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I'm planning to attend a weekly course for Korean starting on Thursday 27 April. I have about one or two months before the course starts (I'm doing a Russian course for one more month, but I could drop it if having two months of study before the Korean course starts is beneficial)

My goals for Korean are fairly basic: to be able to read out loud written text (at least that written in print), learn a few phrases, and some vocabulary.

What can I do in the weeks before starting the course that will not be rendered redundant during the course, nor actively cause me confusion while I'm doing the course, nor cause me to obtain bad habits?

I assume that learning pronunciation, reading, and vocabulary are likely to be "safe" things to learn before the course, while grammar is more likely to either be redundant or cause confusion.

I'm open to taking private lessons, or purchasing learning resources, and I have some commute time where I can use my iPhone. I'm especially interested in learning enough Korean so that I can start using Anki to enlarge my vocabulary. I could just have private tuition without attending a course, but I like the social aspect of courses.

(This question is almost identical to a question I asked on Language Learning, but I hadn't got a response there)

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  • I think the easiest thing to do before starting would be to memorize the alphabet, and learn about how a full syllable is formed using a consonant and vowel character
    – user17915
    Mar 28 '17 at 11:15
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Naturally, because the course starts from the basics, there's almost nothing you can do to directly learn the language that won't be likely to overlap with the course. It might be perfectly legitimate to not try to do too much in advance, but instead, to use your free time now to clear life's TO-DOs out of the way so that you can focus as much as possible on the course material while you are doing it!

One thing you could do to prime yourself without overlap could be to immerse a little in Korean culture - films, songs, foods - so that you are motivated and 'in the Korean mood' when it comes to starting the course.

If you don't mind starting some material that will overlap with the course a little, then your idea of learning Hangul and some basic vocabulary sounds good. If you know Anki, then the deck Korean Vocabulary by Evita might be of interest for vocabulary, as it contains audio for most of the easier words.

Once you have learned Hangul, one thing you could do that would give good foundational knowledge from a direction that wouldn't usually be covered in a beginner's Korean course would be to learn the Hanja that are the roots of a lot of more advanced (but also some very basic) Korean vocabulary. This is especially relevant if you have any interest in Japanese or Chinese language.

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I would suggest first learning to read and write Hangul, if you haven't already done so. Hangul is the Korean language alphabet.

You can also go through some free online tutorials, such as Online Korean Program via HUFS and Pathway to Spoken Korean via OSU.

Echoing the above comment, if you wanted something that wouldn't really overlap that much with anything you learn in a beginner's course, you could study a few basic Hanja, which are Chinese characters used in Korean. You could start with learning some basic characters like those used for numbers, days of the week, seasons, etc.

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I recommend to try this way.

  1. Find Korean TV series you like.
  2. Watch with Korean subtitle.
  3. Study transcript and memorize them.
  4. Watch the video without subtitles over and over until you are totally accustomed to the scene.

I think studying the episode 5 minuate by 5 minuate is better than studying 1 hour episode at once.

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