Tell us what frustrates you about Korean at Lingq?

Hi everyone,

We trying to make improvements in Korean at LingQ.

That said, we thought you could share your perspective on what factors kill the positive user experience when learning Korean at LingQ.

Second, we are about to introduce transliteration to Korean. Do you think that would cause any difference for total beginners who can’t read the script yet?

Thank you.

P.S. Please specify your level in Korean when answering.


Hey Костя,
adding a transliteration is a great idea. I know that experienced Korean learners look down on this and feel it is superfluous. But to me it would be the difference between learning Korean using LingQ or doing it elsewhere. I would probably just get a textbook to get started or look for other learning resources online. I did play around with Korean on LingQ, but not knowing the script made the process so annoying that I quickly deleted the language again :slight_smile: I might try again in the future though.
LingQ’s official introduction to the Korean writing system was not particularly elucidating: The LingQ Korean Grammar Guide - Alphabet
I would’ve preferred a more traditional introduction, comprising e.g. consonants: initial, final, aspirated or tense; vowels; and an explanation on how syllable blocks are constructed; and maybe even some exercises. But what is most sorely missing is audio, especially since the transliterations are said to be somewhat inaccurate. It is just really difficult to learn a writing system in isolation to the sound system. So, even after perusing the official introduction I find myself completely unable to even approach “LingQ 101 -Getting Started” - I can’t read a single word. It is of course possible I missed something or just didn’t do it right. But learning Korean on LingQ seems unusually challenging, even more so than Chinese or Japanese which already feature romanization. (I don’t know in how far this problem affects Arabic, Persian Gujarati etc.).
My level in Korean is zero (0), I know nothing.


I just wanted to comment on the transliteration. If we are talking about the english letters next to the korean.

The korean alphabet is easy to learn but the major problem with transliteration versus say japanese kana is there are so many sound changes rules for example ㅂ ㅁ ㄴ ㅈ ㄷ ㄹ have different sounds depending on the place in the word.

ㄹ can make an L sound if there are two touching like 골라 = go+ la
it can make a tap/soft d noise like the american pronunciation of wa(t)er like in 때리다 = de +dee +da when it touches vowels or is in the middle of words.
or at the beginning of words it makes a softer than english but distinct l noise like 라면 = la + myun this is ramen but with in l sound at the beginning.

this is just the ㄹ block so a computer will not transcribe these noises correctly like the example below also with the doubles and stressed consonants ㅃㅉㄸㄲㅆ and ㅋㅌㅊㅍ transliteration it just ignores these. If korean didn’t have these letters and sounds it would still use characters (think japanese) because of lack of sounds/combinations etc.

transliteration puts ㅂ ㅍ ㅃ pretty much as the same noise either p or b but just cause a level 0 person doesn’t know the difference doesn’t mean it is not important. The korean vowels are also tricky like 아 어 오 우 으 some people cant hear the difference between combinations of these but in order to hear anything one needs to learn these.

한국은 네 계절이 뚜렷하다.

Hangugeun ne gyejeori tturyeotada. (the tranliteration)

it should be hangoogun neh Gay-jul-dee Doo-dyu-saa-da
the difference between these if they arent that big of a deal then there is an argument for having it, but korean without hangul is like if chinese ignored tones or characters etc just because they are “harder” does not mean they should be ignored.

The only critique for lingq of korean is the sheer amount of word forms in the other post we talk about how reaching 200k+ known words in korean is very common for people who become fluent in the language. This is not the case with other languages but I don’t know if there is a solution for this. Korean is just a hard language its backwards still basically uses characters for vocab (stupid amounts of compound words), and has more grammar forms than japanese by a long shot.

it is hard to acquaint my korean level I have studied hanja extensively and probably know a few thousand words (its hard to quantify this because of the compound like nature of the vocab) I would say I have a low a2/high a1 level with extreme vocab potential (1400 hanja). I have also spent a lot of studying what makes korean hard as it doesn’t use characters but is still considered a category five language by FSI etc. People with higher korean levels will be more adamant than me for hangul because it is the life blood of korean and it takes a week. Hangul is absolutely necessary by the way haha aka transliteration can be added for people that want to learn it like that but please make it be able to be toggled off completely.


I can’t read the letters, so I’m missing latin sliblings for spelling. In Japanese they have it. So it’s easier to learn Japanese as Korean.

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Are there any intermediate learners who think that romanization was helpful for them?

My impression is that anyone who advances past A1 decides it was a waste of time to not master the Korean alphabet right from the beginning,

P.S. level ➞ somewhere past B1 trudging to B2


Thank you. We’ll add the shortly.

It’d be great if you all joined us in the Korean library studying Korean! But I absolutely recommend learning the Korean alphabet elsewhere first.

There are a couple of Korean teachers I like who have made videos teaching the alphabet. I learned the basics decades before YouTube existed, so I haven’t watched these particular videos myself, but I highly recommend these channels for any level:

Miss Vicky

Learn Korean with Go! Billy Korean

P.S. Don’t be disheartened by the fact that I’m only at B1 after starting Korean decades ago. :joy: I started learning but then stopped, and then did absolutely no studying at all for decades. And only restarted again a couple of years ago.


Hagowinchun, Tamarind, and Bamboozled, I thank you all for your thoughts.
I’ll get started by mentioning my level of Korean, which is zero. However, my life is intimately connected with Japanese, to Chinese to minor extent, which gives me a naive and deceptive impression it’s somewhat similar to Korean.
Korean is a hard nut to crack. No doubts about that. However, I’d like to point out the sheer fact my questions is related to total beginners such as me. That said, hat’s off to Bamboozled who accurately has described the fist impression of a Korean newbie LingQer. Intimidating. I don’t really know what to refer to. Even Arabic doesn’t seem as hard to figure out. Therefore, I would appreciate at least some crutch that would look like transliteration. You claim it’s lame and accurate? Good to know, but I’ll figure out that later when I master hangul. But now get me at least something to start with or I simply walk away.


the alphabet can be learned just by practicing syllable blocks like the following
(audio is needed in order to learn how these are said transliteration is just bad as these sounds dont exist in english) they are much softer and more east asain sounding or korean sounding haha.
가 고
나 노
자 조
바 보

and then combinations
바보 =idiot (pa-boh) ㅂ = p at the front of words but b every where else. These p and b noises are approximations as the p and b in english are different than every other p and across every language.
가고= verb to go + and particle same thing here ㄱ at the beginning makes more of a k sound and every where else it makes a g sound.
자= x person sleeps
바나나= banana
조= said like “joe”
there are courses like this in the lingq library? lingqing out the syllables is no help so like @Tamarind said just learn outside of lingq for 5-10 days and your ready to go. The most annoying part is how people say its the easiest alphabet but tackle it with the tenacity and resolve of any other alphabet and you will be better than fine.


Now this video I did watch just because it’s so charming. We all have to start somewhere!


I have been learning Korean since last September on my second attempt. I rate myself an A2 in reading and listening in Korean. The first one I made three years ago and failed, in which I learned up to 300ish words and gave it up. However, I attribute the difficulty of learning to a different writing system in Korean and a need for more solid motivation at the time. Nonetheless, as a beginner, transliteration is a distraction that interferes with the more natural acquisition of Hangul compared to simply listening and matching the pronunciation to the actual words in Korean IMP.

Studying the word list with the shared word stems by the Chinese characters could be tiresome. The purpose of Chinese characters included at Krdict is for the learner to distinguish the different meanings of a particular word or words. These Chinese characters could have been represented by symbols or in another language, Pinyin, binary codes, etc.

Learning Chinese characters may only be necessary after the intermediate level, even though it’s more intuitive if someone has good knowledge beforehand. 동학 is a classmate in English. Most nouns in Korean have a secondary literal meaning besides simple translation, which applies to verbs as well since we can make some nouns in Korean into verb forms.

One of the literal meanings of 동 is “same”; I would be more inclined to associate it with con in contemporary or co in a coworker or colleague. Now, 동창 (attending or studying, a traditional way and still in use) under the same window as a classmate, 동학 studies together for a classmate, and 동료 officially holds a position at the same time for coworkers or colleagues is more understandable with knowing the literal and comparable meaning in English. We can deduce meanings for 동기 동+기(period) and 동시 동+시(time) with fair easiness.

We must remember that one of the literal meanings for 동 is associated with the definition above. We use it to at least notice the same component in the new words with the shared stem, and a direct association between the actual Korean expression and the literal meaning is better than with 同, tong, or con, co, or 1001 if someone does not have a good knowledge of that representation.

By the way, 원 means a member from another post you quoted aligns with the ending like -er, ee, an, ist, etc. Another way is to associate 원 with the stem “essence,” as in quintessence for a secondary meaning, as opposed to the given definition of a prefix used to mean original or raw. 원주민 aborigine, 원래 origin, and 원칙 rule; principle are a few examples related to this one.

It will be keen to discover the similarities of shared stems between Korean words and yet to distinguish differences when the circumstance does not apply.

이번에 한국에 와서 우리 영국 고딩들이 할 수 있는 여러 체험 중에 한국 학생으로서의 하루를 꼭 경험하게 해주고 싶었어요.

체험 and 경험 are similar but a little bit different in their usage.

카이는 만두는 만들어도 바느질은 못해요.

만 in 만두는 and 만들어도 share nothing in meaning. 만 has other meanings which can be used as a stem but not in the context from above.

I recommend implementing a function allowing Librarians to denote general stems in the context. It will be a great addition to have a recording of the learner’s speech compared with the audio in sentence mode.


I’ve been using tags to input general stems. Initially, before I got comfortable with inputting tags, I would just make a bracketed note at the bottom of my definition but I don’t do that anymore. Here’s an example of an older definition with stems, both in tags and with a bracketed note.

Ideally the order of tags would match the order of the definitions but I can’t control how the tags are listed. And I only have so much time to fuss over definitions (I probably spend too much time fussing already).


Fully agree! I used the same videos by the way.

Personally, my impression is that romanization could be harmful to the learning process. If it’s there, I naturally tend to look at it. So, dear LingQ-Team, if by all means you should decide to add romanization, please offer at least the option, not to show this / to turn these off. Otherwise this would be a typicall ‘Verschlimmbesserung’ (German expression of an improvement that actually makes things worse).

My level: Beginner 2 with 4830 known LingQs as per today.


For me LingQ generally works quite well for Korean, at least since I got past the initial beginner stage. For the first steps in Korean and other languages which are quite different from the ones I already know, LingQ does not seem to be the best resource anyhow in my opinion. I tend to look for other resources first and then start to use LingQ more regularly.

My biggest challange for Korean in LingQ is currently to figure out the meanings of (some of) the endings. Available translations often only provide the meaning of the verb stem, but not always the complete meaning of the endings. Some useres have already provided very helpful translation and I guess this issue could greatly improve over time with more experienced users adding such explanations.
[Note: I am aware that grammar books also help with this, however it takes time to work through those.]

Korean romanization does more harm than good in my opinion.

My level: Beginner 2 with 4830 known LingQs as per today.


The request for a crutch (from Lotsawa) is understandable. I have been using a crutch myself - although a somewhat different one: I have been using some of the korean mini stories from LingQ. Here is an example for mini-story number 20, part A:

This is a literal translation which I have created.
~ indicates a name
particles, counters etc. which have no English equivalent remain unchanged (in grey color), the same goes for parts I don’t understand yet.
Colors: I have highlighted some words which I had trouble remembering.
중: generally translates to middle, here; among [I already knew this, so I didn’t need a note]

How I work with this type of crutch:

  1. Create the word-by-word translation (export korean text; add spaces between words; add literal translation which I get from LinQ). This requires some effort, but is part of the learning process
  2. Listen to the sound of the mini-story and read only the English literal translation at the same time (not the korean text - that comes later). Repeat…

I have done this for approx. 30 mini-stories (part A only) and I would use the same method for other languages that appear challenging to me, like Mandarin Chinese, Japanese or Greek. The literal translation helps me to get a feeling how the grammatical structure works in the target language - probably a much bigger challange for most learners than the korean alphabet 한글. Once I don’t need the crutch any more, I will throw it away.


I do try to input clearer definitions for the endings, but not always. It can get really complicated with distinctions that either don’t exist in English or are not simple to describe.

Lately I’ve been copy pasting Naver’s long explanations into ‘notes.’ But that vocab area is not shared with other users. Perhaps it should be?

An example. It’s found in Naver by adding the ending after a hypen in the search window,


And this is how it looks in my word definition. The definition is clearly not just ‘as a missionary’ but it’s difficult to nail down so I keep it simple for now.


I concur with the excellence of LingQ as a great tool in providing such a fantastic platform. As for the meanings of the endings, the cross-reference between Prof. Yoon’s Korean language course for Integrated Korean, Cyber University of Korea courses, and even the Lingq Mini story has served me well. They are available at Lingq or can be imported easily. Following more structured courses at the initial stage effectively builds a solid foundation.


I recommend beginners and even users at the initial intermediate level adopt one or at most two definitions related to the context. The user understands the general stem’s meaning more intuitively by the context, and maybe just a downward arrow above the word is needed for them to notice other words with the same stem in the future.

Learning the general stems using Chinese characters helps very little before reaching a B1 level. I had my share of struggles with the language, even if I am fluent in Chinese. Following is what I think about the Chinese language as a deciding factor in acquiring Korean vocabulary and grammar.

Before getting a foothold in Korean A1 - A2
Chinese character 10 %
For one point, I wanted to block off the Chinese pronunciation while keeping the knowledge of the definition.

Others, such as grammar, etc., 20%
Familiarity with Hangul’s writing. 40%
The pronunciation, 30 %
My mastery of Hangul and pronunciation is at 60% and 70%, respectively, contrary to the popular belief of learning it in two weeks.

From B2 - C2
Chinese characters 20%
More literary and high-register words

Others, such as grammar, context, topics, etc., 50%
Familiarity with Hangul’s writing. 15%
The pronunciation, 15%

I am more inclined to encounter words with common stems through reading instead of studying from a list, and perusing the dictionary is just a review instead of learning. Another great thing is reading the monolingual definition under the Korean entry in Krdict.

화재 (火災)
집이나 물건이 불에 타는 재앙이나 재난.
A calamity or disaster in which houses or possessions are burnt.

재 is repeated in two more words, and 불 is the equivalence of 화.


Following is a typical sentence from folktales 외국인을 위한 한국어 읽기 at Lingq.

부부는 열심히 일했지만 가난했다.
I don’t know. My mind has a mysterious way of making a connection out of nowhere. A Korean language learner could do the same with tons of noticing things in the language even without deliberately studying Chinese characters.


Yes, since I don’t know Chinese (and don’t remember much Japanese) when I hear homonyms my mind immediately jumps to the common use native Korean word meaning. It’s an advantage when first learning in that it’s far more useful for daily life Korean. Also makes reading A2/B1 material much more straightforward.

I can imagine that having your mind jump first to higher level Sino-Korean word meanings will cause a lot of initial confusion.

부부는 열심히 일했지만 가난했다.
Although the couple worked hard they were poor.