Please refer to Audio Recordings - Introduction, to learn about "WHY" listening to Korean is so important in learning Korean.
Welcome You All to the Korean Language Guide!
This blog was first created in 2006 as an experiment to help people who would like to learn Korean language online by providing some basic grammar lessons on Korean.
Over the years, I was able to put up more and more Korean language lessons online, and as of now, in January 2011, there are more than 70 online Korean lessons in this blog.
The principles in writing these online Korean language lessons have been that I remain intentional about making them as easy to understand and readily applicable in daily life as I can, and comprehensive enough to cover major points of the Korean language which includes both the Written and Spoken forms.
Now, what do I mean by written and spoken forms?
In Korean, the verb endings change depending on whether the language is used in writing or speech.
Note: In Korean grammar, the verbs come at the end of a sentence. For more on the sentence order, please read Sentence Order.
For example, "나는 학교에 갔다" which means "I went to school" is a written form, and "나는 학교에 갔어" is a spoken form.
- 나는 학교에 갔다 = I went to school (written form as in writing, books, diary and newspaper)
- 나는 학교에 갔어 = I went to school (spoken form as in conversations, movies and dramas)
As you can see, the ending of a verb changes from 갔다 to 갔어, both of which mean "went".
Therefore you'd write in one way but speak in a slightly different way. But don't be too alarmed at the difference, as there are simple patterns to it, and you'll get to learn them along the way.
It is also important to learn the differences in degrees of formalities in the Korean language.
There are three major types in the degrees of formality:
In expressing the politeness in the speech, Korean differs from English in that the verb endings change depending on the age and rank of the person being addressed to and the social setting one finds oneself in. For example, when I'm asked, "Where are you going?" I might answer, "I'm going to school" in the following ways:
- 학교 가 - [Informal, to people of the same age as me or younger than me, especially among close friends]
- 학교 가요 - [Polite, to people older than me, and in formal social situations]
- 학교 가는 중입니다 - [Honorific, this is rarely used in normal conversations. I would say this type of speaking is only found in very formal settings such as on the news or in the army.]
You would use the polite form even when the person you're speaking to is of the same age as you or younger than you if you're not very close to the person and/or you're in a formal social setting. I'd say it's best to stick to the polite form first and then use the informal form later as you gain more understanding of the Korean language.
The major mark of the division is probably the age. The polite language is used to people above one's age and informal language to people equal to and below one's age.
However, generally, the polite language is generally used in many social situations and the informal language is usually used among close friends.
I am trying to lay out some basics to the language of Korean. However it'd be good at this point to dive into the lessons and learn them for yourself.
You can start reading the Korean language guide on this website, Learn Korean: LP's Korean Language Learning, from the top to bottom in the order as it's designed to guide you from the basics to intermediate and advanced Korean lessons.
Before you go, here is a bit of history of 한글 (Hangeul, the Korean alphabet):
Korean is the official language of Korea, both North and South. There are around 78 million people who speak Korean around the world. 
한글 (the Korean alphabet) was invented by Sejong the Great in the 15th century. Before that time, people used Hanja (the equivalent of the Chinese characters) which was not only difficult to learn but was also considerably different to the Korean grammar and sentence order. 
한글 is a phonetic writing system which means that the words correspond to pronunciation.
The English alphabet is phonetic whereas the Chinese characters are not.
If you learn the English alphabet, you can read an English writing fairly well although you may not understand the meaning.
Korean is even more phonetic than that of English and many other languages, in that each consonant and vowel in Korean mostly have only one sound.
- ㄴ = n
- ㅏ = a (as in car and mama, short sound)
Following the guide for the Korean language down the column on the right-hand of the page, we're now moving onto learning the sounds of the consonants and vowels of 한글.
You'll learn to write and pronounce each of these consonants and vowels, and how to form a character in this next lesson.
Keep on reading!
I hope you enjoy this journey of learning a new language!
I think it's always exciting to learn a new language! ;D
 Wikipedia: Korean language, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_language#History, accessed Jan 2011.
 Wikipedia: Sejong the Great, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sejong_the_Great#Hangul, accessed Jan 2011.