Korean Language and Culture

An introduction to Korean language and culture for any student wishing to learn the basics of Korean language and become familiar with the culture, traditions and lifestyle. No prior knowledge of Korean required, however students may benefit from learning to read the Korean alphabet in advance (Hangeul). Over the past 10 years, Hallyu, otherwise known as the 'Korean Wave' has started to take off in the West, bringing more students to the Korean language from not only Asia, but all over the world. With around 77 million native speakers, it is one of the most commonly spoken languages on the planet. With a rich traditional culture that is heavily reflected in the language, students will be introduced to Korean language through a different cultural theme each week. Skills to use in conversation, reading, listening and writing will be developed at a level suitable for beginner users of the language.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


  • Integrated Korean: Beginning 1, 2nd Edition (Klear Textbooks in Korean Language) 2nd Edition - Young-Mee Cho
  • Culture Shock! Korea: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette - Sonja Vegdahl, Ben Seunghwa Hur


  • Introduction to Korea and Korean Language: Exploring what students already know about both modern day and traditional Korea. Looking at Confucius and King Sejong as two main figures influencing Korean culture and language. Introduction to Hangeul (Korean alphabet) and basic greetings in Korean.
  • Food Culture: Why is food called ‘bap’ in Korean? How central is ‘bap’ to Korean culture? Looking at famous and not so famous Korean foods and learning how to express yourself when eating and ordering in Korean. Looking at a basic sentence structure. Discussing ‘kimchi making’ as a cultural activity.
  • Seasons in Korea: Why are seasons are so important? Exploring seasonal foods and popular places to travel in each season. Looking at words and basic expressions related to travel. Exploring a Korean destination via Google Earth and describing it using basic adjectives.
  • Festivals and Celebrations: Exploring annual celebrations in Korea and the foods and other activities associated with them. Looking at Korean age vs. Western age, as well as how to express ‘time’ in Korean. An introduction to Native Korean numbers to express time and age.
  • Music in Korea: A look at Korean musical genres and traditional instruments. Discussion on the role of music in Korean television dramas and in the spread of the Korean Wave (Hallyu). Learning basic sentences and vocabulary related to music and singing.
  • Hallyu in Depth: How the Korean Wave began and what does it exactly entail? Exploring Hallyu around the world (the West vs. East) and discussing what can affect its continuing success. Learning how to ‘talk’ to a celebrity at a sign event.
  • Sport and Health in Korea: What are some traditional and popular Korean sports? How important is sport to Koreans on both an individual and national level? Learning the names of sports in Korean, and different expressions to discuss the popular topic of health. Exploring other ways that Koreans keep healthy, such as Korean traditional medicine and Jimjilbang (bath houses).
  • Social Issues and Changing Mindsets: South Korea is a paradox of traditionalism and progressivism. The South Korean economy has grown rapidly over the past 60 years, making South Korea into a global superpower. However, while younger generations are adopting Western culture rapidly, older generations maintain their traditions. This lesson allows students an insight into social issues in current-day Korea, many of which can be linked back to the nation’s rapid development. Particular expressions and vocabulary relating to social issues will be explored.

Additional lessons may be planned based on student demand for content of particular interest. During lessons, students will communicate with each other using a variety of platforms, including Quizlet, Kahoot, Mentimeter and Zoom.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Discuss different aspects of Korean daily life and culture in English with family and friends
  2. Communicate using a range of basic sentences in Korean to suit a variety of contexts
  3. Understand vocabulary related to Korean daily life and culture
  4. Understand basic grammar concepts in Korean such as sentence structure and particles (josa)
  5. Read or at least be able to describe the Korean alphabet and its conventions

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