4 free apps to learn/practice hangul (korean alphabet)

2:32 PM

There are many resources out there on the internet that will teach you how to read hangul. When I was first starting out, I knew I needed to find an app on my phone that would teach me. My goal was to use it wherever and whenever I wanted, so a website or a book weren't my first choices.

Back then I was a proud owner of a humble iPhone 4 I suffered tremendously to save money for (yes, this is key info you must know before you start learning hangul, trust me). I did find a great App that taught me fast and effectively. But I paid for it, and I'm pretty sure it's only available on iOS. 

Recently, I received a question on tumblr; an anonymous person who wanted to find some free and trustworthy apps to learn hangul. Since the one I used wasn't free, all I could recommend was Eggbun. 

But this question got me thinking. What other free apps are out there to learn and practice hangul? To find out, I went on a little trip to the Google Play Store (because I am now a proud owner of an Android Smartphone), and I put together a list of my four favorite ones!

I've listed down what I liked about them and what I thought wasn't so great, all in bullet points so you can easily pick the one that you think is right for you. 

(They're in order of preference)

So, here they are!

1. Eggbun

Favorite app to learn and practice hangul

I already knew of this one, and used it along with two of my friends who started learning korean recently. I downloaded it again and investigated a little further on my own this time around.

It’s actually my favorite out of all the others I tried.

What I liked

  • It's divided into lessons so it's great for complete novices who know absolute zero of hangul
  • It works like a text messaging app. It's like you're talking to a cute egg that's teaching you how to pronounce a whole new alphabet, and the egg is pretty nice to you. It trusts you. It thinks you’re smart, you're kind, you're important
  • Each lesson is divided into Learn, Review Listening, and then Review Writing 
  • It has more lessons outside of hangul so you can use the same app even after you learn how to read
  • Teaches you the name of the letters
  • The whole app is like a breath of fresh air. Very cute and simple to use
  • You have a tab that features all the characters & you can click on them to hear them being pronounced, great for when you suddenly have a doubt about how to pronounce a character or you want a quick comparison between two or more characters!

What I didn't like

  • You can't pause a lesson halfway and get back to it later. Once you leave you have to start it all over again

In summary

  • Does something no other app I’ve tried does: it makes you practice writing hangul on a keyboard, and do it fast like a native
  • You’ll learn vocab at the same time!
  • Earns points for cuteness and how nice the teacher egg is to you

It’s ideal for those who are just starting out and have no previous knowledge whatsoever of hangul. Plus, if you want to use just one app to learn hangul and then the basics of Korean (like expressions, vocab & grammar).

Note: it’s also available for chinese and japanese

Available on: Google Play Store & App Store

Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

2. Pop Popping Korean

A great and fun app to learn and practice hangul

I found this one because the user tomasrosicky on tumblr recommended it. And, oh, am I glad I found it! It’s the most entertaining app out of all four!

What I liked

  • there’s a cute version of Arirang playing sometimes
  • It’s got super cute cartoons
  • My absolute favorite feature: shows the mouth/throat movements you have to do to properly pronounce the letters
  • It’s fun! There’s music, and cute cartoons and features that feel like you’re playing a game. It made me laugh even!
  • Also awesome: there’s a feature for you to learn the sounds applied to words and it pronounces the sound separately when you - literally - pick up a letter (and if you keep it in your finger for a while it’ll say it over and over in a really funny way)
  • Also great: it contains info about the history of hangul, Kim Sejeong the Great & more! 
  • This is amazing: it shows you how the consonants sound when they're at the bottom of the letter (for ex: how to pronounce ). I haven't found this in any other app!

What I didn't like

  • Doesn't have the material divided by lessons so it’s better to use for reviewing and consolidating previous knowledge (otherwise you might find yourself lost)
  • It only works in landscape mode and therefore isn’t as convenient in terms of usability
  • Music might become annoying after a while

In summary

  • The most fun app you will probably ever get to learn hangul
  • It doesn’t forget to tell you about the history of hangul & other fun facts (King Sejeong was indeed Great)
  • Actually shows you the mouth/throat movements you have to do to properly pronounce the letters, which no other app I found does quite as well
  • Doesn’t have lessons so you’re kind of on your own when you use it. Therefore, it’s better for practicing and reviewing, not for those learning for the first time.

Available on: Google Play Store & App Store

Rating: ❤❤❤❤♡

3. Hangul (Korean alphabet)

A great app to learn and practice hangul

What I liked

  • This app seemed to be sincerely concerned with teaching me how to read Hangul properly; the way it’s set up made me feel like its priority really was to teach me properly and guide me through the journey
  • It’s divided into lessons so I’d say it’s pretty good for someone with no previous knowledge of hangul whatsoever
  • It has quizzes for each lesson
  • Features lessons on both Reading and Writing hangul (with sound & animations)
  • It has a lesson on the history of Hangul (which I love and recommend everyone to learn, please!!)
  • It has a separate tab with a chart containing all the characters of the Korean alphabet, great for revising and for when you have doubts about how to pronounce certain characters!

What I didn't like

  • The app’s logo is kinda creepy and the use interface could be a lot better (as in, prettier, more modern). But these in no way affect your learning experience.
  • Not as fun to use as the others - feels more like learning from a book than the others

In summary

With this app you can learn:
  • How to pronounce characters and letters
  • How to write characters and letters
  • The History of Hangul

Note: It's also available for Japanese and Arabic!

Available on: Google Play Store & App Store

Rating: ❤❤❤❤♡

4. 한글공부(따라쓰기, 단어, 문법)

A great app to learn and practice hangul

Using this app, you will probably feel like a child again. But it made me smile, and dance. Maybe I’m the one who is easily amused, or maybe it really is a cute and fun experience!

What I liked

  • It’s primarily in Korean so it gives you a more immersive experience
  • You get to write the letters on the screen at the same time as you're hearing them being pronounced. Pretty great to train how to write! You can even pick the color of your virtual marker. (Yes I get very excited over this stuff)
  • Trust me, you will learn how to say “GOOD WORK!” and “TRY AGAIN!” in Korean after using this app for more than 5 minutes
  • You can also use it to learn some vocab (even take quizzes) although I'm not a fan of how the app chooses to do it
  • Teaches you the name of the letters

What I didn't like

  • The audios congratulating you might (probably will) become annoying after the first few times you hear them
  • Works only in landscape mode
  • The music in the menus might annoy you after a while
  • It doesn’t teach you how to pronounce double consonants

In summary

With this app you can learn:
  • How to pronounce characters and letters (except double consonants (ㄸㄲㅆㅃ)
  • How to write characters and letters
  • New beginner vocabulary
I think the best feature in this one is the letter handwriting practice!

Available on: Google Play Store

Rating: ❤❤♡♡♡

After trying out quite a few apps on my phone, these were the ones I found the most useful. In truth, I would personally recommend learning with Eggbun and then using Pop Popping Korean to practice and perfect your pronunciation. But the point of this whole list is that you pick the one that you feel will work best for you, so feel free to try them all.

Did I miss any great apps to learn Hangul? Have you used these before? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. One, thank you for taking time to research these apps! I myself am guilty of searching 'hangul' on Google Play but the results would always be overwhelming. You're amazing, Maia, for compiling this list <3

    Two, I'll keep saying this numerous times but I'm in love with your writing style so much!!! It's informal, cute and makes me smile~ or I am just whipped for your blog // u //

  2. I'm a software engineer on Eggbun Education.
    I am so glad to see this article while I was working in a cafe.
    We are focusing on making people who are just beginning to learn Hangul improve their basic skills without giving up.

    Please let us know if you have any any ideas. We will do everything we can.