시간 낭비하지 마세요. 한글을 배우다. Once you learn the Korean writing system, you will find that this says, “Don’t waste time. Learn Hangul.” Why learn it when so many write Korean words in English letters? Let me share the benefits with you. It was one of the first things I did.
That’s right! In fact, the first thing I did was to read about the culture and find out why the different levels of respect were so important. It was a very good read. Also, be sure to read about the language itself and find out how it comes to be used. All of the background reading will give you a good reason to study the writing system before you dive head-first into learning words and phrases.
And Then There’s Romanization!
And this is where so many people go wrong. They think that the Korean alphabet is similar to the English one. It has many of the same sounds. They even have many words that they borrowed from us. You may say that it’s a whole lot easier than trying to figure out what a backward number 2 means or why the letter L sounds like the letter N. Okay, so it can be a little confusing, but once you get used to it, you’ll be hooked!
Chances are you’re watching loads of K-Dramas and listening to K-pop. And you wish you knew what they said or you would like to sing along with the songs. You can, with a lot of practice, you really can!
Here’s a copy of the alphabet. Just the consonants to start you off. Practice writing them until you can do it from memory.
ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㅇ ㅈ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ
Next, you want to study the sounds by grouping each character with a vowel so you can practice sounding out the letter. Just a hint. In English, we can sound out each consonant without adding a vowel. But in Korean, that’s not possible. Consonants only make sounds after being paired with a vowel. How does that look? Like this.
가 나 다 라 마 바 사 아 자 차 카 타 파 하
Now you can vocalize each letter. Just by adding the vowel sound of an English short “A,” we can say 가 (sound like ka). It means “go.” Why do I say it sounds like...? Because this character, known as a gyeok, carries the sound of an English G and K. It depends on where it is located in a word. So now, back to romanization. If we only follow the Romanized letters “ka,” we won’t know when to change the sound to “ga.” That’s the danger of romanization.
So, learn Hangul and have fun! Sing your favorite songs and watch your favorite dramas as you see yourself progress with Korean!