After 2 years of taking Korean lessons, I noticed an interesting pattern in my teachers. While doing free conversation exercises or translating texts, I always got the same question from them: 이 단어를 어떻게 아랐어요? (’How did you know that word?’).
It first happened to me when I was barely a beginner. Somehow, I already knew the expression 손을 잡다 (’hold hands’) even though we hadn’t even started covering verbs and body parts. My teacher couldn’t understand how I had been able to use the expression, and I couldn’t either.
However, later on, listening to music on my way home, I noticed that expression was in two of the K-pop songs I was binge-listening to at that time: NCT U’s WITHOUT YOU and GFRIEND’s Rough. It was then I understood how impactful listening to K-pop was, and I’ve been using it as a tool ever since then.
Since then, I’ve been doing some research, and found the main reasons why listening to Kpop can help you learn Korean:
I’ve been an English teacher for over 5 years and I can tell you one thing for sure: repetition works. It’s actually one of the key aspects of language learning. And K-pop songs, if you hadn’t noticed, are some of the most repetitive things ever (and we love them for it).
Repetition helps with vocabulary retention. So, if you listen to EXID’s Up&Down (위아래) a couple of times, I can guarantee you’re gonna remember those prepositions faster and longer than people who just stare at the words and try to memorize them. (The girls actually repeat the prepositions OVER 30 TIMES EACH, of course you’re not going to forget).
According to the British Council “input refers to the exposure learners have to authentic language in use”. So, when you’re listening to K-pop (or even watching the artists’ interviews) you’re getting loads of Korean input.
Of course, rather than just input, you need comprehensible input aka information that you can understand. To get that, you can listen to your favorite K-pop songs while reading the translation at the same time: that way you’ll remember the song topic later on and you will slowly be able to interpret the words used in the lyrics.
Motivation is KEY when learning a second language. I could go on and on about it, since there have been hundreds of studies dealing with its importance.
Instead, let me summarise it for you. If you don’t have a motivation for learning a language (i.e. you’re learning for school only) your progress will be times slower, you won’t see the purpose and you won’t put in as much effort.
So, if you want to be able to understand your favourite group’s lyrics, you’ll have that extra motivation to keep you going while you’re studying.
After all this, you may be wondering how to really use your K-pop obsession to memorize language and grammar. Well, you’re in luck!
I will be doing a weekly post focused on a specific K-pop song to learn its vocabulary or grammar. I will also provide examples AND a free Quizlet lesson that you can use to study, so make sure to keep your eyes on the blog for next Tuesday!
See you then!
다음 주에 만나자!
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