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      January 24, 2020

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Living Language vs Pimsleur

To help you find the Best Korean Lessons, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Living Language and Pimsleur.

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Learn Korean with Rocket Languages Today! With more than 71 million people worldwide who speak Korean, an increasing number of providers are offering lessons to help people progress in their use of the language. Whether you have ancestry in North or South Korea, have business interests in Korea, or you're fascinated by K-Pop music and want to sing along fluently, these language programs can teach you how to speak, understand, and often write in Korean.

You may not know that Korean differs significantly from Chinese and Japanese in terms of its writing system. Where Chinese and Japanese both use a character-based method, Korean is based on an alphabet known as hangul (or hangeul). Here, symbols represent consonants and vowels much like the English alphabet. This can make the learning process easier for students, as they only need to memorize symbols and their pronunciation rather than thousands of characters.

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Best Reviews

2020

Korean Lessons Reviews

3.5 stars
Living Language

LIVING LANGUAGE

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Cost:

$39 for 1-month online course

$50 for 3-month online course

$75 for 6-month online course

$150 for 1-year online course (includes 2 e-Tutoring credits)

$22.95 for Korean Essential (2 books, 3 audio CDs)

$49.95 for Korean Complete (4 books, 9 audio CDs)

Living Language takes a four-step approach to studying Korean: Build a Foundation, Progress with Confidence, Retain What You've Learned, and Achieve Your Goals. For more than 65 years, they've applied techniques originally developed for the US State Department to teach a foundation of essential words and phrases, advance students to full sentences and conversations, and eventually developing practical language skills that students can use in a variety of situations.

There are two primary approaches to learning Korean with Living Language, and students can take advantage of both of them if they desire: Korean Essential and Complete, which consist of lessons given through books and audio CDs, and the Korean Online Course.

  • Korean Essential Components - 10 Korean language lessons in two books, with additional review exercises and dialogues; a guide to reading and writing using the Korean alphabet, Hangeul; 3 audio CDs with example phrases, vocabulary, dialogues, and more. This sells for $22.95.
  • Korean Complete Components - 46 Korean language lessons in four books, 9 audio CDs, and the guide to reading and writing using the Korean alphabet. This is priced at $49.95.
  • Korean Online Course - based on the content included in the coursebooks described above, the online course adds interactive activities such as games and quizzes to help strengthen your skills. It also includes access to an online community of language experts and other students, and e-Tutoring with native speakers of Korean is also available. The program includes all three available levels of instruction, from beginner to advanced. Prices start at $39 for one month of access and go up to $150 for a full year; the 12-month package also includes two e-Tutoring credits, and additional credits can be purchased by students at any subscription level.

Living Language offers a free Language Lab for subscribers and visitors alike. While we think that the vocabulary and alphabet games in the Lesson 1: Essential Expressions area will be fun and useful for students, it didn't give us a feel for how their language lessons themselves are structured. We would prefer to see some sort of free trial of one of their actual lessons, to determine how easily students can pick up on the language using their Korean program. Because there is no return/cancellation policy, it might be wise for students to choose one of the lower-priced book/CD packages or a one-month subscription before committing to one of the higher subscription levels.

Also, we were disappointed that Living Language doesn't currently offer their Platinum package for the Korean program. For many other languages, the Platinum package is the best value, because it includes 12 e-Tutoring credits where students can get personalized help from a native speaker, with no more than three other students meeting online with that tutor at the same time. Many reviews of Living Language's other programs rave about the effectiveness and flexibility of the e-Tutoring program, but students of Korean will have to pay for access a la carte (with the exception of the 12-month online course, which does include two credits). As Korean becomes more popular as a language, we look forward to seeing the Platinum package offered.

Many users of Living Language indicate that it is best suited for those who either have some experience with the target language already or who are very comfortable with a less structured approach. Where many language programs require you to achieve a level of mastery in a certain topic before moving on, Living Language allows you to move between lessons and levels as you wish. If you are beginning student, this might lead to confusion and take longer for you to make progress. On the other hand, if you love being able to jump right to a topic you need, such as Using the Telephone and Making Appointments or Doctors and Health, that flexibility may be exactly what you're looking for in a Korean language program.

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2.5 stars
Pimsleur

PIMSLEUR

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Cost:

$495 for Levels 1-2 on CD (60 lessons)

$230 for Levels 1-2 as MP3 download (60 lessons)

Famous for teaching foreign languages with 30-minute audio lessons, Pimsleur helps students of Korean to learn basic conversational skills via CD or MP3 downloads. Although Pimsleur has expanded its offerings to include software DVD's that include flashcards, games, and other more visual methods of instruction to accompany their audio lessons, Pimsleur does not yet offer Korean language instruction that includes that software package.

Pimsleur does offer a free 30-minute audio lesson on their website. Our trial run left us feeling like we had a good understanding of a basic exchange in Korean.

Rather than providing a satisfaction guarantee, Pimsleur has Proficiency Guarantee with very detailed requirements: you have to purchase the Level 1 Korean program , complete the full course of instruction, and take a novice-level test using a particular contractor (which, incidentally, gave us a 404 Error when we tried to follow the link from Pimsleur's site). If you fail the test, Pimsleur will give you full refund. We were unable to determine how rigorous the test is, how it's conducted, or if it involves recognizing any written Korean - which would be decidedly difficult given Pimsleur's audio-only approach to teaching Korean.

Of all the products we reviewed for learning Korean, Pimsleur is the most expensive by far, especially considering that there is no instruction provided that allows students to learn written Korean. Their Korean language program may be ideal for students who want to learn strictly by audio and like the ability to get lessons via MP3 format (for their iPod or other portable device), so we strongly recommend that you try their free audio lesson before making such a sizeable financial commitment to Pimsleur's audio-only approach to learning Korean.

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Continued from above

When choosing a Korean language program, you should have your language goals in mind. If your primary focus is to master conversational language - perhaps you'll be teaching English in Seoul for six months, or just visiting on an extended vacation - you may not need to focus heavily on understanding the written language, and an audio-based approach may be the perfect fit.

On the other hand, if you expect to use the Korean language in a variety of settings and need to be able to read and write in Korean as well as speak it, be sure to choose a program that will address those needs. No matter what your goals are, the best Korean lessons use a variety of strategies to help learners, from flashcards and images to audio lessons and pronunciation practice.

What should you look for as you compare Korean language programs? There are several factors to consider, including the following:

  • Instructional Methods. Are the lessons presented in a way that feels like a good fit for your personal learning style? Many companies offer a trial lesson or free sample so that you can give it a try before committing to the program.
  • Skill Level. Does the program have an option for your levelóbeginning, intermediate, or advanced? Will your purchase include access to all of the levels available in the program, or will you have to pay for further access later as you progress?
  • Value. How effective is the program? Have other customers been successful with learning Korean?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Korean Lessons programs available today. We hope these reviews help you learn Korean quickly and easily!

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