How to Speak Korean – Online Guide for Conversational Fluency

Last Updated on October 26, 2020 by 90 Day Korean
Illustration of kids talking at a table

Do you want to learn how to speak Korean?  If so, you’ve come to the right place!

Korean is the official language of South Korea, so it’s very useful to learn how to converse if you’re heading out this way for a trip. You may be interested in learning how to speak Korean so you can communicate with Korean friends, talk with Korean in-laws, or chat with your significant other in his or her native language.

Many people these days want to learn a new language, and they choose Korean because of the popularity of Korean Dramas, K-Pop, Korean movies, and Korean culture.

Whatever the reason is, we’ve got you covered! Below, we organized an online plan for conversational fluency that will help you start to practice using the language right away.

Read on for a simple step by step guide on how to speak Korean!

Illustration of kids talking at a table

Below is a free PDF guide that you can download and take with you:

How to Use this Guide

You don’t need to learn Korean in order to speak Korean. For example, you may want to talk to Koreans, but you don’t care about reading a comic book or writing an email in Korean.

We fully understand!

However, if you want to learn how to have significant conversations in Korean quickly, then you’ll want to follow the steps below. These lessons and resources will show you the 80/20 for learning how to speak Korean and get you to a conversational level. In other words, you’ll learn the 20% of the Korean language that will give you 80% of the results. This will help you learn the most in the shortest amount of time.

Spend only the required learning time on each step, and then move on. Get a good understanding, but don’t worry about mastering each step for speaking Korean. You will be using the things you’ve learned during conversation practice time.

Each step also has a “related lessons” section at the bottom for additional practice and application of what you learn. You can use that after you’ve gone through all six steps, and you’ve decided you want to continue learning Korean.

Step 1: Learn to Read Hangeul (the Korean Alphabet)

Online resource: https://www.90daykorean.com/how-to-learn-the-korean-alphabet/

If you want to speak Korean, the first thing you should do is learn to read Hangeul (the Korean alphabet). Learning Hangeul only takes about 1 hour to learn. There are two massive benefits to this.

First, you’ll be able to read Korean words and sentences quickly and easily. Knowing the alphabet will allow you to supercharge any Korean learning that you do, and begin to speak Korean in no time. It’s one of the simplest and most effective hacks for having Korean conversations.

And second, it will help you understand and use the correct pronunciation of your newly-learned words. This is critical if you want to speak Korean and have conversations. Korean pronunciation is significantly easier than reading romanized English. Learning to read the alphabet is necessary if you want to become a high-level Korean speaker.

Two women sitting on a couch talking

Head over to the first of our online lessons and learn to read Hangeul before your next meal. The guide uses associations using the English alphabet. The Korean alphabet and the English alphabet have a lot of similarities, which will help you understand the pronunciation of the letters.

Once you can read the letters, move onto the next step in our guide. You don’t need to master them, just make sure you can sound out words. You may want to get some additional practice using flashcards. You can write the Korean letters on the front of the flashcard. On the back write the English equivalent and any pronunciation tips that may be helpful.

Related lessons: Korean double consonants

Step 2: Learn Korean Numbers

Online resource: https://www.90daykorean.com/korean-numbers/

The second step for learning how to speak Korean is to learn the Korean numbers. There are two number systems in use in the Korean language, and we have a lesson on both of them. The lessons are explained in English, but knowing the Korean alphabet will help with the pronunciation of the numbers.

The first system is the Sino-Korean number system, which the Korean language adopted from Chinese. Theses numbers are used often and quite easy to learn.  You only need to learn the first 10 numbers plus 100, 1000, 10000, and so on. The rest is all combining the basic numbers together.

For example, number 2 is 이 (i) and 10 is 십 (sip). And 22 is 이십이 (isipi). This number system is used for multiple different things like money and calendar dates.

This is the most useful number system, so learn it first. It’s easy to learn because it’s structured. It follows patterns, and may even be easier to learn than numbers in English.

The second system is the native Korean number system, which was created later. It’s takes a little bit more effort to learn these numbers. The pronunciation is a bit more challenging, and they don’t follow the simple patterns of the Sino-Korean number system. For example, four is 넷 (net) and five is 다섯 (daseot), while forty is 마흔 (maheun) and fifty is 쉰 (swin).

The native Korean counting system only goes up to 99, but even those numbers can be tough to say. You’ll use these numbers to tell your age, or to count quantities like how many bananas you want to buy at the market, and so on.

Just start with the Sino-Korean system lesson and learn to count to 100. Then move onto the next step. You can bookmark the lesson and then learn more about the native Korean numbers later.

Even if you aren’t using the correct number system when you speak, people will understand what you’re saying. That’s the goal—to get you speaking Korean as soon as possible!

Related lessons: Korean months, Korean counters

Step 3: Learn Korean Phrases

Online resource: https://www.90daykorean.com/korean-phrases/

To help develop your speaking skills, start learning the most common phrases for Korean language learning. Using these phrases will allow you to have Korean conversations quickly.

There are many phrases on this list, but you don’t need to learn them all. Just start with the essential and everyday phrases that will get you talking in Korean. These are simple phrases like “hello“, “excuse me”, and “thank you“. In other words, learn the phrases that are used in English most often.

Once you learn the essential and everyday phrases, consider adding them to your flashcard deck or notes so you can practice speaking them. Bookmark this page for later use, and move onto the next step.

Related lessons: Survival Korean

Step 4: Learn Korean Words

Online resource: https://www.90daykorean.com/korean-words/

Now that you know how to read Korean, the numbers, and some basic phrases, it’s time to learn some of the most common words in the Korean language.

Start by learning Korean nouns first. These are the words that you will come across most, so they will be the most useful when you practice speaking Korean. You may recognize some of these words that appear in the phrases you already learned. Some sound very similar to their meaning in English.

Learning Korean words alone will not be enough to start making sentences. However, when you know the Korean vocabulary well, it will help you to form those sentences. These are Korean words that you will want to memorize as soon as you can so you can start creating sentences.

The way you memorize the words is up to you. You may want to make associations in English to help you remember the Korean words and phrases that you are learning.

A great tool you can use to practice reviewing these words is the flashcard system called Anki. It allows for space repetition learning, and is quite fun!

Become familiar with these, and then move onto the next lesson.

Related lessons: Shortened Korean Words, Korean slang, Colors in Korean, Parts of the Body in Korean, Fruits and Vegetables in Korean, Animals in Korean

People having a conversation

Step 5: Learn Korean Sentence Basics

Online resource: https://www.90daykorean.com/korean-sentence-structure/

Once you have a handle on some of the basic phrases and commonly used words in Korean language, it’s time to start learning how to make sentences! This is one of the most effective lessons because you can make 30+ sentences by learning only a few words and endings.

Learning the sentence structure in Korean is quick and easy, which is great because it’s essential for speaking Korean. If you learn the Korean sentence structure with us, you can begin creating sentences in just minutes!

There are some additional Korean grammar sections in this lesson on sentence structures, but you can skip it for now. Just focus on the verbs and the conjugations, they will be the biggest help. You can go back and practice Korean grammar later.

Related lessons: Korean particles, Korean grammar, Korean conjunctions

Step 6: Practice with Conversation Partners

Online resource: https://www.90daykorean.com/korean-language-exchange/

Congratulations! You have now learned all of the basics for talking and having conversations in Korean. You have a fantastic framework for speaking Korean. That only leaves one more step: actually starting to talk in Korean!

Language exchange is one of the most popular ways for foreigners to practice Korean speaking. It’s also a popular way for Koreans to practice talking in other languages. That makes it a fantastic way to practice speaking Korean, no matter which level you are.

A couple sitting outside talking

You don’t need to be in Korea to have a conversation partner for Korean. We have compiled a list of great language exchange websites that you can start using today. You can also practice speaking Korean with a friend who’s learning the language so you can help each other learn Korean together.

Related lessons: Korean Texting, How to Meet Korean Friends Online, Korean emoticons

How to Talk in Korean Every Day

If you want to get good at speaking Korean, then you’ll want to maximize how much time you talk in Korean. You can do this by setting up your day to talk in Korean as much as possible.

How can I improve my Korean pronunciation if I don’t have any Koreans near me?

One way to do this is to send voice notes over KakaoTalk to your conversation partner. Then you can listen to your conversation partner’s voice message. Be sure to specify that you want them to talk to you in Korean. This is especially true if you share the same native language with your partner. Another way to talk to Koreans every day is to be mindful of how you set up your day. Here’s how.

Talk to Me in Korean, Please

You can get Koreans to talk to you in Korean no matter where you are in the world. If you visit a Korean supermarket or restaurant in your area, then you can talk simple phrases with the staff. If they reply back to you in English, you can ask them to talk to you in Korean.

You can say 한국어로 말해주세요 (hangugeoro malhae juseyo) or 한국어로 이야기해주세요 (hangugeoro iyagihae juseyo). They are similar to saying “talk to me in Korean, please”. You can also say 저는 한국어 공부하고 있어요 (jeoneun hangugeo gongbuhago isseoyo), which means “I’m studying Korean”. Remember to smile when saying it!

Practice saying “talk to me in Korean, please” on your own so you are able to say it when you need it. You might say it out loud by yourself a few times a day until it becomes second nature.

Remember the staff who talk to you in Korean

Some staff will like talking to you in Korean, so you can look for that staff person each time you visit. If they talk to you in English, just say 감사합니다 (gamsahamnida | thank you) and make a mental note for the next time. You can apply the same principles for talking in Korean if you are in Korea. Be mindful of how you set up your day, and you’ll be talking in Korean on a regular basis in no time at all!

How do you ask “Do you speak Korean” in Korean?

Learning the “Talk to Me in Korean, Please” Phrase

The phrases for “talk to me in Korean, please” and “I’m studying Korean” can be a bit long to remember. You may want to write them down on an index card and read them when you’re talking to the staff. Even if you have memorized the phrases, it will be good to have as backup.

There you have it--our framework and a step-by-step plan for learning how to speak Korean quickly and easily! We hope you love it and are ready to start talking using what you’ve learned right away.

If you liked this, then you may want to check out our in-depth guide on how to learn Korean. It contains everything we covered in here but also has extra lessons on learning other parts of the language to help you become a polished Korean speaker.

We also have a structured, step-by-step online Korean course that will teach you how to have a 3-minute conversation in the first 90 days. You can learn Korean from anywhere in the world using our fun and easy method.

How can we help you with learning to speak Korean? Let us know in the comments below!

    16 replies to "How to Speak Korean – Online Guide for Conversational Fluency"

    • Avatar for Karen Prado Karen Prado

      I don’t have anyone near me to help me through my Korean learning process. Would anyone care to help me practice? I’m still a beginner but it’ll be nice to have someone correcting and guiding me along the way.

    • Avatar for neha bhandari neha bhandari

      hi , the article was really help full . thank you so much. can you tell how to pronounce NEHA in korean.

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Thanks for the comment, Neha! Neha would be 네하 in Korean. ^^

    • Avatar for HAN-DA-EUN HAN-DA-EUN

      90 day Korean always help me in learning Korean and I thank you all and I’m learning Korean for like 3 months by now and my goal is to learn Korean by 5 months, can you help me? please?! can I learn from k-drama and K-pop faster then plz help me and I’m just 6th std and I have to cope up with studies as well so, pls help me and my dream is to be a K-pop idol and so I thought if I learn Korean I can be an idol and my confidence for being an idol can go up and up sooooo plz, pls, please help me

      thank you
      and any tips for learning Korean fast? if you have any share pls
      thank you

    • Avatar for Ruth Andrew Ruth Andrew

      Hi my name is Ruth how is it writing in Hangul

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Hi, Ruth! Please follow our instructions: 1. Try to sound out and write your name in Korean (한글). If you can’t read Korean, you can learn the Korean alphabet here, 90daykorean.com/learn-korean-alphabet. 2. please tell us how to pronounce your name! ^^

        • Avatar for Grace Reyes Grace Reyes

          my name is mia

          • Avatar for JANG-MI JANG-MI

            Your name will be written like a 미야(mi-ya, as Mia)
            hope it was helpful!1

    • Avatar for Sr. Christine Sr. Christine

      Peace and all good!

      Thank you for this information especially on the different links where in I could really learn well Korean language and understand it as well.

      God bless and be safe always!

      Sr. Christine, sfic

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