Learning Korean through webtoons is no doubt one of the best, most fun, and simplest ways to learn Korean. Especially if you already have a Korean webtoon that you love to read translated in English.
If you love Korean webtoons, you will love this method even more.
If you don’t really know much about webtoons and don’t know where to start reading, don’t worry, I got your back.
And if you’re one of the few people who just don’t like them, oops. This one is not for you, sorry.
But anyways, let’s move onto the good stuff.
How can this be useful?
Webtoons are fun, entertaining, and overflowing with naturally spoken Korean.
Think about it, every time you see a speech bubble, someone is speaking, right? And even when there is a thought bubble, they’re still speaking, just to themselves.
Korean webtoons also tend to be written by younger people who are more on the inside of trends and whatnot, so naturally, they will include very recent and relevant trends in their webtoons.
If it is appropriate, that is. It would be pretty weird to see BTS pop into a dystopian world where robots rule the earth or something. Unless that’s relevant for some odd reason…
Reading Korean webtoons to learn Korean is so fun, totally worth the headache on some days, and beats reading the news any day. Which, if you’re like me, the news is the last thing you want to read.
Not saying that reading the news is not beneficial, in fact it’s one of THE most beneficial and efficient ways to study spoken Korean, but I’m just stubborn and stay as far away from the news as possible.
Even celebrity news.
Like, no. Please.
Will it be easy because it’s fun?
That depends on your level, to be honest.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend taking it as easy as humanly possible. Don’t just see something shiny and jump into it, because you will fall hard.
When I was a beginner I found this webtoon on NAVER Webtoons called “Zero Game” and boy was that a slap in the face. It was so hard to read, I lost interest around the second chapter.
I still have it waiting to be read, but now I’m turned off by the length of it.
I’m picky and stubborn, I am aware.
But if you’re an intermediate to advanced learner, this can be a fairly easy task for you. In that case you should strive to find harder to read webtoons, or even look for light novels if you’re into actual books.
I didn’t even know light novels were a thing until last year and I’m honestly so mad. I love books and was always so intimidated by official novels, so I never tried.
That will change this year.
For my first webtoon that I actually read up to the highest point I could (because NAVER won’t accept my freaking age. I’m old enough to read it, damnit. Let me IN!) was “Distant Sky” and oh my god, what a great webtoon.
It’s so freaky and weird and just…creepy overall, but the plot is 10/10. I recommend. But season four is rated 19+ for gore and violence, so you have been warned.
But basically, it really just depends on your level, what you read, and how much you push yourself.
Now, you might be asking,
What should I read?
For beginners, I would recommend contemporary romances or something along the lines of a slice of life. Especially if it’s your very first webtoon in 100% Korean, I would say to stay in the high school lane. It’s just an easier read in every aspect and the humor is great.
If you’re really looking to pick up slang too, high school webtoons are the best for that.
For intermediate to advanced, you can literally read anything. Just try not to burn yourself out or read something that you wouldn’t typically read in English just because it seems more challenging.
You’ll hate it, trust me.
The golden rule for all levels would be to stick with things you already know you like. If you’re not into romance, then don’t read a romance webtoon. If the thought of a crime scene makes you feel like puking, don’t read a thriller or horror webtoon.
Now, onto the good-er stuff:
How to learn Korean through webtoons.
Let’s start from the beginners and then work our way up, shall we?
- Read every sentence displayed on one slide.
- Look up words you don’t know.
- Write the words down.
- Re-read the sentences with your newfound knowledge.
- DO NOT: Translate the whole sentence! This will ruin the exercise.
- Read every sentence on the slide aloud.
- Guess the meaning of the words you don’t know by the context.
- If you MUST look them up, try using a Korean to Korean dictionary. Only resort to the English to Korean dictionary when you just can’t get it no matter what.
- (If you needed to look anything up) Re-read the sentences.
- DO NOT: Translate a full sentence! This ruins the exercise!
Why do I advise you NOT to translate a sentence?
The big idea of this exercise is to get you used to thinking and speaking like a native Korean would speak Korean.
When you translate it into your native language, you’re not accepting the meaning of the language as Korean, but as “This word means this in English.” Which will slow your learning down. And in the long run it will slow your ability to process the language down, too.
Because when you hear the word or sentence, you will be used to translating it into English to understand it. So, your brain will do the same, taking longer to process the language.
I forgot who and where I learned this from, but it really helped me start to understand the language better and kind of make my speech more natural.
So natural that I started to react in Korean and even accidentally screamed “깜작이야” like a typical Korean Ahjumma when someone startled me at
It was funny because she was Korean and I’m over here in my all-American skin screaming in Korean.
Ah, the memories.
Bottom line is: When you learn a new way of communication, you must be all in.
That means thinking, living, and breathing the language as well.
My Korean Webtoon Recommendations:
I’m currently reading “Spirit Fingers” and “So, I married an Anti-Fan” which are both quite hilarious. I seriously think the anti-fan one is based on that Chinese movie that Chanyeol played in, but it’s not mentioned in any of the comments, so I have no idea.
But, so far so good, I guess?
I’ve also, as mentioned above, read as much as I could of “Distant Sky” and have yet to re-visit “Zero Game” but it looks pretty nice.
A more recent one that I couldn’t run from is BTS’ new webtoon, “Save Me” and oh my god, it has me feeling so many things. The first episode had me screaming at my dinner table.
“What is wrong with you?” Is what my sister said and what my baby brother was definitely thinking, as he was on my lap and I was reading it to him because he was too hyper that night and needed to calm. Down.
Popular Webtoons People Always Tell Me About But I Haven’t Read:
- Cheese In The Trap
- Terror Man
Soundof Your Heart (This is freaking random and hilarious, but yeah not my taste.)
- Ghost Teller (I actually have read some of this. It’s really good.)
*All of these links lead to the first episode of each webtoon.
Aside from those, there are so many to choose from. People upload new episodes every day, so don’t be afraid to look around and experiment.
Have fun with it!
Apps For Reading Webtoons:
And if you’re really unsure about reading a webtoon fully in Korean and feel like you may be missing some things here and there, you should get the Line Webtoons app.
But, I recommend reading the Korean first, building your own understanding of what is going on and being said, and then going to the translated version to test yourself.
Keep in mind that everyone speaks differently and thinks differently, so translations may not be your thoughts or conclusion word-for-word, but if you understand the overall meaning and context, you have successfully read your first Korean webtoon.
Did you find this helpful?
If you did, please share it with someone else who needs it or pin it for a quick refresher later!
I will be talking about learning Korean through other mediums such as KDramas, KPop, Korean variety shows, YouTube and more. So, if that is something that interests you, feel free to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.
As always, be happy, stay healthy, and keep learning.
Until next time, my fellow Lingo-geek!
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