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With Korean pop culture slowly but steadily taking the world by storm, it comes as no surprise that the Korean language is now one of the most popular Asian languages for non-native speakers.
Whether you’re looking to learn Korean language for travel purposes, or you simply want to understand K-dramas and K-pop even without subtitles, you have plenty of Korean language learning apps at your disposal.
In this post, we’re discussing 17 apps to help you learn Korean language, most of which are free to download.
- The Pimsleur audio course gets you speaking Korean with ease from day one.
- Rocket Languages is awesome for beginners who want to build their vocabulary and learn the Korean alphabet or Hangul.
- Italki and Preply are perfect for learners in need of affordable online tutors and native speakers to converse with.
If you’re looking for Korean translator apps, that’s covered in a separate article. Now, it’s time to find out which app suits you best. 갑시다! That’s Hangul for let’s go!
Editor’s note: To reach fluency faster, combine these apps with other resources, such as books, podcasts, online courses, videos and YouTube channels. For your convenience, we’ve compiled an epic list of 40+ Korean learning resources, including FREE ones.
Best apps to learn Korean for beginners
Mondly currently supports over 40 languages, including Korean, which you can learn in any combination. For example, you can learn Korean through Vietnamese, Dutch through Arabic, Norwegian through Chinese, and so on.
What makes Mondly even more unique is its use of advanced technology like augmented reality (only available in some languages) and chatbots in teaching language.
You can learn Korean language through Mondly’s short but frequent lessons. Daily lessons are bite-size and you can get daily reminders as notifications, keeping you motivated to learn.
Mondly is recommended for:
- Learners who want a gamified, competitive, and innovative learning experience
- Intermediate to advanced learners looking to brush up on their Korean vocabulary
- Those who are already learning Korean through other platforms. Mondly can be a great companion app.
Mondly is not recommended for:
- Those who want to deep-dive into the Korean alphabet and grammar. Mondly doesn’t provide a deep understanding of the Korean language.
Price: Mondly has a free trial which you should sign up for. The premium plan unlocks all content for $9.99/month or $47.99 for a year.
Pimsleur is a classic language program that’s been around for over 50 years. Named after educator and linguist Paul Pimsleur, the Pimsleur method is a scientifically proven set of principles highlighting how memory could be triggered to best implant a new language.
Pimsleur is one of the popular apps to learn Korean as well as 49 other languages. The Korean course has three levels, with core 30-minute audio lessons. Using gradual repetition, learners hear new words at gradually increasing intervals, and at each time they would remember longer than the time before.
Try the full Pimsleur program free for seven days here.
Pimsleur is recommended for:
- Learners who want to strengthen their Korean listening and speaking skills
- Those who want to expand their vocabulary and learn words that will come in handy when they travel to Korea
- Those who don’t want to sit through lessons. You can listen to Pimsleur’s audio lessons even while doing chores.
Pimsleur is not recommended for:
- Learners who prefer to start with Hangul first. The writing part doesn’t come until later.
- Advanced learners looking for more comprehensive lessons
- Learners on a budget. Pimsleur Korean language lessons aren’t exactly cheap.
Fancy learning Korean with Nancy of Momoland? Then Teiuda is for you!
Teuida is a Korean language learning app that helps you to learn Korean by actually speaking it. The app simulates real-life conversations, some with K-pop star Nancy, that will get you speaking Korean right away.
It’s one of the most unique apps to learn Korean and probably one of the best free options for those who want more speaking practice.
Teuida is recommended for:
- Learners looking for an interactive and fun way of learning Korean. The simulations are really engaging.
- Beginners who want to speak Korean confidently
- Those who want to learn real-life expressions from locals
Teuida is not recommended for:
- Learners looking for Hangul writing lessons. Korean alphabet is not at all discussed in this app.
- Sticklers for grammar rules
- Intermediate learners
Price: The first chapters of every level is free. The premium plans cost $9.99 per month, $20.99 for three months, and $59.99 for 12 months. These plans give ad-free access to all content, weekly content updates, pronunciation analysis, and more conversation practice with K-pop stars.
Rocket Languages is an online language learning platform that uses audio lessons, interactive exercises, and readings to help users learn a new language quickly, correctly, and confidently.
In addition to greetings, basic words, and conventional phrases, it helps you understand more about the Korean language by placing a high value on literacy.
The app has 32 interactive audio lessons, you get 120 hours of lesson time and 2,074 phrases with voice recognition. There are also 27 writing lessons that show how to read and write using Hangul, plus lessons on politeness level and honorific titles.
Rocket Languages is recommended for:
- Those who love learning languages through listening and speaking. You get high-quality audio materials and you get lots of speaking practice.
- Beginners who want a strong writing and reading foundation
- Those looking for culture lessons and practical vocabulary
Rocket Languages is not recommended for:
- Intermediate learners looking for more advanced lessons and examples
Price: On Rocket Korean, the introductory lessons in module 1 are free but the rest aren’t. Lifetime access to all materials is available for $149.95 or $27 per month for six months. Discounts are occasionally available.
Free apps to learn Korean
With over 300 million users across the world, and more than 90 courses in 38 languages, Duolingo is hands down the largest online language learning platform today. It’s also one of the most popular apps to learn Korean.
Duolingo employs game-like lessons, with fun and interactive exercises that encourage you to keep leveling up. It immerses you in repetitive information for longer recall, and then quizzes you right away.
Casual learners can learn Korean for just 5 minutes per day, but if you want to learn faster, you can set your goal to 20 minutes a day. And if you finish consecutive lessons with no mistakes, you can choose to skip the next lessons and level up faster.
Duolingo is recommended for:
- Learners who enjoy learning in a gamified way
- Those who can’t commit to long hours of studying
- Those who already have a basic knowledge of the Korean language but need brushing up from time to time
Duolingo is not recommended for:
- Absolute beginners with no basic understanding of the Korean language. Duolingo does not explain grammar and rules on usage.
- Those with no Hangul background. Duolingo does not define vowels, consonants, and how these letters form words.
- Those who wish to be fluent in Korean. Duolingo uses basic sentences that make it easy for beginners to learn but not enough for fluency.
Price: The basic service is free. Its premium service, Duolingo Plus, is ad-free, gives you offline access, and lets you make unlimited mistakes for $6.99 per month.
Another popular Korean language app is Memrise, with more than 50 million users in 189 countries.
Memrise is among the best Korean flashcards apps, using images, video and audio clips as memory aids for a fast and effective way of learning Korean.
Memrise incorporates rich, real-life expressions in its seven-course levels. It contains thousands of video clips of native speakers speaking in their native language. As a result, you hear the local pronunciation and accents.
Words and sentence examples are also practical and applicable in real-life situations.
Memrise is recommended for:
- Those who learn by listening. You can watch and listen to naturally-voiced audio and video clips and learn from real locals who give real-life examples.
- Learners who are already learning Korean through other channels (like other apps or books) and just want supplementary lessons.
Memrise is not recommended for:
- Those who lack self-motivation. This is great if you’re a disciplined and determined learner but if you’re a casual learner, it’s easy to forget to take your lessons.
- Those who wish to learn grammar lessons. Memrise prioritizes confidence to speak more than accuracy.
Price: The free version is good enough for casual learners. More serious learners who want full access to all language courses, more video and audio clips, and the pronunciation guide can sign up for Memrise Pro for $8.99 per month ($7.50 per month if you’re signing up for a year). The Pro lifetime version costs $139.99.
If you’ve been studying Korean for quite some time, you’ve most likely heard of TTMIK or Talk To Me In Korean.
Since 2009, the site has been building a library of quality audio and video Korean lessons. It has also published a series of textbooks and ebooks for beginners as well as intermediate learners who want to practice writing and reading Hangul.
However, the TTMIK website isn’t exactly handy when you’re on the go. Fortunately, James Ashe, a fan of TTMIK, created a free app for people who want to follow all nine lessons found on the site, all in English.
Albeit unofficial and stripped-down, KORLINK does the job of making TTMIK lessons more accessible on mobile and is one of the good apps to learn Korean.
KORLINK is recommended for:
- Those already taking the free TTMIK lessons but prefer studying on mobile.
- Learners who prefer grammar listening lessons over Hangul writing lessons.
- Those who learn faster with English instructions. The witty banter between Hyunwoo and Kyeong-eun is a plus.
KORLINK is not recommended for:
- Those who wish to access TTMIK’s premium courses, which you can only access through the official website.
- Learners looking for reading and writing lessons. Hangul lessons are part of TTMIK’s premium service.
Best apps to learn Korean alphabet
Another Korean flashcards app, LingoDeer is one the best apps to learn Korean. LingoDeer’s slogan is “learn languages smarter, not harder” and this evident in its design.
The lessons start Hangul and then proceeding with pronunciation and extensive grammar explanations. This makes it a great Korean language app for beginners who wish to build a strong foundation.
There are 3 levels, starting from Korean 1 to fluent Korean. A travel phrasebook is also available. All levels include a comprehensive introduction to the Korean alphabet.
LingoDeer is recommended for:
- Beginners who want to understand the rules of Korean alphabet and grammar. No guesswork here.
- Those who prefer lessons spoken by native speakers. LingoDeer has high definition audio recordings that help improve listening and speaking skills.
- Those who want different types of exercises in the lessons
LingoDeer is not recommended for:
- Learners who are looking for more speaking practice. The app is only as good as your phone’s speech-to-text capabilities.
- Advanced learners looking to be fluent. LingoDeer is a great app but it can only take you so far and you’ll have to move on to other resources if you wish to speak like a native.
Price: Introductory lessons are free. The Korean pass allows you to unlock all 200+ lessons, download and learn offline, and learn on mobile and desktop. This costs $11.99 per month, $29.99 for 3 months, and $55.99 for a year. A lifetime option costs $119.99.
Seemile has been churning out Korean lessons in video format on YouTube since 2010. The lessons range from beginner level to advance – starting out with animated videos on how to learn Korean alphabet, reading and writing Korean, and carrying out conversations like a local.
Learners can eventually move on to more advanced lessons that can help those who plan on taking TOPIK (Korean proficiency test).
The vast collection of lessons are available in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese. All of the good stuff from Seemile’s YouTube channel is available on its app of the same name, but in a more fun and handy presentation. This makes Seemile one of the best apps to learn Korean.
Seemile is recommended for:
- Learners who want exhaustive lessons on Hangul. Seemile is one of the most effective ways to learn Korean alphabet.
- Those who learn more through memory association technique. Seemile’s way of breaking down sentences into words accompanied by images is a great way to retain information.
Seemile is not recommended for:
- Those who are looking for a user-friendly app. The app’s interface isn’t exactly sleek and the ads sometimes gets in the way of what would have been a seamless experience.
- Intermediate learners looking to move on to more advanced levels.
Price: Free. Provides in-app purchases.
Best Korean learning apps for advanced learners
FluentU is a content curation platform as much as it is a language learning app, bringing language learning with real-world, pre-existing videos.
These videos, painstakingly transcribed and translated, are entertaining, timely, and diverse. You can learn through movie trailers, music videos, news content, and even inspiring speeches.
It’s a highly immersive platform that currently offers 10 languages, including Korean.
FluentU is recommended for:
- Learners who already have a strong foundation on Korean and Hangul. The video content is so diverse and helpful in widening one’s vocabulary.
- Learners looking for an entertaining way to learn Korean
FluentU is not recommended for:
- Absolute beginners and learners who can’t or are still slow in reading and writing Korean. There’s not enough writing practice and the lack of structure in the lessons can overwhelm beginners.
- Those looking for speaking practice. This is virtually nonexistent in FluentU.
Price: FluentU is free for 14 days. Choose between monthly ($30) or annual billing ($240) after the 14-day trial.
It’s impossible to meet a Korean who doesn’t use Naver, the Korean version of Google. Naver Korean Dictionary is the Koreans’ favorite online Korean dictionary, but to call it a dictionary is a misnomer.
The app is a hub for many things including a dictionary for Korean to English and English to Korean, a translation tool (Papago), a text recognition tool, and a search engine. Above all, it’s a great Korean language learning app.
Naver Korean Dictionary is recommended for:
- Beginner to intermediate learners who already have basic proficiency on the Korean language. Naver Korean Dictionary is a great reference tool and all-in-one Korean survival kit.
- Those looking to expand their Korean vocabulary. The wealth of words and usage examples in Naver Korean Dictionary is more than enough to keep you occupied.
Naver Korean Dictionary is not recommended for:
- Absolute beginners. Those with no basic grasp of the language will find this app overwhelming.
- Learners who want grammar lessons. The app doesn’t dive into the rules.
- Those looking for speaking practice. It has text-to-speech function but it’s not very useful.
- Those who are impatient and are not willing to invest some time in tinkering with the app’s functions. This multi-layered app takes time getting used to.
Best apps to learn Korean vocabulary
Drops is a Korean flashcards app that is in some ways similar to Duolingo and Memrise. Like the two, Drops teaches Korean in a gamified way and offers bite-sized lessons that help build vocabulary and phrase learning.
It does help that this Korean language app has a great design and is pleasing to the eye. Using a visual language learning method, you will drag and drop words to their matching icons, or vice versa.
Drops is recommended for:
- Learners who thrive in a gamified environment
- Those who don’t want to commit to long hours of studying Korean.
- Visual learners who enjoy learning through memory association
- Casual learners or intermediate learners who are looking for mental workout
Drops is not recommended for:
- Beginners. Drops does not help with building a strong Korean language foundation. It does not teach Korean alphabet nor grammar rules.
- Learners looking beyond speaking Korean. Lessons on reading and writing Hangul are seriously lacking.
Price: Drops is free but limited to five minutes of game play. You can extend the time limit for $8.49/month, $5/month for one year, or $149.99 for lifetime access.
Innovative Language 101 is the app version of KoreanClass101.com.
With over a billion lesson downloads since 2005, Innovative Language 101 has a wealth of new and archived audio and video lessons covering absolute beginners to advanced levels, making it one of the best apps to learn Korean.
Innovative Language 101 keeps on churning out new lessons so you will never run out of stuff to learn.
Innovative Language 101 is recommended for:
- Absolute beginners who want to learn useful, conversational Korean
- Those who prefer listening over reading. Listening to the audio lessons is a very convenient way of learning Korean.
Innovative Language 101 is not recommended for:
- Learners who want to learn Hangul. Explanation and instruction on Korean alphabet are lacking.
- Those looking for grammar lessons. There are grammar tips, however, these are usually in the context of the sample conversation and not as a general rule.
Price: The first three lessons are free, as well as the new lessons released every week. Basic to Premium+ plans are available, with prices ranging from $8 a month to $549 for 2 years.
Best apps to learn Korean from online tutors and native speakers
Learning Korean isn’t just about the grammar, spelling, or the vocabulary. Most language learners would say that what makes them feel fluent in any language is when they’re able to hold a decent conversation with native speakers. Strengthening one’s conversational skills is what makes Italki one of the best apps to learn Korean.
Simply put, Italki is a language learning app that adds a human element to the experience through human-taught one-on-one lessons done on video call, usually Skype.
Italki connects 5 million language learners with over 10,000 professional and community teachers who teach various languages, including Korean.
Italki’s strength is getting learners to talk and be more confident in speaking. But even beginners who want to learn how to write the Korean alphabet first can still get their writing checked and corrected.
Italki is recommended for:
- Everyone! Anyone who is serious about learning a language will benefit from the coaching that Italki tutors provide.
Italki is not recommended for:
- Those who can’t commit and have a hard time scheduling anything. You’ll need to schedule lessons at least 12 hours in advance so you can’t really be spontaneous about when you want to study.
Price: Varies. Teachers set the rates. Try it now.
Have you ever tried studying Korean and wondered, am I writing or saying this word right? You’ve most likely wished you had someone, preferably a native speaker, who can check your work and strike a conversation with you as practice.
That’s exactly what Tandem does and it’s one of the best apps to learn Korean if you want to talk to real people.
Tandem is a language exchange app that lets you master any language by actually chatting with real people. It has intuitive messaging features and language tools for language learning. There are lots of active language learners from all over the world so there’s no shortage of language partners.
It’s a highly social and collaborative space where you can meet people who share the same joys and struggles of language learning. You can also purchase lessons with Korean language tutors.
Tandem is recommended for:
- Learners looking for more excitement and challenge in their Korean language learning journey. Moreover, the social component of Tandem makes learning Korean more fun and forces one to learn new words to keep the conversation going.
- Those who like meeting new people and learning about new cultures
- Learners who are already studying Korean through other methods and channels. Tandem is a great boost to one’s Korean language learning but it can’t be your sole method of learning.
Tandem is not recommended for:
- Those who lack the time, energy, and determination to keep conversations going, especially with a stranger
- Absolute beginners who lack basic proficiency
- The anti-social 😆
Price: Free. Tandem Pro costs $9.99/month, $6.66/month for three months, and $4.17/month if you sign up for a year. This gives you unlimited translations, an ad-free experience, and lets you find language partners in the same city.
Eggbun promises a fun way to learn Korean. And it’s pretty much able to achieve that. The app itself looks fun, with its beautifully designed interface and Lanny, the cute egg-looking chatbot and mascot who acts as your Korean language tutor.
The app has over 1,000 lessons encompassing beginner to advanced levels. Learn about Hangul, greeting expressions, how to introduce yourself, Korean expressions in everyday life, and even learn business Korean. It’s one of the best apps to learn Korean if you’re looking for an interactive and fun experience.
A feature that isn’t readily visible is the Eggbun School, an 8-week class that connects you to a Korean coach that you can converse with as well as classmates whom you can engage with on a KakaoTalk chat room.
Eggbun is recommended for:
- Beginners who want to build Korean alphabet writing and reading skills first
- Learners who want reading and writing practice in a fun and interactive setting
- Learners who want to know more about Korean culture. The Culture Notes section is very informative.
Eggbun is not recommended for:
- Those looking for more speaking practice. There is some on Eggbun, but not a lot.
Price: Free with limited features. Eggbun Premium unlocks all content for $4/month or $22.5 annually. Eggbun School Premium costs $179.
Similar to Italki, Preply is an online platform that connects students around the world. What makes Preply different is that it can connect you to tutors who teach subjects on any topic, not just languages.
Feel like dipping your toes in first? You can use the free trial before signing up for regular classes.
Preply is recommended for:
- Beginners to advanced learners who need coaching from native speakers. Your satisfaction with the app will largely depend on how comfortable you are with your chosen tutor.
Preply is not recommended for:
- Those who are not patient enough to schedule a tutor in advance
Top tips for learning Korean
Learning a new language can be daunting but it can also be fun. Now that you have a list of handy Korean language learning apps, here are some tips and tricks to help you be successful:
- Learn Korean alphabet first.
I cannot stress this enough. It’s nice to be able to say a few Korean phrases here and there but your romanized “kamsahamnida” and “saranghaeyo” can only get you so far. Learning Hangul is fairly easy if you have the correct teaching material and/or instructor. Being able to read and write in Hangul will help you learn the language faster.
- Listen to K-pop and watch K-dramas.
This is the easiest way of immersing yourself in the Korean language if you’re not in Korea. This will help train your ears and over time, you will learn to recognize words and phrases. You might not understand the words right away but it’s good listening practice and help you improve pronunciation. Take it further by listening to Korean-only podcasts or watching TV shows without subtitles.
- Invest in resources like Korean books and paid tutors or courses.
Investing in tutors such as those on Italki is well worth your money because it gives you the kind of coaching and correction that you won’t get from isolated learning. Furthermore, textbooks, albeit traditional, are helpful in studying grammar rules. The same goes for online Korean courses.
Get a comprehensive list of resources in our article on the best books, websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, and more to learn Korean!
- Don’t forget jeondemal (polite and formal language).
Korea is big on politeness levels and hierarchies. You may think you’re fluent when you can string words together but you will not impress locals with your banmal (informal speech). There’s a reason why -nida and -yo exist in most Korean sentences and it’s important to learn this if you plan to talk to locals.
- Practice makes perfect.
Okay, maybe not perfect. Even expats who have been living in Korea for quite some time can still fumble with the language. But with consistent studying, exposing yourself to the language on a daily basis, and lots of determination, you can be as fluent as you’d like to be.
What are you waiting for? Take your pick from these apps to learn Korean, download, and start learning! 파이팅!