Speaking Korean: 3 Tips On How To Improve Your Accent
After dedicating a considerable amount of time nailing down your understanding of Korean grammar rules and expanding your vocabulary, you may think you are ready to engage in a proper conversation with a native speaker. But much to your surprise, your conversation seems to have misunderstood most of what you’ve said. Why is this so?
The ability to string together a coherent, logical sentence is not enough. While it is important to have a good grasp of grammar and use vocabulary in the right context, the way you speak matters as well. The other party has to register what you are saying and will only be able to do so if you speak with the right accent.
Developing the right accent takes time as you familiarise yourself with the various tones and different kinds of pitch that make up the Korean language. While the process may take a long time, there are still ways to enhance and speed up the process of learning Korean in Singapore. We have collated some tips for you to incorporate into your study regimen, so read on to find out more!
Listen attentively to native speakers
Without sufficient exposure to the language, you will not be able to mimic and follow a proper Korean accent. You can rectify this issue by immersing yourself in the Korean language through the consumption of Korean media. Media and entertainment is also an amazing way to make learning fun and exciting.
One way to start is to categorise the words and sounds into different tiers of familiarity. Next, as you listen to native speakers converse with each other, you ought to actively listen and look out for the foreign sounds that you may struggle with mastering. However, be sure not to neglect the basics as well!
While it is tempting to jump into K-dramas and movies immediately, the visuals and stories may be distracting as you try to actively listen. Instead, you can start off with audio-only sources, such as podcasts and radio shows.
Radio shows are extremely popular in Korean pop culture and feature a wide variety of guests, from pop stars to actors. They can also be easily found on YouTube with English captions. Podcasts are also widely available on streaming platforms such as Spotify, so it is easy to access these resources in your own time.
Try parroting the way native speakers speak
When it comes to correcting your accent, mimicry is arguably one of the best strategies to try. If you want to sound like a native Korean when speaking, pay close attention to how they speak and copy them as closely as you can. After all, pitch plays a huge part in speaking accurately. Hence, speaking with the right pitch and intonation is analogous to singing a song.
Practice makes perfect, but constant practise doesn’t have to be limited to merely listening and repeating after others. Sometimes, it will be more helpful to observe how native speakers talk as different sounds are accompanied by different mouth shapes and the position of one’s lips, teeth, and tongue.
For such an activity, it would be helpful to switch from audio sources to visual ones, so grab some popcorn and get comfortable while you watch and learn from your preferred Korean shows. If you are attending Korean language classes, you can also observe your instructor.
Periodically record yourself and evaluate your Korean
After familiarising yourself with how native Korean speakers verbally express themselves, it’s time to put yourself in your imaginary conversation partner’s shoes by recording yourself. As you listen to your recordings, you can evaluate your spoken Korean and accent from the perspective of a listener. The playback function will also help you identify the minor details you may miss in a conversation.
You can start small by recording yourself while speaking certain Korean words or phrases. Play them back and compare your accent with that of a native speaker’s. You should also review your pronunciation and the inflexion of your voice.
You don’t necessarily have to match your accent to that of your favourite actors. If you take up Korean classes, you can use your instructor as a point of reference. You also don’t have to restrict yourself to the usual study materials. Sometimes, a karaoke session with your favourite Korean songs or a scene from a K-drama may be what you need to spice things up.
Everyone faces difficulties with mastering the various sounds and tones of a language when they first start out. Don’t be discouraged when you find yourself struggling, but keep practising instead!
Sometimes, you may need a native speaker to help you master the intricacies of a language. Support your learning by signing up for Korean classes in Singapore, and you will be able to resolve this issue sooner than you think.