Below is a compiled list of Korean listening resources I’ve personally used at some point and would endorse for listening practice. The first section is the easiest stuff as they are created for learners. The rest are authentic material. As much as possible I’ve tried to include content that has subtitles, preferably in English and Korean. While I do think the resources below are genuinely very helpful for learners, more than that, I hope they give you some inspiration on the kind of resources you can search for.
TTMIK Iyagi. Enough said. If I had to choose the best resource available online, this would be it. And it’s free. Follow the link and scroll down to the listening & speaking section.
TTMIK Story time – Kind of like Iyagi, except it’s one person telling a story. It comes with the Korean and English scripts. Stories are interesting and its a great way to pick up new vocabulary.
KoreanClass101.com’s advanced blogs. These are similar to TTMIK’s Iyagi but I found Korean101 topics were generally more interesting than TMMIK topics. They label these lessons advanced but I think can suit anyone from intermediate level onwards. Unfortunately, the transcript is available only to subscribing members but I think it is certainly worth at least a one month subscription whilst you download all the transcripts. Shh… don’t tell anyone I said to do that.
KoreanClas101.com’s listening comprehension playlist. I really like this series they did. They play a short listening track with some visual elements, and at the end of it they ask you some listening comprehension questions. There are different playlists available for different difficulty levels. Unfortunately this is available only to subscribers, but in conjunction with all the other resources available, it is worth a one month sub to see if you like it.
Mastertopik. I’ve endorsed this one a number of times and have enrolled in two of their courses myself. It is a series of online lectures with difficulty levels corresponding to TOPIK. It is taught entirely in Korean. Unfortunately it is not the cheapest resource out there. The price is about $100 for 44 lectures, each about 50 minutes long. If you are looking for a primary study material to use on a day to day basis, I strongly recommend this if you can afford it. I would say if you finish an entire course and reflect, you will notice your listening would have improved a lot. (They aren’t paying me to write this!!)
Spongemind. They run a Youtube channel with a number of podcast style recordings discussing language learning. In several videos they record the conversation once in English and then again in Korean. I found this really helped me understand the difficult Korean parts that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to understand.
Youtube is a goldmine of resources. Below are some channels that I’ve used regularly at some point. They are mostly suitable for intermediate learners and above. But even if you are beginner you can still watch for fun and immersion as many of them include English and Korean subtitles.
Korean Saturday night live. Many of their videos have subtitles, you just have to search around a bit. Here are two of my favourites both with Kor/Eng subs. Interstellar. Street fighter.
Asian boss. They interview people on the streets of Korea (and other Asian countries) about topical issues. Quite interesting. English subs only
세바시. Korean version of TED talks. Many videos have both English and Korean subtitles, just find the Eng/Kor subtitle play list. If you email the subtitle author, they may send you a script of it.
포프리쇼. If you’ve ever read Chicken Soup this is kind of like that in theme. The speaker talks about life, self improvement, self love and that sort of thing. I love reading about self improvement and find this channel very entertaining. No subs.
Deeva Jessica. She talks about spooky scaries and also ran a series on English teaching, which I feel is actually quite good for Korean learners as well. No subs.
Solfa. Not sure how to describe this channel. They often do videos like “Korean tries American food”, or “Koreans review American products”. They have Korean and English subtitles sometimes.
먹방. I don’t know why but I like occasionally watching this while I eat as well. Theres plenty on Youtube, just pick someone you like =)
Podcast. This is a mobile phone app available on Google play. Not sure about Iphones. It has all the popular radio shows in Korea covering pretty much any genre you’re interested in. I listen to one with two women talking about child rearing as I find they talk a bit slower and clearer than some of the other shows. This will take a bit of experimenting to find one you enjoy and can understand.
Korean drama. Korean dramas are very different to Western TV shows. You can learn so much from them, particularly if you can get access to Eng/Kor subtitles. Viki is a website that offers a huge collection of Korean dramas often with subtitles in both English and Korean. There are a lot of famous shows you may have heard of such as Goblin, Descendents of the Sun, Healer, but I don’t recommend them for non advanced learners who are watching with the primary purpose of learning because they have difficult dialogue. My two recommendations are “Producer” and “The Package” because the language is the simplest I’ve seen in Korean dramas and the story is really great as well.
Meditation. The app is available on both Iphone and Android. Helps you relax and the vocabulary isn’t that hard. Plus once you listen to the same track a couple of times you’ll pretty much understand everything quickly.
Vlive. A live streaming services for celebrities. Celebrities use it to connect with their fans. I like watching the vlog style videos that some celebrities do. If you know 박보영 she has really great recorded videos of her chatting with fans. Many videos come with both English and Korean subs.
Test of proficiency in Korean. There is a listening exam component which you can use to either practise listening or use to gauge your listening ability. Link takes you to past papers you can download. Includes listening track and multiple choice answers.
KPop – Including here for the sake of completeness. You can easily search up the lyrics online as well. I don’t recommend using music until you have a very solid foundation, otherwise the often grammatically ambiguous lyrics may confuse more than help.
Lastly – language exchange. No brainer here, this is one of the best ways to practise listening. I really recommend you don’t skimp on finding a language exchange partner. There should be plenty of Korean people learning English in your city that will be happy to meet with you. You can meet them through Hellotalk, Gumtree (I’m not sure maybe American’s call it craigs list?), and some other websites that join you up with language learners.
4 thoughts on “Compilation of listening resources”
Can you recommend a good “absolute beginner” listening resource? I’m studying with TTMIK and finished Level 1. The 100% Korean dialogue at the end was still pretty tough, due to being the first time I actually listened to fluent Korean, and I think I need to practice more on that level to be better.
Then I checked out the Iyagi posts but they are for people who have completed lvl3+ as well.
I feel like, as someone not watchign K-drama or listening to K-pop I’m really at a disatvantage in terms of familiarizing myself with listening to Korean.
Hey eve. In my opinion if you are an absolute beginner the listening you’re doing isn’t so much to test yourself or to learn words or grammar from. It’s just to get used to hearing the language.
If you don’t know much words to begin with, how can you expect yourself to listen, right? I’m an absolute beginner in French and I spend way more time reading things because it’s just way easier than listening.
I would focus on going through the lessons and using a flash card system to learn all the words you encounter.
Oh, it may be possible for you to try the Korean 101 compréhension vidéos on youtube. It’s the 4th link I think