Essential Korean Podcast

Essential Korean


This podcast is brought to you by Kay, a veteran Korean teacher and author of several Korean language books, including Korean Through Folktales, Essential Korean for Daily Conversation, and Online Learning Module for Advanced and Superior Korean. If you want to learn from a teacher who explains the nuances of the Korean language and its grammar, asks you questions, and practices with you with real-life examples, this podcast is for you. If you like the content of this podcast, please check out our EK Podcast Course. In the course, you can read the transcript while listening to the podcast, do practice and worksheets, and even watch the video: To chat and connect with other listeners of this podcast, join our community on Discord here: For any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at :) See you next episode!

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51 episodes

49. How To Express Wants or Wishes Part 2: What She/He/They Want (3rd Persons), --- In today’s episode, we’ll start with a short review of the previous episode, where we learned to express the first person’s wants with one additional usage of the form. After that, we’ll get to a new lesson on how to tell what other people want to do in Korean and compare it with the way in which what ‘I’ or ‘we’ want is expressed in Korean. As today’s episode is the first episode of the new year, we’ll use a situational example very fitting for that– one of our life events that mark and signifies a new beginning: a wedding! With that, to the lesson we go! 

Jan 29
48. How To Express What 'I' or 'We' Want in Korean

Lesson Recap & Transcript,  - - -  In this episode, we will learn the pattern most frequently used in daily conversation to express what I or we wants in Korean.   

Dec 08, 2022
47. 사랑해 줘 Love me VS. 사랑해 주세요 Love me - The difference? (Speech Styles & Speech Levels in Korean)

Lesson Recap & Transcript,  - - - In this episode, we will discuss speech styles and speech levels (again :), this tiime with a question from a student, based on a situation from the drama, 힘쎈 여자 도봉순 . Examining the speech styles and levels in different situations will help us experience the dynamics and emotions at play and help us get an intuitive feel of Koreas language and culture. Sounds interesting? -  Lets get started! 

Nov 20, 2022
46. At a Cafe in Korea: What You Will Hear and How To Order

Lesson Recap & Transcript, ----- In todays episode, well take a break from grammar-focused lessons for a more real-life situation-based lesson! We will learn:  1)  a few very useful expressions you will hear in a cafe or eatery as a customer and 2) a few ways you can order drinks or food without worrying too much about grammar.  You will learn with situational examples and, today, practice with mini role-plays :)  By the end of this episode, you should feel quite confident when entering a cafe or eatery if or when you visit Korea. With that in mind, let’s dive right into the lesson!   

Nov 07, 2022
45. Future Tense in Korean | Part 3

Lesson Recap & Transcript, ------------ This episode is the last in our three-part series on Korean future tense. We’ll expand upon what we have learned in the previous episodes by combining a few sentences with verbs in the future tense form into one sentence using the -고 conjunctive. Let’s finish up our journey with future tense on a high note! To do that, well do something fun with a hypothetical question. Answers to this question call for future tense verbs, and we’ll use the informal-polite future tense form. Stay tuned until the end to create your own answers and also to find out what my personal answer is :) 

Oct 23, 2022
44. "It’s OK. Everything Will Turn Out Alright" in Music

Lesson Recap and Transcript - - - - - - - In this episode, youll learn the informal-polite future tense form and the direct style future tense form in Korean with two songs. You can find the translation of the songs in the transcript, which is accessible for entry and premium plan EK members. We also have our podcast course out for the first nine episodes of this podcast with practice, exercises, and videos, so feel free to check that out on our website as well! - - - - - FEATURED SONGS >  __ __

Oct 09, 2022
Episode 43: Future Tense in Korean | Part 2

Lesson Recap & Transcript - - -  Today’s episode will continue our journey with the future tense, and is divided into three parts: 1) discussion on the difference between the future tense form and the present tense form when action verbs are used to describe future events;  2) different meanings of the future tense form for descriptive verbs; and  3) see how these two key lesson points are at work in conversation with a few situational examples, and a couple of personal anecdotes :)  Let’s get right into it so you see what these mean!

Sep 15, 2022
Episode 42: Future Tense in Korean | Part 1

Lesson Recap & Transcript  In today’s episode, we have another exciting grammar point to cover: the future tense form in Korean. We’ll learn how to conjugate verbs in the future tense, as well as how to conjugate a few irregular verbs. So, if you have been following our podcast episodes in order, you’ll have all three tenses– present, past, and future– under your belt, and, by the end of this episode, you will be able to talk about events or states of being in all three tenses in Korean. How exciting is that! We should get right to the lesson. 

Sep 06, 2022
Episode 41: How to Approach Making Complex Korean Sentences & Pronouncing the 고 Conjunctive in Colloquial Speech [ -구 ] (& Tribute to Extraordinary Attorney Woo)

 Lesson Recap & Transcript In this episode, we’ll do two things:  __ __ Youll also learn to say a sentence, presented as a tribute to the popular K-drama, Extraordinary Attorney Woo  :)  Let’s get right into it ~ 

Aug 15, 2022
Episode 40: Past Tense: Part 2 & -고 Conjunctive

Lesson Recap & Transcript In today’s episode, we will combine all the key lesson points you’ve learned from Episodes 37 and 38 on the 고 conjunctive and Episode 39 on past tense.  By the end of the lesson, youll have learned to tell multiple past events and states with the 고 conjunctive. And you will also be introduced to a new song for the past tense theme. As always, this episode is packed with useful grammar and a lot of practice - lets get started with the lesson! - - - Featured song: Music by : 우효 Oohyo Title:  꿀차 Honey Tea

Aug 07, 2022
Episode 39: How To Form Past Tense in Korean

Lesson Recap & Transcript In this episode, we will be learning about how to form the past tense in Korean, step-by-step. Well learn the general past tense form first, and then we’ll go through a number of situational examples, in the hopes that you’ll be able to make your own past tense sentences by the end of the episode :) So, let’s get right into it!

Jul 31, 2022
Episode 38.5: EK Study Buddy System & More!

This episode is a special announcement of three new features to help our listeners and members with their learning journey. Please listen in and find out what they are! :) 

Jun 29, 2022
Episode 38: "아깝다" & -고 Conjunctive - Part 2

This episode consists of two parts:  __ __ For the song, youll first hear a cover version by 한승윤 & 서영주 duo in (무명가수전), 2020) and then the original singer 신해철, one of most regarded musicians in Korea.   * * * * * * * Featured Song: 일상으로의 초대 (한승윤 & 서영주) (신해철) 

Jun 09, 2022
Episode 37: Verb Conjunctive -고 (introducing our first verb conjunctive!)

  In this episode, we will learn our very first verb conjunctive, the 고 conjunctive! When we add the verbal conjunctive -고 to a verb stem (VS), the conjugated verb carries the meaning of the verb in the present tense and the meaning of . As always, well learn this conjunctive and practice speaking with situational examples.   In Korean, different meanings can be marked and expressed right in the verbs with different verbal conjunctives and we’ll learn them one at a time, starting with the -고 conjunctive today. As you start using different verb conjuncitves, your Korean will leap from a novice level and start to flow better. Are you ready to take the leap? I know you are; let’s get right to it :) ** The sentences used in the situational examples in the lesson ** __ __

May 08, 2022
Episode 36: More Situational Examples: Present Tense & Its Meanings (Bonus: 김치찌개 recipe!)

This episode is an extension of the previous episode, Episode 35, which centered on the Korean present tense and its meanings. To reinforce the key points covered in the last episode, well do a few more examples,  this time with more context. Along the way, youll also learn how to make 김치찌개 Kimchi stew in an easy and simple way! 

Mar 29, 2022
Episode 35: Present Tense Form & Its Meanings

This episode will first introduce a few expressions exchanged with someone you havent seen for a while. Then, for the most part, itll discuss the Korean present tense form & its meanings in the four areas:  1) The Korean present tense form can express an action presently in progress.  2) The present tense form can express an action that will be realized in the near future.  3) The present tense form can express an action that occurs regularly. 4) The present tense form can also express an action one tells others to carry out or invites others to do.  As always, well go over new concepts and grammar step by step and practice speaking together.  Lets get started! 

Mar 19, 2022
Episode 34: How To Use Particle 에 l Part 3: Temporal

Lesson Recap & Transcript We’ll continue with the particle 에, and, as the last part of this 3-part series, look at how it can be used to signal WHEN an action or activity takes place.  As always, this episode is far more than just learning the usage of 에. While listening to the episode, youll be asked to repeat and say different sentences and mean what you say :) Follow along, challenge yourself, and practice together with Kay 샘 to be on the way to becoming a confident speaker of Korean :) Lets get started!  

Jan 23, 2022
Episode 33: How To Use Particle 에 l Part 2: Destination

Lesson Recap & Transcript We’ll continue with the particle 에, and, as the second part of this 3-part series, look at how it can be used to signal a DESTINATION.  The usage we’ll learn in this episode is that the particle 에 can follow a destination and be paired with the verbs 가다 and 오다 and any other 가다 and 오다 compound verbs like 들어가다 , 들어오다 , 올라가다 , 올라오다, 돌아가다 돌아오다 .  This episode however is about far more than just the second usage of the particle 에. Along the way, youll learn the new years greeting,  a few kinship terms, and several particle combos to mean also to (place), only to (place), and to (place) at least.  Lets get started :) 

Jan 06, 2022
Episode 31: "How Do I Study Korean?"

In this  episode, Teacher Kay will share her thoughts on  the single most asked question shes received  over the past year, which is "How do I study Korean?"  This is an excellent question to consider for beginners and advanced learners alike, as newer learners should consider ways to effectively and consistently study Korean, and more experienced students should look for ways to improve their existing routine.  You may gain a fresh perspective on the ways you study Korean and even the way you view the language. So head over to this episode and listen in! 

Oct 12, 2021
Episode 30.5 : Korean Pop Music & the Language

Youll find that the structure of this episode, Ep. 30.5,  is quite different from what you are used to (that is if youre a regular listener of our podcast :)  It was recorded in the car, so the audio quality is not going to be amazing to say the least, but hopefully you’ll find something useful and educational. I also did some light post production editing just to make it easier to listen to, so you’ll hear some cuts here and there... You’ll hear two songs in the background. The first song is “그때 그 아이 Someday The Boy” from the K-drama,, aired in 2020; and the second song is “소리 Sound" from , aired in 2018. (As of now, yes, both of these ARE available on Netflix! ) The main points we wanted to get across through today’s episode was idiosyncrasies of the Korean language by examining semantics and pragmatics of K-pop lyrics: For example, the term 그대 or 당신 is translate as ‘you’ in English. They are however not part of daily conversation, but rather mostly used in artistic or literary texts, evoking romantic emotions. This probably explains why you see these terms in Korean love songs so frequently. I also brought up a new speech style, called the plain style. It is used when presenting someones own thoughts to oneself or talking to oneself.  Ok, with those pointers in mind, please enjoy the lesson! 

Sep 24, 2021
Episode 30: How To Use Particle 만

Lesson Recap & Transcript - - -  In this episode, youll learn how to utilize the particle 만,  the exclusive particle, while reviewing some of the other particles weve learned so far. *FEATURED SONG > Title: 말이야  Im saying  (2013) Artist: Yi Hong Gee 이홍기

Jul 14, 2021
Episode 29: When NOT To Use Particle 을/를 (Part 2 of 을/를!)

Lesson Recap & Transcript - - -  In this episode,  we will learn about when NOT to use the Korean object particle 을/를 with situational examples. This is going to be a short and sweet episode, but with indispensable grammar rules :) 

Jul 04, 2021
Episode 28: How To Use The Object Particle 을/를

Lesson Recap & Transcript - - -  In this episode,  we will learn how to use the Korean object particle 을/를 and compare it with other particles weve learned.  And,  we will hear a part of the song 잊을게 by Yoon Do Hyunand see how the 을/를  particle is used in action! *FEATURED SONG > Title: 잊을게 Ill Forget You  (2003) Artist: YB & Yoon Do Hyun

Jun 21, 2021
Episode 27: How To Use Particle 이/가 (and compare with Particle 은/는)

Lesson Recap & Transcript  - - -  In this episode,  we will learn how to use the particle 이/가 and how the particle 이/가 is used differently from the particle 은/는.   And,  we will hear a part of the song by Roy Kim titled 봄봄봄 and see how the 이/가  particle is used in action :) *FEATURED SONG > Title: 봄봄봄 Spring, Spring, Spring  (2013) Artist: 로이킴 Roy Kim

Jun 06, 2021
Episode 26: Learn Days of the Week and How To Ask What Others Think in Korean

LESSON RECAP & TRANSCRIPT In this episode,  we will learn two things: __ __ And, of course, we have a song to share. It’s titled 금요일에 만나요 by IU .  Sounds good?  Let’s get started! *FEATURED SONG > Title: 금요일에 만나요 Lets meet on Friday Paradise  (2013) Artist: 아이유 IU  ( 2:05-3:07 )

May 05, 2021
Episode 25: Learn More Korean Numbers (20 to 90 in increments of 10) & New Noun Connector 와/과

LESSON RECAP & TRANSCRIPT In today’s episode, well learn :  __ __ And, of course, I have a song I want to share with you. It’s a song by Psy,  titled 낙원, which means Paradise. We have a lesson packed with exciting material, so let’s get right to it!  *Featured Song > Title: 낙원 Paradise  (2002) Artist: 싸이  Psy (the third section in the episode, the concert) (the first and the second sections in the episode)

Mar 31, 2021
Episode 24: More About Native Korean Numbers & How To Use the Additive Particle 도 In this episode, we will do two things:  __ __ Happy learning, everyone! *Featured Song > Title: 오늘도 어제처럼 Today too, like yesterday  (2020) Artist: 효정, 오마이걸  Hyo Jung, Oh My Girl

Feb 22, 2021
Episode 23: How To Count in Korean (Yay, we’re learning numbers!) & Use Korean Numbers in Conversation In this episode, we will do two things:  __ __ You can consider it a comprehensive review of the content we’ve gone over thus far.  If you have a hard time following the conversation, know that you can always go back to previous episodes for review. When it comes to learning a new language in particular, review is always, always good! Happy learning, everyone! *Featured Song > Title: 숫자 Numbers (2019) Artist: 이적 Lee Juck

Jan 30, 2021
Episode 22: How To Contract 은/는 Particle & Use Conjunctive Words in Korean In this episode, we will learn how the contraction of the particle 은/는 works in colloquial speech and practice speaking contracted phrases in sentences. We will also practice using the sentence connectors 그리고 and 그런데.   The contraction of the 은/는 particle is indeed prevalent in colloquial speech, and not discussing the topic would only cause greater confusion. However, do not concern yourself with the contraction for speaking as a beginning student. Rather, your focus should be on when and where to appropriately place the 은/는 particle, so you can become more familiar with the sentence structure of the Korean language and in turn continue to build a sound foundation for advancing to the intermediate level.  This is the last episode to focus on the  은/는 particle in a three-part series (Episodes 20, 21, and 22). We spend this much time on the particle because of its importance in the Korean language, so stay with me :)  Happy learning!  *Featured Song > Title: 강남스타일 (2012) Artist: 싸이 Psy

Jan 15, 2021