How to learn Korean vocabulary faster

Whether we love learning Korean language or are required to learn it without much consideration to our preference, we all want to do it quickly. After all, time is limited, but maybe even more important, at least when our confidence is concerned, are doubts that riddle us if we don’t learn as fast as is expected.

Interesting that the first (and usually the only) culprit identified is our intelligence. If we are not learning fast enough then surely we are stupid, naturally untalented, and must hide our shameful brain before anyone notices. Yet very few of us realize that throughout our lives we are taught much about many things, but the knowledge we actually need for knowledge itself: how to learn.

And even fewer were taught how to learn in accordance with the newest insights into the science of learning and using what neuroscience knows about how the brain learns best.

Let’s try to correct that oversight, at least a little bit.

Some of this advice is specific to learning Korean vocabulary, some to language learning and some to learning in general.

  • Make sure you learn Hangul well. Hangul is Korean alphabet, specifically designed for Korean words and sounds. Romanization is like trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. Use Hangul from the very start. Of course, you need to know Hangul well to properly learn Korean vocabulary, but luckily it’s a positive feedback loop – the more words you learn the easier reading Hangul will get, and the better you are at reading Hangul the easier you will memorize the spelling and pronunciation of Korean words.  (If you don’t yet know Hangul I wrote a How to learn Hangul guide.)
  • The more ways you immerse yourself into the vocabulary you are trying to memorize the quicker your word recall will be and more chances that you will store the word into your long-term memory for good. So make sure you expose yourself to the word in the two passive ways – listening and reading, but also various active ways – talking, chatting, writing, reviewing, or even just thinking about how you would use the word.
  • Stretch your studying over longer periods of time in shorter sessions rather than cram all into one day and then leave large breaks in between. You wouldn’t expect to be stronger the morning after doing a dangerous amount of pushups after not having exercised in a long time (or ever). Don’t expect of your brain what you don’t expect of your muscles. You need to be consistent, so leave enough energy each day to study soon again. Also, you’re going to have to be in it for the long haul. Revise what you had learned. Science says “use it or lose it.”

WRITING IN PROGRESS. CAME BACK SOON.

Now that you know how to learn Korean vocabulary quickly, you may want to know where to get most useful words. Head on over to

► 10 best ways to learn Korean vocabulary

Some of the advice above is from my own observations and experience, but most are collected and compiled from books I have read about studying and the science of learning. Here they are in case you want to read more:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. At no additional cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post that lead to Amazon pages. Read more.

The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony With Your Brain, by Terry Doyle, Todd Zakrajsek

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