My listening skills in Korean are extremely bad; I seek to improve them. Sadly, I'm having trouble finding any material online that I can actually understand because I have not studied with the goal of TOPIK exams (so I have studied material that is not on those listening tests).

I'm having trouble finding something right. It's either insanely easy, basic phrases spoken slowly, or difficult Korean spoken too fast.

  • How can I improve my listening skills in this situation?

  • Would it be best to practice with a native speaker who will use the Korean I know?


4 Answers 4


Try to find something broadcasted/recorded that also has a transcript. Take the transcript and completely translate it, or at least, look up every unknown word and difficult/unfamiliar phrase.

Now listen to the broadcast/recording and experience hearing what you are expecting to hear. The ability to listen comes from an understanding of expectation of what you will hear. Since we are not native, we don't have any pre-concluded expectation, and so, we mis hear everything, until we are so familiar with phrases and vocabulary that we can predict the next word in a sentence.

The only way to do that is by translating and then listening. For my personal experience, I translate the sermon at our Korean church each Friday (or Saturday if I'm behind). Then I listen via a headset and verbally translate while reading my fully written translation. My ability to understand the vocabulary and phrases of sermons has catapulted into a new arena.

If you want to be able to understand the News or Weather broadcasts, translate them. Get used to the sequeways and types of phrases. With weather less so, but with News the vocabulary will always be expanding, so while that is problematic, if you are translating and then listening to a particular type of speaking, you will get better at it through this method.

  • Is there anything online aimed at learners of Korean? I bet there's something out there. Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 8:54
  • Have you tried the TTMIK Iyagi series? From your question, it sounds like these might be the perfect level. They are aimed at intermediate learners, and are a unscripted conversations between two native Korean speakers, but toned down a bit from a full native conversation. There are also transcripts and vocab available. talktomeinkorean.com/category/lessons/iyagi-intermediate Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 5:19

Talk To Me In Korean (TTMIK) has just published a video aimed specifically at people with your needs:


I do not know if this is going to be a new series of video. I hope so.


One possibility I've used is to cut and paste bits of Korean text into google translate (or one of the other ones) and click on the read button...it will read it to you in a neutral, standard Korean voice. If you click the button twice it will (usually...) read it slower. There are also browser add-ons that can read Korean text.

There are also children's books that come with a CD of the MP3 files, that you can read along with. I also have used these, and still do. The problem with the children's stories, though, is an abundance of rarer words and phrases seemingly passed down from antiquity, and a lot of descriptive words and names of animals and things you won't use much. But they are good just to get used to various combinations of letters. Another good thing about these is that each story or character in a story is read by a different person, so you get used to male, female, old, young, and other variations of voices.

These kinds of books are designed expressly for Korean children to learn their own language...doesn't get much better than that, when you think of it. It is also very instructive to analyze the grammar, as well as note the differences in the spoken parts, the different speech levels, etc. You can get a lot out of some of these if you look closely. If you want titles I can get those for you when I'm at home later...


You should try out Parrot (http://meetparrot.com). It's for video chatting with Koreans. 7 minutes of only Korean, and then 7 minutes of only English. It's really useful for speaking as well as listening. enter image description here

P.S. I'm the creator of the app, so any suggestions are welcome! :)

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