With Korean pop culture sweeping the globe, it’s no surprise that the Korean language has become one of the most popular Asian languages among non-native speakers.
There are some innovative apps for learning the Korean language in 2021, whether you’re looking to learn the Korean language for travel or simply want to understand K-dramas and K-pop without subtitles. Smartphones have become almost indispensable in modern life.
People carry them around with them all the time, which means you could take a digital tutor with you wherever you go. This is why learning Korean through apps is the most effective method.
There are hundreds of language apps available, and knowing which ones will be most useful for learning Korean will save you a lot of time and money. Here are the top 20 best apps to learn Korean in 2021.
Can you learn Korean with an app?
Yes and no.
There is no single book, course, or app that can provide you with everything you need to learn a language.
So, while you can learn Korean with an app, it won’t be the only thing you need to become fluent in Korean.
In the end, the best way to learn a language is to interact with it, so while an app is a great place to start, don’t expect it to be the only tool you’ll need.
Why learn Korean with an app?
Apps are a great way to start your language learning journey for several reasons:
The process has been fine-tuned in most apps to make it as simple and enjoyable as possible while covering some of the most important topics.
Each app takes a different approach, but regardless of which app you use, you will learn Korean.
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A low entry fee
One of the most appealing aspects of learning through an app is how simple it is to get started.
Most apps are either free or offer a free trial, so you can always try them out to see if they’re right for you.
Though learning through an app may appear to be simple, most apps employ a large team of linguists and language learners who ensure that the content you are learning is useful.
Though some of the phrases may appear strange, they have been considered by others.
The randomness of some sentences can help you think more deeply about what you’re saying rather than writing on autopilot.
How to learn Korean with an app?
Make a daily routine for yourself.
You can learn a language while waiting for your dentist appointment or riding the bus. Making practice a part of your daily routine is the best way to ensure that you do so. Take a look at your schedule and see what activities you can add to it.
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Find one that meets your requirements.
Every language learner has a different goal, and each app has a different focus, and it’s critical to understand both.
Make a list of what you want to accomplish (speak a language on holiday, understand cinema or literature, etc.)
Try to find an app that will help you achieve that goal.
There are many excellent choices available, but not every app will be the best fit for you.
Jot down ideas
While doing everything on your phone is convenient, studies have shown that writing things down makes them easier to remember.
Don’t be afraid to scribble down some notes, even if it’s just to keep track of what you’ve learned.
Make it a social event
While many apps already include a competitive component, nothing beats doing something with a friend. Try to find someone in your area who is interested in learning a language as well.
It doesn’t have to be the same as long as you can keep each other entertained.
Remember to speak up
It’s easy to use an app casually while typing answers, but don’t forget to practice speaking it as well.
Top tips for learning Korean
Learning a new language can be daunting but it can also be fun. Now that you have a list of the best free apps to learn the Korean language, here are some tips and tricks to help you be successful:
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Learn the Korean alphabet first.
I cannot stress this enough. It’s nice to be able to say a few Korean phrases here and there but your romanized “kamsahamnida” and “saranghaeyo” can only get you so far. Learning Hangul is fairly easy if you have the correct teaching material and/or instructor. Being able to read and write in Hangul will help you learn the language faster.
Listen to K-pop and watch K-dramas.
This is the easiest way of immersing yourself in the Korean language if you’re not in Korea. This will help train your ears and over time, you will learn to recognize words and phrases. You might not understand the words right away but it’s good listening practice and help you improve pronunciation. Take it further by listening to Korean-only podcasts or watching TV shows without subtitles.
Don’t forget jeondemal (polite and formal language).
Korea is big on politeness levels and hierarchies. You may think you’re fluent when you can string words together but you will not impress locals with your banmal (informal speech). There’s a reason why -Nida and -yo exist in most Korean sentences and it’s important to learn this if you plan to talk to locals.
Practice makes perfect.
Okay, maybe not perfect. Even experts who have been living in Korea for quite some time can still fumble with the language. But with consistent studying, exposing yourself to the language daily, and lots of determination, you can be as fluent as you’d like to be.
Best free apps to learn Korean
The Rocket Languages Korean course is the overall best app to learn Korean because of the quality of its lessons. It will help you go from a complete beginner to having decent conversations in Korean.
Read: Best Way To Learn A New Language Fast And Be Good At It
20 best free apps to learn Korean
Rocket Languages is an online language learning platform that uses audio lessons, interactive exercises, and readings to assist users in learning a new language quickly, accurately, and confidently.
It not only teaches you greetings, basic words, and common phrases, but it also helps you learn more about the Korean language by emphasizing literacy.
The app includes 32 interactive audio lessons, 120 hours of lesson time, and 2,074 voice-recognition phrases. 27 writing lessons demonstrate how to read and write Hangul, as well as lessons on politeness and honorific titles.
One of the best free apps for learning Korean is Memrise. This learning app is ideal for those who enjoy using flashcards to learn. The mobile version is extremely user-friendly. The best part is that it has a lot of free content created by Memrise users. They do have a premium subscription that gives you access to more features, but honestly, the free version is enough to teach you the basics of Korean and Korean phrases. You will no longer be able to progress to the advanced level. You’ll also require some of the other apps listed below.
One of the most well-known language learning programs in the world is Rosetta Stone. The good news is that it can be downloaded as an app! You will be able to speak, read, write, and understand basic Korean words and phrases in about 3-4 months.
It will assist you in laying a solid foundation so that you can converse with native Korean speakers. They offer different programs based on the reason why you are looking to learn Korean.
Is it for travel, work, or friendly conversation? Rosetta Stone has programs for all. It can get repetitive at times as you will need to hear it, say it, write it, and then finally choose it from a list of multiple-choice questions.
This formula by Rosetta Stone has made them one of the top language learning platforms in the world.
Mango Languages is one of the apps to learn the Korean language. The program is divided into sections that cover topics such as vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and even Korean culture. For the first 14 days, the app is free to use.
Then it will cost you around $8 per month, or you can get two months free if you sign up for a one-year subscription for around $80.
Mango Languages adds new content regularly and tracks your progress as you improve your Korean language skills.
The app is designed as a type of school where you are the student. Therefore it has a built-in function that will keep track of your learning behaviors to create the best possible review sequence.
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While Drops offers language apps for other languages, their app to learn Korean is one of their best. Those that are visual learners will love the Drops app. It is very vocabulary based where each vocabulary word will be accompanied by an image of the word.
As you learn the word you will need to do small tasks such as matching the image with the phrase which will be written or spoken. You can choose which module you want to do at any time.
In addition, Drops lets the user draw out the Korean word which helps you learn the Korean alphabet (Hangul). This app is great for learning vocabulary but that is pretty much it.
LingoDeer’s ability to clearly explain grammar sets it apart from most other language learning apps. It contains a large number of audio recordings and exercises. You’ll begin by learning the Korean alphabet, including pronunciation and clear instructions on how to make each sound.
The proper pronunciation of most of the words can be heard by clicking on them.
This app is not for children and is more focused on older language learners. They have exercises that progress in difficulty as you go. The exercises range from multiple-choice, listening, matching pictures to words, filling in the blank, and ordering sentences, just to name a few.
What better way to learn Korean than through Kpop! The Teuida app simulates conversations and even has female Kpop star Nancy from Momoland as a part of the simulation. Nancy herself speaks to the users and teaches them basic Korean through a POV-style conversation simulation.
There are lots of speaking exercises and the app offers feedback on your pronunciation through its voice recognition technology. It is one of the most engaging Korean learning apps out there.
The first lesson is free but from that point on you will need to pay a monthly subscription fee of around $10 a month. The app is designed to help you with pronunciation through listening and repeat exercises.
One of the most underrated apps for learning Korean is Infinite Korean. Not only is the app free but it offers great strategies for memorization as it uses games to help you learn Korean vocabulary. You can redo games and lessons as many times as you want.
It is a fun and helpful app for learning simple vocabulary words. They do offer a premium membership (only $5) but the free version is still great and offers features such as saving the vocabulary words you’ve learned and an audio feature that says the words back to you.
Speechling is one of the best language learning apps for improving your accent. Therefore, those interested in not just learning Korean but speaking like a native Korean should download this app. It has tons of free features but if you want full access, you will need to pay $20 a month for their premium membership.
You will be able to hear phrases spoken by real native Koreans. You can upload your recordings which will be listened to by a real Speechling coach who will then send back feedback on your pronunciation within 24 hours. While the app is not great for teaching grammar or structure, it is great for those that already know some level of Korean but do not sound like native Koreans.
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The Duolingo app is very easy to use. You set up a profile and set your target language to Korean. There are multiple modules for you to complete and once you complete them, new modules will appear.
You can take an entry test which will allow the app to determine your Korean level. Vocabulary is taught with images and grammar points are explained after each question.
The best feature of Duolingo is that at the end of each lesson you will get a progress report which offers great motivation to keep going. Setting goals is a big deal on the app.
Those that want to speak with a native Korean speaker can do so on HelloTalk. It is not for shy learners and will require you to make a profile and video introduction. There is a search function that will find matches for your target language which in this case would be Korean.
When you find a Korean native speaker you can send them a message and even do a video call. The app counts the number of characters or time spent in one language and once it hits the limit, it suggests that you switch languages.
It has a social searches feature where you can find language partners who live near you. This is an excellent opportunity to have offline lessons.
Mondly currently supports over 40 languages, including Korean, which you can learn in any combination. For example, you can learn Korean through Vietnamese, Dutch through Arabic, Norwegian through Chinese, and so on.
What makes Mondly even more unique is its use of advanced technology like augmented reality (only available in some languages) and chatbots in teaching language.
You can learn the Korean language through Mondly’s short but frequent lessons. Daily lessons are bite-size and you can get daily reminders as notifications, keeping you motivated to learn.
If you’re someone that finds grammar a bore and just wants to get speaking as quickly as possible, this might be the language app for you. Instead of spending time with lengthy grammar explanations, Pimsleur gets right into communication by prompting the user to speak almost as soon as they begin.
The lesson style is very engaging, requiring the learner to interact with each activity, and the app is made even more exciting by the attractive images and animations it uses.
You’ll need to find supplementary study materials if you want to develop written proficiency in the language, but Pimsleur is a good option for those especially interested in oral communication.
If you’ve been studying Korean for quite some time, you’ve most likely heard of TTMIK or Talk To Me In Korean.
Since 2009, the site has been building a library of quality audio and video Korean lessons. It has also published a series of textbooks and ebooks for beginners as well as intermediate learners who want to practice writing and reading Hangul.
However, the TTMIK website isn’t exactly handy when you’re on the go. Fortunately, James Ashe, a fan of TTMIK, created a free app for people who want to follow all nine lessons found on the site, all in English.
Albeit unofficial and stripped-down, KORLINK does the job of making TTMIK lessons more accessible on mobile and is one of the best apps to learn Korean.
Seemile has been churning out Korean lessons in video format on YouTube since 2010. The lessons range from beginner level to advance – starting with animated videos on how to learn the Korean alphabet, reading and writing Korean, and carrying out conversations like a local.
Learners can eventually move on to more advanced lessons that can help those who plan on taking TOPIK (Korean proficiency test).
The vast collection of lessons are available in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese. All of the good stuff from Seemile’s YouTube channel is available on its app of the same name, but in a more fun and handy presentation. This makes Seemile one of the best apps to learn Korean.
Learning Korean isn’t just about grammar, spelling, or vocabulary. Most language learners would say that what makes them feel fluent in any language is when they’re able to hold a decent conversation with native speakers. Strengthening one’s conversational skills is what makes Italki one of the best apps to learn Korean.
Simply put, Italki is a language learning app that adds a human element to the experience through human-taught one-on-one lessons done on a video call, usually Skype.
Italki connects 5 million language learners with over 10,000 professional and community teachers who teach various languages, including Korean.
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Naver Korean Dictionary
It’s impossible to meet a Korean who doesn’t use Naver, the Korean version of Google. Naver Korean Dictionary is the Koreans’ favorite online Korean dictionary, but to call it a dictionary is a misnomer.
The app is a hub for many things including a dictionary for Korean to English and English to Korean, a translation tool (Papago), a text recognition tool, and a search engine. Above all, it’s one of the best apps to learn Korean.
Have you ever tried studying Korean and wondered, am I writing or saying this word right? You’ve most likely wished you had someone, preferably a native speaker, who can check your work and strike a conversation with you as practice.
That’s exactly what Tandem does and it’s one of the best apps to learn Korean if you want to talk to real people.
Tandem is a language exchange app that lets you master any language by actually chatting with real people. It has intuitive messaging features and language tools for language learning.
Eggbun promises a fun way to learn Korean. And it’s pretty much able to achieve that. The app itself looks fun, with its beautifully designed interface and Lanny, the cute egg-looking chatbot and mascot who acts as your Korean language tutor.
The app has over 1,000 lessons encompassing beginner to advanced levels. Learn about Hangul, greeting expressions, how to introduce yourself, Korean expressions in everyday life, and even learn business Korean. It’s one of the best apps to learn Korean if you’re looking for an interactive and fun experience.
Similar to Italki, Preply is an online platform that connects students around the world. What makes Preply different is that it can connect you to tutors who teach subjects on any topic, not just languages.
Feel like dipping your toes in first? You can use the free trial before signing up for regular classes.
If you are a beginner to an advanced learner who needs coaching from native speakers then preply is the way to go. Your satisfaction with the app will largely depend on how comfortable you are with your chosen tutor.
How can I learn Korean by myself free?
7 Tried and True Ways to Teach Yourself Korean
Master the Korean alphabet
Invest in a Good Learning System
Join Language Exchange Communities
Watch Plenty of Korean Dramas
Listen to (or Discover) Your Favorite K-Pop Artist
Build Confidence and Vocabulary with Loanwords.
What apps do Korean students use?
Learn Korean with these apps
Can I learn Korean by myself?
Even if English is the only language you speak, you’ll find Korean fluency perfectly achievable even if you’re working on your own. Begin by choosing an app that best suits your skill level, interests, and learning style.
What’s the best app to learn Korean?
The best app to learn Korean is Rocket Languages. It has a complete course that takes you from complete beginner to conversational in just a few months.
How long does it take to learn Korean?
It’s possible to become conversational in Korean within one year, as long as you study consistently.
Korean is difficult to learn, but apps are making it easier. They each have their own set of advantages, so try out a few to see which one is best for you!
Using one (or more) of the apps on this list will give you a more well-rounded understanding of Korean if you want to learn the language fluently.