In the old days, your only option to learn Korean was heading to the library and hoping they had a language textbook there. Spoiler alert—they usually didn't, or if they did, it was terrible.
Now learning Korean, or nearly any other language for that matter is easier than ever. All you have to do is unlock your smartphone and download one of these amazing apps.
Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a perfect Korean language learning app. Even though studying Korean is more popular than ever, there just aren't nearly as many resources out there as compared to Spanish or romance languages.
With that said, however, you can cover a lot of ground by combining different types of apps to target the different areas of Korean you need to learn.
Along with the right course materials, videos, and maybe some conversation partners, these apps will give you everything you need to speak Korean like a native in no time.
Complete Korean Course Apps
Getting started in Korean and want to learn all aspects of the language? The first two Korean learning apps in this section will suit you perfectly. The third one works for beginners as well as anyone with some more Korean experience.
Learning any new language can be tough—especially one as different from English as Korean. That's why LingoDeer focuses on a simple building block approach that focuses on getting you speaking from day one!
Rather than work through random lists of words and phrases, as you'll find with many other apps, LingoDeer focuses on fun lessons that blend vocabulary and useful everyday sentences.
It also features achievement trophies and other quizzes to help keep you motivated until you have really nailed the basics of Korean.
#2 Rocket Languages: Korean
Rocket Languages is actually one of the older language learning software programmes back when things were on CD-ROMs. Founded in 2004, they've helped millions of users around the world learn a large variety of different languages.
You can now use their app to practice the essentials of Korean. You'll master essential words and phrases, listen to Korean pronounciation, and use voice recognition tools to check your pronunciation.
Rocket Languages also includes step-by-step explanations of Korean grammar to make it easy for you to master all the tenses and more.
KoreanClass101 was one of the original online resources dedicated to learning Korean. If you were an early fan of Psy, K-dramas, and kimchi, this was where you went. Similar to Rocket Languages, you can also find SpanishClass 101 and many other languages.
Several years ago, KoreanClass101 became available on mobile apps— taking all of their great lessons, notes, premium tools, and more to mobile devices. What's cool is that their system is fully integrated so you can easily move between a lesson you started on your computer and pick right back up on your phone.
Another thing that sets KoreanClass101 apart is you can find all the materials you need, whether you're the newest beginner or can speak the language fluently. If you're looking for a one-stop-shop to learn Korean, it's hard to beat KoreanClass101.
#4 Talk To Me In Korean
Similar to KoreanClass101, Talk to Me in Korean (TTMIK) is one of those absolutely legendary Korean language learning tools.
TTMIK's website is a massive repository of everything you ever want to know, starting from the absolute beginner levels of the language all the way up to nuances you see and hear in TV and movies.
Along with this, they have a wide variety of lessons, podcasts, and PDFs to give you plenty of language tools.
The app takes all of the great resources and puts them all conveniently on your smartphone. You'll not only have access to listening lessons, but also YouTube videos, speaking practice, and more.
If you want to learn Korean with plenty of English explanations, relevant examples, and fun hosts, then TTMIK is definitely something you should check out.
Learn Hangul (The Korean Alphabet)
I've explained before how easy it is to learn the Korean alphabet (Hangul). But if you want to practice your reading skills while you're on the go, it's hard to beat the convenience of an app.
Here are the best apps for learning Hangul:
If you want to quickly get the hang of how Korean looks and sounds, check out TenguGo. The app is almost solely focused on teaching the alphabet through fun and quirky animations.
But that's not all you'll get with it. Another part of the app, “The Secrets Hangul,” provides helpful tips about why the language works the way it does.
Whether you're an absolute beginner or have been learning the language for a while, this provides information that will help you get a more solid grasp on the basics.
#6 Hangul Punch
Hangul punch is a fun way to get the hang of the Korean alphabet. It turns you into a boxing star who's punching their way towards learning how to read.
You'll see key Korean sentences that are broken down into Hangul. Your job is to match the options with the correct transliteration in English. The quicker you punch, the more points you score.
You'll not only practice the alphabet but also learn vocab and pick up some useful Korean sentences.
Unfortunately, Hangul Punch is no longer available on iOS, but Infinite Korean brings a similar concept of using the addictive quality of gaming to make learning Hangul a blast. Infinite Korean is available on both iOS and Android.
Survival Korean Applications
Sometimes you just need to pick up some Korean quickly. Whether your train is pulling into Seoul Station or you'd like to impress someone special, these apps will help get the hang of a few essentials in a hurry.
#7 Learn Korean
Learn Korean, which is part of a series of foreign language apps, provides practical words and phrases in fun themed categories like Shopping (“What size is this”), Eat (“Is this spicy”), and more.
For each vocabulary word/phrase, you get the Hangul and Romanized spelling and an audio clip that you can play at normal or slower speeds. In addition, you can record your own voice in the app and compare it with the clip.
Best of all, LearnKorean adds new phrases and categories somewhat often, so you can always come back to the app to learn something new.
#8 Pimsleur: Korean
Pimsleur takes a different approach to learning Korean. While it certainly makes an excellent option as a comprehensive language app, it's also really helpful for breaking down Korean into quick and digestible bits.
Each lesson is broken into 30-minute audio clips based on recall and speech. The goal of it is to teach you how to speak like a native in 30 days.
But it's so portable and flexible that you can also use it for quick survival Korean lessons. Although it's mainly an audio learning tool, it includes Digital flashcards and matching games, along with a component called “Speakeasy: Conversation to help you engage with Korean on a variety of different levels.
FluentU immerses users right away in Korean language and culture, while being much more fun than traditional textbooks.
With FluentU, you get real-world videos, including news, movie trailers, show clips, and music videos that are turned into language learning lessons.
If you're looking for an app that will help you take the step from book learning to real-life communication, this will be right up your alley!
#10 HelloTalk Language Exchange
We all know there's a massive difference between knowing how to read a language and some vocab words. And actually speaking it. More than anything, speaking is the key to unlocking everything learning a language can do for you.
HelloTalk matches you directly with people who are fluent in the language you want to learn (i.e., Korean) and who want to learn whatever language you're fluent in. Most likely, you'll be paired with a Korean conversation partner who wants to learn English.
Think of it as the modern version of a pen pal where you can not only have an excellent opportunity to practice Korean as it's really spoken, but also make a new friend.
Korean Dictionary And Grammar Apps
When you start navigating the Korean language, you'll soon find that Google Translate doesn't always get things right, or it will use non-standard words.
Use these excellent grammar and dictionary apps instead:
Most Korean is consistent. That means you can expect it to follow specific rules when moving between the past, present, future, other tenses. Even still, it can be confusing for new learners, especially when you move into all the different versions of formal and informal.
Dongsa translates from the Korean word “verb.” This is precisely what it focuses on. It helps you conjugate verbs so you can see what they look like in each of their forms from the highest level of formality you'd use when speaking to royalty over 100 years ago, to the casual banter among friends today.
The app is super easy to use, too. Just put in any verb stem (the part that ends in 다 or ‘Da' in English), and Dongsa will do the rest for you.
#12 Naver Dictionary
Forgot about any other dictionary app, and go with Naver.
Naver is a massive search engine company (similar to Google) that you can find throughout all aspects of life in Korean. Their dictionary app is what Koreans actually use to learn idioms, slang, proper usage, and more when they're learning English.
Fortunately, the app works both ways for those looking to learn Korean and is a great way to find the words Koreans use in everyday speech along with example sentences and audio clips. In total, there are over 6.8 million Korean words with 2.84 million examples.
Korean Test & Quiz Apps
Got a Korean language exam coming up? Or just want to test your vocabulary knowledge? Then the last 3 Korean learning apps on this list are for you!
#13 TOPIK One
The “Test of Proficiency in Korean” (or TOPIK) is one of the highest standards for proving your competency in the Korean language via its exam.
TOPIK One gives you a real version of the test split into beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels that you can use to practice.
Within each section, you'll practice Vocabulary and Grammar, Listening, Reading, and Writing. This is especially useful once you've gotten the hang of the basics and are ready to see your progress and specific areas you might need to work on.
Memrise is a flashcard app that extends well beyond Korean to cover a vast range of different languages and other courses.
However, the cool thing is that you can use flashcards that link directly to famous Korean language courses and textbooks, allowing you to take your learning on the go.
In addition to simple memorization, you'll also have mix-and-match games, writing challenges, quizzes, and other prompts that will ensure that Korean vocabulary and grammar will really stick in your brain.
The developers of Drops have one main goal, “to take the boring out of language learning.” It definitely is fun.
The app focuses on vocabulary and phrases rather than grammar, and moves quickly through games and quizzes while giving you a fun mental workout.
If you want to rapidly learn some handy vocab and try something different from the usual flashcard approach, then Drops is perfect.
Best Applications To Learn Korean
There you have it. 15—technically 16—amazing Korean language apps.
There are other good options out there. But these top the list for being comprehensive, easy-to-use, and give a solid bang for their buck—especially when many of them offer a lot of their lessons for free.
As amazing as these apps are, however, they're meant to complement the Korean language studies you're getting elsewhere, from a more structured Korean course for example.
Take your Korean skills to the next level and check out these best applications to learn Korean now.