Resource Reviews: howtostudykorean.com and Memrise

Hello World from Carlos!  I want to share my thoughts on some resources that have been useful in my study of Korean.

My journey learning Korean began with a google search for free local classes in Boston. To my surprise there was actually one completely free class, and it was held at MIT by native Korean student volunteers.  The class was held every Wednesday night for 1.5 hours for two months.  Each class started off with a lecture with written exercises and then was followed up with oral practice.  Homework was assigned after every class to get some additional practice.  It was here I first learned the Korean alphabet, some basic words, and a few grammar lessons.

Once the classes ended, I began looking for some other resources.  There were so many, and I found lots of  books, eBooks, websites, podcasts, and phone apps.  One of the best resources that has worked for me was a website called How to Study Korean.  This site was created by a native English speaker who has studied Korean extensively.  During his studies he took notes on everything, and then decided to create a site to teach everything he had learned.  And it’s completely free!

Example from howtostudykorean.com

The website is broken up into 6 units with about 25 lessons within each unit.  It starts from the basics of the alphabet to advanced grammar structure.  Each lesson introduces some new vocabulary and grammar points, and each subsequent lesson builds on what you have previously learned.  Each vocabulary word has an audio file so you can hear what proper pronunciation sounds like. (I believe his girlfriend, a native Korean speaker, records the audio.) He goes so in depth that you can click each vocabulary word and get a few different usages and examples of that word.

At the end of every lesson, there is a mini test that helps to reinforce the concepts learned in that lesson, along with a newly added audio test.  And at the end of every unit (25 lessons) there is a unit test that covers everything in that unit.  For those who want even more practice, there are a variety of different workbooks that can be purchased for $5.00 each.

I have really enjoyed this site because each lesson covers one or two specific grammar points and really goes into detail.  You can really take your time with it and learn the concepts well.  Moreover, there is a great balance of reading, listening, and writing practice, which makes it more interesting and fun.

The How to Study Korean lessons use an online tool called Memrise, which has user submitted picture flashcards to help learn the vocabulary. Memrise, as suggested by its name, helps you to memorize words through pictures and word associations.  The picture to the side illustrates an example of this.   The word is 집(jib) but pronounced like “ cheap”.  Anyone in the community can make a card for this word.  This card uses an image of a cheap looking house to help learners associate “jib” with “cheap”.  Now every time you hear 집 you will think of this image, and never forget the word: you have Memrised it!

Example Memrise test item

As you learn new vocabulary you are tested with multiple choice questions, audio clips, and even spelling. For every lesson in HTSK there is a matching lesson in Memrise with all the same vocabulary.  I have found that I am more easily able to absorb new material when using Memrise in conjunction with HTSK.

The How to Study Korean site and Memrise have been very helpful in my Korean study.  I’m always looking to hear about what resources other people are using, so feel free to share!

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