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How to learn Korean through Kpop: 3 ways + exercises, Part 1

Hello all! 여러분 안녕!

I hope you’re doing great and keeping up with your Korean goals. In last week’s post, I talked about the reasons why loving Kpop helps you learn Korean (read more here). After reading it, you might be have thought: “Ok exactly should you go about it?”.

In this post, I’m giving you 3 strategies to use your Kpop obsession to expand your vocabulary and review your grammar points just by listening to one of your favourite songs. Try this strategy this week and, if it works (I can assure it will), tune in next week for 4 more tips!

The best thing about it? It works no matter what level you’re in: newbies who don’t even know Hangeul and experienced learners alike can benefit from the power of music. Check out the tips below and try the challenges I’m giving you: you can learn at least 10 new words today!🙌


Before you start...

  • Choose a song you LOVE❣️. As I mentioned in my previous post, motivation is KEY. So, picking a song you’re currently obsessing over (mine is STAYC’s RUN) or your ult’s last released song will help you stay motivated and energised.

Then... Try these 3 Strategies to learn Korean with Kpop songs:

1) Use lyric videos

If you have NO prior knowledge of the language, this can also work for you. I actually taught myself how to learn Hangeul using song lyrics (and doing some studying, of course).

Play that Kpop song you know by heart (though you still can’t tell what it means) and follow the lyrics in Hangeul. That way, you can match sound and symbol, which helps a lot pronunciation wise.

Expert tip: use your favorite ballad for this, since the pace tends to be slower and that makes it easier to read. HEIZE’s newly released song 엄마 (”Mom”) is particularly easy to follow. You might go insane if you try this with NCT Mark’s rap verses on your first go...

2) Active listening

If you have some prior knowledge of Korean (aka you know Hangeul and some basic words), try some active listening.

Active listening means, as the word implies, paying full attention to melody and lyrics, focusing on nothing but the song.

So sit down, grab a pen, and try to write down as many words as you can recognise from your favorite Kpop song. That way you’re doing something us language teachers call “training the ear”: you’re teaching yourself how to recognise certain segments of the language.

Once you’re done, you can check with the official lyrics and see how well you did. If you’re struggling with Native Korean numbers, check HyunA’s BABE and try this technique.

3) Context, context, context!

When you’re familiar with the words in a given song, go ahead and check the context. It’s way more useful to see the word in its real use rather than just have it sitting on an endless vocabulary list... For example, you can ask yourself:

  • What can I find next to the word I know?

This will help you learn common phrases and vocabulary combinations. Moreover, you will learn them times faster than just by memorising them.

Wanna learn the structure “to wear ___” in Korean? Have a listen at AOA’s “Miniskirt” and check the lyrics... what’s the structure?

(Hint: check the chorus👀)

  • What particles are used with the word, if any?

This way, you can learn the type of word it is. You might find 을&를 for direct object marker on nouns, 에&에서 for direction and location, 에게 to indicate the recipient, and so on. I found at least 10 in IU's "My sea"... can you? 👁 👄 👁


Remember: when studying a language no number of sources is enough. It's impossible to learn from a single piece of learning material (even if it's a textbook), so try to compliment your learning with some Kpop songs!

Let me know if you try these Korean learning strategies! I know they worked wonders for me.

🎶What's your go to song lately? Are there any words you have learned thanks to it? Leave a comment below!

Meet me next Tuesday for more Korean learning through songs <3

See you then!

다음 주에 만나자!

Love, Isa🌻

You can follow me at @busca_books on IG

(Disclaimer: there are always exceptions and nuances to language which you’ll have to double check while you’re studying).

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