside of the chicken while cooking.

Rinse the Glutinous Rice:  Put six tablespoons of glutinous rice into a bowl and pour lukewarm water into the bowl.Next, wash the rice by hand until the water becomes white and cloudy.Next, without letting the rice out of the bowl, pour out the water and repeat the process until the water is no longer cloudy.Then put the glutinous rice into a small bowl.  It will be a little caked together, but this is okay.Wash the Ginseng Root:  Take a toothbrush and put the root under running water and brush the root to get any dirt off.  
Preparing the Chestnuts:  Prepare to cut a whole into the shell of the chestnut in order to remove the husk.  Use the tip of the knife.  Now remove the rest of the shell.….and the husk.
Wash the Dates:  Wash the dates in lukewarm water.

Stuffing the chicken:  Now you are ready to stuff all the ingredients into the chicken’s stomach.Begin by putting all the rice in first.  And stuff it in as tight as you can.Next put in the Ginseng root as far as it will go.…and then two dates and one Chestnut with a few pine-nuts.Now, put the chickens right leg through the hole in the left leg to fasten everything inside the chicken.  So that when the chicken is cooking, the ingredients wont come out. Cut off the part of the Ginseng root that is still protruding from the chickens body. Cooking the chicken:  Put the chicken into a standard pot.…and fill the pot with water until the chicken is submerged.

Cooking the Chicken

Place the pot onto the stove and turn the heat on high and bring the water to boil.  Once it has reached a rolling boil, turn the heat down to low and let sit for 2-3 hours until the rice has thoroughly cooked.  It wont hurt to cook it as long as 3 hours.  Every once in a while check to see how its doing.

Prepare the green onion as garnishWash the stalks in warm water.  Then cut the stalks in half and continue cutting into smaller pieces.  Once the dish is completely done and ready to be served, lightly sprinkle the slices in the dish as you like.

Moving the chicken into the Dook-Bae-gi:  Once the chicken has thoroughly cooked, move the chicken into the Dook-Bae-gi and then pour the broth from the pot in as well.  Now bring the stew to a rolling boil once again and then turn the burner down.  Let cook for an additional 4 minutes and then add salt.Now remove the Dook-Bae-gi from the burner and set on your table.  And add green onions as garnish.. . . . .

Setting the Table

Find a suitable place on your floor to put your table, and place a burner placemat in the middle of the table and place the Dook-Bae-gi on top of it.  Set your medium sized bowl in front of you and place the chopsticks and spoon to the right of your bowl.  Place the salt and pepper bowl near your bowl and place the Korean floor pillows in the places where you and your friends would like to sit.  As you are eating from the Dook-Bae-gi, dip the chicken pieces into the salt and pepper mix to add flavor.  Great job!

. . . . .

In Korea it is tradition to say, “잘 먹겠습니다” before digging in.  This phrase is pronounced, “chal mo-ggess-sum-ni-da” and means, “I will eat well.”

And when you have finished eating, you close by saying, “잘 먹었습니다.”  This phrase is pronounced, “chal mo-goss-sum-ni-da” and means, “I ate well.”

Adapted from:괜찮은 찌개 다 들어 있어요! ed. 주부생활

“”: The Mecca of Online Korean Language Resources!

Video (TTMIK) is one of the best online resources I have seen for students learning the Korean language.  They have resources for advanced learners, intermediate as well as beginners just getting started.  I don’t know even where to start on this site because it has so much!

. . . . . .

I just got done watching an advanced video about expressions: “약도”, “천리길도 한 겊음부터” and “초보운전”.  I was thoroughly impressed.  약도 is like a map, but one that you draw for someone trying to get somewhere.  천리 길도 한 걸음부터 is about how a thousand mile journey starts with a single step.  And I always wondered what the next one meant cause I saw it everywhere in Korea in the streets.  “초보운전” is written in the right side of streets and it is the lane for drivers who have just started driving.  Watch the video, I hope you like it!

. . . . . .

In another section called, Learn Korean with K Pop, K Pop songs are broken down phrase by phrase and an in depth explanation is given about the meaning and expressions.  It is brilliant!  
I hope this site helps you on your journey to fluency in the Korean Language!

Get your Korean journal graded online by a native Korean…


I have discovered an awesome site for Korean students.!  This is a social website like myspace and facebook where you can meet native speakers of any language, submit your Korean journal to native Koreans who will then grade your paper and resubmit it to you.  What a wonderful concept!