Living Language Korean

A Review by

Korea’s been getting a lot of attention lately. From BTS to K-dramas, the world is starting to look at Korea and with that, plenty of people are starting to show interest in learning the Korean language. But the thing is, there are plenty of language learning programs out there and not much knowledge of which ones are the most effective and which ones aren’t.

Recently I looked at the Pimsleur program, which relies mainly on auditory immersion. You can check out my review here.

But what about the other programs out there? Living Language is another one of these language learning programs that I’ll review today!

How does Living Language work?

According to the website, there are four steps to Living Language’s programs.

The steps seem fairly simple enough. It starts with learning the basic words and phrases, progressing into full sentences and then conversational Korean. The program also includes exercises that really drill the language into your head, similar to how Pimsleur does it by making you recall different sentences and phrases by memory. Then finally, you’ll be able to develop a rather practical understanding of the language, applying these skills to any situation.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Unlike Pimsleur, Living Language provides not only audio but written and online (visual) content so that you can really retain what you’ve learned. Written content includes an 80 page book that shows you how to read and write in Korean, which I find to be really cool! Learning how to read and write in Korean definitely helps when you’re trying to learn how to speak the language.

Something I like to do once I learn a new language is writing flashcards or little stickers containing each word I’ve learned and then sticking them onto the corresponding object. For example, if I wanted to remember how to say “mirror” in Korean (which, by the way, is 거울), I’d write “거울” on a sticker or a flashcard and stick it onto a bathroom mirror. The bathroom mirror is a great place because it’s something I look at multiple times everyday. So when I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth (or popping blackheads, because it’s SO SATISFYING), I’ll see the word and repeat it to myself. It’s an actually helpful technique!

Speaking of flashcards, the course also includes those, as well as quizzes and games to make sure you stay engaged. I know it can be hard to pay attention sometimes, but the games and quizzes really help deal with that problem.

The Verdict

I think Living Language Korean is a great program for learning the language. I found the materials to be comprehensive and they covered the really important parts of the Korean language. There are a few things I did want to point out though.

  1. There isn’t much on culture, which I think is an important part to learning any language especially if you are planning to go to a country where that language is spoken. While it might be harder to include culture in languages that are spoken by multiple countries (ie Spanish), Koreans is mainly spoken by… Koreans. So I wish there was something about the culture on there because it not only makes the course even more interesting, but can also add some nuances that I think are important for learners to know.
  2. There isn’t a lot of advanced material for those who want to take their studies further. Most Living Language programs offer an Essential course, as well as the Complete and Platinum courses for those who want to learn even more. However, their Korean course only includes the Essential and Complete. The Complete course is supposed to include more advanced components of the Korean language. However, I wish there was even more advanced content.
  3. Unlike Pimsleur, this is a course that you’ll have to sit down and work through. While it does include audio content, as I mentioned earlier it also has workbooks, flashcards and online components. So it’s not a good program to take with you if you’re planning to learn while going for a jog or commuting to work.
  4. E-tutoring is also apparently available so if you’re lost, you can consult an online tutor. However, they require credits. The online course comes with a few free credits, but you’ll generally have to buy them.
  5. The content might be a little fast paced for beginners, but you can always take a moment to pause and catch up.
  6. The online content isn’t always very engaging. The games and quizzes might help, but other parts can be a drag.

That being said, I really think that this is a great course for people trying to learn the Korean language. There are two courses from Living Language, as I had said earlier: Essential and Complete. The Essential covers the basics of the Korean language and is catered to the beginner-level learner. It contains one coursebook and three audio CD’s. It’s also cheaper. The Complete course includes more advanced topics, three coursebooks and nine audio CD’s. It’s more expensive, but it’s still very much affordable.

I’d recommend this to people looking for a more intensive study of the Korean language, especially if you’re looking for a course that provides both audio and visual/written content!

If you’re interested in buying yourself a copy, I’d absolutely recommend it and I will link both courses below. Feel free to take a look at Amazon user reviews and get yourself some Living Language Korean today!

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