(Estimated reading time: 5 minutes)
While I’m not a huge fan of Anime and Manga, reading Naver Webtoon series is indeed quite an interesting way to immerse ourselves in the Korean language. I’ve also mentioned in a previous article that I’m personally reading the 언터처블 series right now and some of the Vocabulary posted are learned from reading Naver Webtoons!
In this blog post, I’ll list down some of my thoughts on why I think Korean learners should definitely read Naver Webtoons, regardless whether you like comics and cartoons.
Simple conversations (and slangs)
As you would have expected, the first and probably most important reason is… simple conversations between many webtoon characters! You can look at webtoons as giving you the opportunity to be among a group of native Korean speakers without the stress of understanding what they’re saying. There are literally “subtitles” or rather, a transcript of the conversations above their heads. Yes, that’s how I look at webtoons :p
The pictures just make the webtoons even more interesting and funny at times too. Understanding simple conversations is important if you want to improve your Korean proficiency, especially the conversational aspects. As I’ve mentioned, I learned a good amount of vocabulary and expressions from webtoons. 95% of the text in webtoons are dialogues between characters so you won’t be overwhelmed by walls of text like in news articles or blog posts.
This alone for me is a very compelling reason to read webtoon series. Getting exposed to daily conversations and how the webtoon characters express their feelings in a natural manner is an important key to improving. You will realise that various popular and trending slangs would appear in the webtoons as well. This is especially so if you’re following a recently uploaded episode or series.
Whenever I recommend anything on Let’s Study Korean 한국어 공부하자, I follow a strict rule – it must either be affordable (for students and learners with low to no income) or free. In this case, Naver Webtoons are free to read. You just have to download it either on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or read it on the site version (automatically switches to the mobile site if you’re viewing from mobile).
There are other webtoon providers (Korean), such as Daum Webtoon, KToon, and many others but I personally prefer Naver Webtoon over the rest. Mainly because of the user interface and most popular webtoon artists publish their work on Naver. Of course, if you see a great webtoon that you’re interested in reading on other webtoon websites, don’t restrict yourself!
I’ve read 냄새 보는 소녀 on KToon previously after watching the drama adaptation of it just out of curiosity. I’m pretty sure KToon, Daum and other webtoon providers are awesome in their own ways but the user interface and ease of use are the key factors for me.
Downloadable on smartphone/tablet
Last but not least, this is another great feature of Naver Webtoons too – allowing users to download and read offline. I’m pretty sure there are other ways we can download and save webtoons from Daum, KToon and other webtoon providers. But it usually involves a lot more cumbersome methods. For Naver Webtoon, it’s really easy! Look at the screenshots below and you’ll understand.
Click on the 3-dot icon at the top right-hand corner of the episode that you want to download.
Click on 임시저장, which means to “save temporarily to storage”.
You will see a progress bar, which is essentially the download progress of the episode that you want to download.
Go to MY웹툰 and click on the tab 임시저장 웹툰 and you’ll see all of your downloaded episodes!
Note that all downloads are temporary and limited to only once per user. After 48 hours, the downloads would be unavailable if you’re not connected to a 3G/4G network or Wifi.
You could also download more than one episode at one go. Click on the download icon on the top right-hand corner of the webtoon series.
Select the episodes that you want to download and click on the right button at the bottom of the screen 임시저장.
Likewise, go to MY웹툰>임시저장 웹툰 to view your downloaded episodes!
In my opinion, Naver webtoons are great for intermediate and advanced learners, especially those who are trying to get a hang of natural conversational Korean. Beginner learners would surely find it hard to understand and follow the webtoon series without many pauses in between dialogues to look up vocabulary on Naver or Daum dictionaries. I know because I did try to read webtoons while I was still at the beginner level!
Anyway, for reading practice and to some extent, speaking practice, webtoons are great. You can use webtoons for speaking practice by reading out loud while reading. Reading out loud is one of my personal routines to get better at pronunciation and fluency in speaking. That’s why I have a Speaking Practice section on LSK, where I share my own recordings (and transcripts, of course!) and others can share their own attempts (by using Vocaroo) in the comments!
Hope this blog post helped you in understanding Naver Webtoons better and in your Korean studying journey. Until next time, Let’s Study Korean 한국어 공부하자!