Whether or not you’ve been learning Korean for long, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the K-Pop (Korean Pop Music) phenomenon. K-Pop is what Korea is perhaps best known in the Western world amongst people who know even the bare minimum about Korean culture (that, and the addictive Korean dramas that everybody watches on YouTube).
When you’re just beginning to study Korean, a lot of the studying will be focused on the more technical, basic parts of the language to create a foundation that you can build off of. Listening and learning with K-Pop is a way to keep your journey to learn Korean fun and exciting.
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Read on for some of the benefits of joining in on the K-Pop phenomenon – by the end of the list, we’ll have you convinced to turn up the volume and learn while you’re doing it!
1. K-Pop is everywhere
Did you know what K-Pop was before reading this article? Chances are, you’re no stranger to K-Pop, or Korean Pop music. K-Pop is becoming increasingly popular all over the globe – top hits like “Good Luck” by Beast or “Gangnam Style” by Psy are undeniably popular even outside of South Korea. “Gangnam Style” has over two billion hits on YouTube. That means that if each hit was a new person watching, approximately one third of Earth’s population has seen (and probably danced to) the video! This increase in popularity of K-Pop on a global scale over the past couple of years means that new hit songs are accessible and easy to find.
You can take studying Korea into your day to day life with a K-Pop playlist – download a couple hits, plug in your iPod, and take part in the global phenomenon while learning at the same time! You’ll be way ahead of your friends a couple months from now when they bring up that hot new K-Pop single you just downloaded.
2. It helps with Pronunciation
Even if you’re a wizard at learning new languages, I’m sure you’ve struggled a bit with pronunciation when you first get started with learning a language like Korean. Even when grammar and definitions make sense in writing, unless you hear what those words sound like when spoken by a native speaker it’s difficult to imagine how to pronounce them correctly. It’s best to start off on the right foot and listen to native speakers right from the get go – otherwise, you can get used to pronouncing words incorrectly, and it could potentially be a very long time before somebody corrects you!
Listening to K-Pop is a great solution to incorporate the correct pronunciation of words into your Korean conversations. Learn how to sing a couple of fun K-Pop songs that appeal to you to get started. Once you’ve learned a couple of songs and mimic the original singers, you’re already correctly pronouncing potentially hundreds of common Korean words. Not to mention you’re having fun while doing it!
3. Getting in the know: Picking up slang
K-Pop tends to use informal language that’s perfect for speaking to friends or somebody younger than you. As such, listening to K-Pop means that you’ll pick up slang phrases that you might not be exposed to otherwise. Slang is fun conversationally and it makes you feel like you’re fitting in with native speakers and in on a private joke that people who don’t speak the language don’t have access to. Try looking up phrases that you don’t recognize from your studies that you hear in K-Pop songs – you might be surprised at their meanings, and you can incorporate them into your Korean conversations to impress listeners!
4. It’s Fun!
Learning a new language can feel like a lot of work at times. Even the most diligent of us will hit roadblocks occasionally. A great cure to breaking up the learning process and continuing to make progress is to incorporate Korean into other aspects of your life – don’t make it a chore or a task that you only study with structured lessons. Have fun with it! Plug into a K-Pop hits station, start watching a Korean drama, or take part in posting on a Korean language web forum.
Engaging with Korean cultural phenomena like K-Pop will make the journey to being a fluent speaker that much more rewarding, because you’re enjoying yourself and enriching other parts of your life while you’re simultaneously learning. Taking the time to study Korean means that you’re gaining access to an entirely new culture rich with music, movies, and literature that non-speakers don’t have access to. Let listening to K-Pop be your introduction to that world!
5. Something to Talk About
You’ve been studying Korean for months, and you’re getting pretty comfortable with striking up conversations to practice what you’ve learned. Good for you! However, sometimes it can be tricky coming up with conversational topics – what do you talk about that’s light, engaging, and relative even to strangers? Good thing you’ve been listening to K-Pop!
As you read earlier, K-Pop has quickly become a global phenomenon that everybody has an opinion about. Whether you’re asking about favorite songs, new artists, or the origins of K-Pop, you’ll likely be getting into a lengthy conversation full of new information. Use your experiences listening to K-Pop as a conversational jumping off point with your new Korean friends. Talk about what’s hot and what’s not, and ask them what you should download next!
No matter where you are in your Korean language journey, incorporating K-Pop into your life can help you learn new phrases, practice what you’ve learned, and introduce you to entertaining new songs to make your playlists more interesting. You might be surprised at how quickly you pick up slang after hearing new phrases a couple of times in catchy songs, and before you know it, you may have K-Pop songs stuck in your head instead of songs in your native language!
Listening to Korean is just one step to getting great at learning the Korean language. Reading Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is another important part. It is possible to learn Hangul in just ninety minutes, so what are you waiting for?
Do you have a favorite K-Pop song or artist? Has listening to K-Pop affected your Korean vocabulary? Tell us in the comments below!
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