APPly Yourself

When you’re a full-time student and you have a job (like me), or you just have too much on your plate, it can be difficult to devote any amount of time to learning a new language. I have over a hundred pages of notes on Korean now, and I have a little book and a notepad in my phone, both of which I fill with phrases/words that stand out to me. I work hard to learn, but I don’t always have a few hours to study grammar.

Thank goodness for smart phones. There are so many apps out there to help with learning a new language, and a ton of them are great. I personally enjoy Duolingo for Spanish and French because it allows you to read, write, listen to, and speak it, which is an incredible feature that lots of other apps don’t have. It has a variety of languages, but I mainly used it to brush up on Spanish; however, it didn’t have Korean, which is my main focus at the moment.

**Note: I have an Android, so I don’t know if all of these apps will be on iPhone.

Last night, I went through and deleted the language apps I don’t use as much or at all, but I still have four separate apps for learning Korean. I’ll go through them, starting with my favorite.

1. Memrise

I literally just started using this app yesterday, but it’s already my favorite. For starters, it has an incredibly long list of languages available to learn, including Latin! Under the language categories, you can choose different types of lessons. Because I already know the Hangul alphabet, I started immediately with Integrated Korean Beginning 1. Each course has different levels, and as you get better and learn, you earn points and level up.

It’s cute because when you learn something new, it’s “planting a seed.” As you become better and more familiar with the word, it grows until it eventually blooms into a flower, signifying that you have learned and memorized the word.

After learning and reviewing new words, there is a speed test, and you try to quickly choose the correct answer. That also has helped me become a faster reader of Hangul. My pronunciation has also gotten better because it reads some of the words out loud and quizzes you by having you either spell or select what you heard.

The app also helps me practice my spelling a lot, which is a difficult area for me because a lot of the sounds are similar and unfamiliar to me.

2. Learn Korean Words and Test

So this one is called “Learn Korean” (The logo is just ㅎ. It’s by Boreumdal Lab.) and I have been using it since last semester. It is also a vocabulary app designed to help you learn 300 words in 30 days. It separates the list into days with ten words each. It’s recommended that you know Hangul before using it. Even though you can select to have Romanization (Roman letters, like in English) displayed, it is much easier to read in Hangul and understand the pronunciation.

It also has example sentences, so you can practice conjugations and application of the words. There are multiple test options, and you can practice writing, reading, listening, and speaking.

My favorite aspect is that you can set an “unlock test,” which requires you to answer a question by completing a sentence or selecting the meaning before you can access your phone. You can bypass it by pressing the home or back button, but it really helps to give yourself that extra little practice.

The only warning I will give is this: Make sure your media volume is turned all the way down because if you accidentally press the sentence in the test, it will read it out loud. I accidentally pressed it during class once and freaked out because it was yelling at me in Korean at full volume.

3. Korean Grammar Haja

Haja (하자) means “Let’s do it,” by the way. It’s by Korean Haja.

This app is great for picking up little notes about grammar rather than learning vocabulary. It has information on all sorts of things and sections for important things to remember.

It also talks about the conjugations and particles for verbs, adjectives, and nouns. It really is just a grammar app, and I haven’t found any like it.


4. Learn Korean Vocabulary Free

The logo for this one is the Korean flag, and it’s by Language Courses SL. It is a really good vocabulary app, and when you start a new course, it reads out a list of words in English and Korean, goes back through the list quickly, then tests you on them. The lessons are separated by level or by style.

It isn’t my favorite, but it is much better than a lot of apps I have used in the past. Because it reads the words aloud, it helps with listening and pronunciation practice. It also lets you set your own goals.


I’m sure there are many other amazing apps out there, but these four are my favorites. I am still interested in other languages, so I have kept my eyes open for others. As far as Japanese Kanji and Kana, Kana Mind by Zeh Fernando and Japanese Kanji Study by Chase Colburn are great apps. Duolingo is a great one for a variety of languages; but Memrise is the best, in my opinion, because of its versatility, the practice and review styles, and the amount of languages offered (88!!).


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