Perfect Your Korean Pronunciation With These Exercises

By OptiLingo • 8 minutes read

korean pronunciation

You’re learning Korean to speak it. But mastering Korean pronunciation can be difficult when you’re studying from home. Without someone to correct you, how do you know if you’re learning how to speak correctly? This guide will show you how you can master Korean pronunciation without feeling anxious about your progress.

The First Step Is Always Hangul

You may have heard it a lot, but it’s worth saying again. Learning Hangul first is crucial for your Korean studies. And it’s also crucial for your Korean pronunciation. 

Hangul was created to match the sounds of the Korean language. That helps make it easier to learn. Now, the best way you can learn to speak Korean properly is to read Hangul out loud. Remember, Hangul letters were crafted to visualize the mouth and the tongue when you’re speaking that letter. So, just think back to how the letters look as you speak.

Learn the sounds Hangul letters make:

Listen Intently to Korean Sounds

When you’re perfecting Korean pronunciation, take your time to listen to the sounds. Repeat it often and slow down the video. Listening is a crucial part of language learning. The more you hear the sounds of words, the more familiar they will be to you. If you do this, then recreating them afterward won’t be as challenging. 

So, how do you go about developing an ear for Korean? The key is to get immediate feedback and understand exactly what sounds you hear along with what each sound is. This is most often done by over-enunciating unique sounds to contrast them from other sounds. Through slow, steady practice, you can also refine your pronunciation using this technique.

listen to korean pronunciation

Remember Korean Syllables When Speaking

Korean is a syllable-timed language. Meaning that every syllable in a word takes up the same amount of time. Unlike English, in Korean, there is no stress on a particular syllable. When you’re speaking in Korean, focus on giving each syllable equal time.

Learn the Best Words for Conversations

If you want to speak like a Korean local, you need vocabulary. It’s not about how many words you know. It’s important to have the right words in your vocabulary. And luckily, that’s not that hard to achieve. 80% of our everyday speech comes from 20% of our vocabulary. This is thanks to the Pareto Principle.

What does that mean for your Korean language learning?

You only need to study high-frequency words and phrases to communicate successfully in Korean. With just 600 of the most commonly used expressions, you can start have meaningful conversations with Korean locals. 

Practice Makes Perfect

When it comes to pronunciation, you can perfect your Korean with plenty of practice. Whether you’re alone at home or in a classroom, take advantage of every opportunity to speak. 

And when you’re searching the best Korean language learning app, make sure you choose one that gets you speaking, not typing, Korean. Also, it’s really important to remember that language is a communication tool. It’s meant to be spoken. The only way to do get that practice is to speak. That’s crucial. Without it, you won’t be prepare to speak to locals. Instead, you’re more likely to freeze up thanks to language learning anxiety.

Don’t Give in to Language-Learning Anxiety

It’s common to feel anxiety when you’re trying to speak a foreign language. Every language learner worries about correct pronunciation. But being shy won’t do you any favors.

You need to overcome language learning anxiety. Realize how much it limits your progress. Think of the big picture: you’re learning a foreign language. You’re achieving an incredibly impressive feat. That’s something to be incredibly proud of doing.

You may think that people will make fun of you if you make a mistake. Sure, you’ll probably say something embarrassing or confusing. And people may laugh it off. But nobody will think your incorrect pronunciation is embarrassing. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Any native Korean speaker would immensely appreciate your efforts to learn their language. It’s often one of the highest forms of flattery. So, go ahead and show off your skills. 

Master Conversational Fluency

Every language learner wants to become fluent. But it’s important to realize that you don’t need perfect pronunciation to become fluent. However, without practice, you can’t expect to have either. That’s why it’s important to take what you have, and start practicing your pronunciation right away. Proficiency in Korean can come later.

A good trick to use to achieve conversational fluency is to use filler words. You make these sounds every day when you’re speaking English. “Um”, “well”, and “ok” are just a few examples. Korean has its own filler words.

Here are five examples of filler words to get you started:

Filler Word

Pronunciation

Meaning

음..
[eum]
Um …
저..
[jeo]
Well …
자!
[ja]
Ok!
맞아
[maja]
right
아!
[a]
Ah!

Try These Korean Pronunciation Exercises 

korean pronunciation practice

When you’re practicing your pronunciation, you may be wondering if you’re doing speaking properly. Without a Korean native to correct you, it’s can be quite hard to know for 100%.

Still, there are plenty of exercises you can do to practice your Korean pronunciation as you wait for the opportunity to converse with a local. Luckily, they’re all very fun, so you’ll barely notice you’re working. Here are some websites, tips, and tricks to help you listen to the sounds and practice your Korean pronunciation:

Use the Forvo Korean Dictionary

Forvo is a great website that functions as a dictionary. They have a lot of Korean words and phrases recorded, so you can hear how they’re pronounced properly. 

Take Advantage of Google Translate

Although you should be wary of the accuracy of Google Translate, it’s still a useful resource for Korean pronunciation. Especially if you’re only looking for how separate words are pronounced. 

Sing Kpop Songs

Kpop is short for Korean pop music. The songs of this genre are popular worldwide. By listening to these, you can not only gain an insight into modern Korean culture, but you can also practice your pronunciation. As you sing songs in Korean, you’ll grow familiar with forming the sounds of the language. With the best Kpop songs, you can quickly sing yourself to fluency!

korean pronunciation

Watch Korean Dramas

Korean cinema and TV is of exceptionally high quality. These exciting storylines have some serious binging potential. What’s even better, the dialogues in Korean dramas can show you how native Koreans speak every day. Listening to these TV shows can also help you discover the sounds of Korean pronunciation naturally. And if you want to actively practice, you can always pause the video and repeat what the character said before. 

Record Yourself Speaking Korean

It’s extremely hard to hear your own accent. And hearing the intricacies of Korean in your own pronunciation is even more difficult. That’s why recording yourself and listening to your own voice can help you perfect your pronunciation. If hearing your own voice is uncomfortable for you, don’t worry. Everybody feels that way about listening to themselves on a recording. Put any awkward feelings aside and focus on how beneficial it’ll be for your studies.

Talk to a Native Korean Speaker

There’s no one better to teach you Korean than a Korean local. But traveling to Korea to learn a language is a luxury many of us can’t afford. It’s difficult to connect to real Korean natives. Thanks to programs like HelloTalk, you can chat with real Koreans online. Perhaps you can even make some international friends. They’re great resources to help you correct your Korean pronunciation. Play your cards right and you might have some locals ready to show you the Seoul nightlife!

Learn Korean with Pronunciation With the Best App!

Perfecting your speaking skills in a foreign language can be difficult. You want to speak as a local does. And you want to be comfortable with Korean pronunciation. You can achieve these dreams easily with OptiLingo.

OptiLingo offers a convenient mobile language learning app to help you master the language. Based on proven methods, it’s the best way to learn a language. This app gives you the most commonly used words and phrases, so you’re prepared for any situation when the time comes. Most importantly, OptiLingo’s lessons include pronunciation guides, so you’ll know exactly how to pronounce Korean words.

Experience what it’s like to perfect your Korean pronunciation instantly when you Try OptiLingo today!

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