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How To Learn Korean with Kdramas | Can you learn Korean with Korean dramas?


안녕하세요, I'm Koreanstudyjunkie! I'm going to answer the age old question that we all want to know or wanted to know at some point,.. how effective are Korean dramas for actually learning Korean? And how can you do it if so?



Firstly, Can You Even Learn Korean with Korean Dramas?

Absolutely you can! But there's a catch.. while you can learn A LOT from Korean dramas, you can NOT (more like should not) only use Korean dramas as a learning resource. If you haven't started on your Korean learning journey just yet (or are at the very beginning) the bad news is that this is definitely not for you just YET, but I'll still share a few methods to use.


A general rule of thumb in learning ANYTHING, we don't want to use just one resource. Even if you branch out and use several different dramas, that's still just one resource.


The methods I'll introduce are based on level. I believe that for each level, you have to incorporate different strategies and ways of learning.



How To Use Dramas to Learn - For Beginners


Absolute Beginners you can use dramas as a tool for improving your listening. Not UNDERSTANDING what is being said, but listening and exposing your ears to the beautiful sounds that make up the Korean language. Yes, It will sound like nonsense to you.


For the exercise, pick a drama that you like and 1 character you like (try to aim for your own gender) and you are going to literally listen to 10-20 seconds at a time and then mimick your chosen character sound by sound.


So play 10-20 seconds, pause, copy them and then rewind it again from the start. You'll do this a few times until you feel like you've nailed it exactly like the character. This will REALLY help your pronunciation. It's not offensive! You may feel like it, but mocking Koreans is how you can get a better pronunciation and grasp on the base of the language.


Another exercise you can do - slow the speed of the drama down as slow as possible. make sure the drama has Korean subtitles and put them on. now, you'll follow along and read the lines as the character says them. this will help improve your reading, reading speed, and pronunciation. reading out loud is the best way.


For my more established beginners, here's what you can do:

  • the exercise I mentioned above + record yourself saying lines from the drama and listen back to it and mentally take note of anything that doesn't sound right to you. re-listen to the line from the drama and record yourself over and over until your lines sound just like the native speakers.

  • re-watch a drama that you've already watched, but this time with Korean subtitles - bonus if you can get both, I know that there are chrome extensions you can use. I use Language Reactor. (If you need to you can watch half the episode with your native language subtitles and watch again with only Korean subtitles)

  • pick a 2-5 minute section of a drama (if possible slow it down to a comfortable speed for you) and take your time to study and break it down. make a list or flashcards of the vocabulary words and phrases - only words that repeat more than once or twice.

  • watch dramas as you usually do, but pay attention to the Korean being spoken. you can keep the subtitles in your native language, but make sure you actively listen to the Korean as they pertain to the subtitles. the great thing about it is you'll learn more words by doing this and you can do it literally all the time.

  • for a few minutes mute the sound and read the Korean subtitles only. even if you don't understand anything, it will force you to have to read faster. try looking ahead to the next word while reading the previous one.



How To Use Dramas to Learn - For Interemediates

Low-Intermediates, here's what you could do:

  • the exercise i mentioned before - watch a drama you've already seen but with Korean subtitles. Bonus - take note of unknown words that repeat more than once. the goal is not to have a list of 100+ words, but a shorter list of about 20-40

  • pick a 2-3 minute section of a drama you like and try to write down words or phrases you hear (without looking at any subtitles) within that section. then, you'll re-wind that section with the Korean subtitles displayed and see how much you got correct or incorrect - this can really train your ears to notice words in Korean.

  • as you watch a drama cherry pick about 10-20 lines from the drama and study them in detail. And I mean really get to know everything that makes up those sentences - the grammar and vocab. bonus find example sentences of the grammar from the lines you chose and study them as flashcards.

  • watch 5 minutes and then describe what happened in Korean in very simple sentences. write down any words or phrases you didn't know and look them up. continue this exercise for as long or as short a time as you want.

  • instead of taking just a word to study, take the whole line along with the word you want to learn in it and study that as a flashcard instead. don't aim to perfectly understand the whole thing.

  • watch 10 minutes of a drama and write in Korean a few sentences about what you just watched. if there is something you don't know how to say, this is the time to learn it.

Upper-Intermediates, here's what you can do:

  • watch a part of a drama episode (about 15 minutes worth) with Korean subtitles and then re-watch it without subtitles - you can do this over and over until you get tired. wherever you stop, make sure to take note of words you didn't know, that repeated more than once to study later. best thing to do is to come back later or another day and re-watch that same section you studied.

  • choose lines from the drama that you didn't understand well and break them down.

  • an extension of a previosuly mentioned exercise - from a 2-3 minute section of a drama write down words or phrases you hear from it. you can do this and also to take it up a notch challenge yourself to listen to a line and then try to write out exactly what you heard - then check how close you got with the korean subs.

  • watch 5-10 minutes with Korean subs and 5-10 minutes without Korean subs until you finish the episode or get tired of it. take notes of words that repeat often.

  • take a few whole lines that include along any unknown words you want to learn in it and add it make it into a flashcard. bonus find other example sentences using those words and add it to your flashcard set as well.

  • put the drama on and walk away. you don't have to literally do it, but turn it on and look away from the screen or do something else. you won't understand it all, but you'll catch some things.

  • watch 5 minutes and then describe what happened in Korean. write down any words or phrases you didn't know and look them up. continue this exercise for as long or as short a time as you want.



Mini-Immersion Course: Study Korean w/ Kdramas:


Another way you can learn Korean with dramas is by using my free mini-course. That's right, you can use the course for free, in which I have done a lot of the work for you in conjunction with your normal study routine. Unlike the methods I just mentioned, this one comes with a community and chatroom to practce in.


It's made up of 4 different dramas: twenty five twenty one, its okay to not be okay, king the land and strong girl: namsoon.


If you want to access, you can click HERE.


Here's what's included in the course:

  • Around 75+ Grammar Structures & Sentence Patterns

  • Grammar Chart (with grammar explanations and examples)

  • 3-400+ Common (but not super basic) Korean Vocabulary Words Introduced

  • 4 Vocabulary Quiz Sections

  • 4 Grammar Quiz Sections

  • Audio Files (+ Videos) of Course Related Content w/ Korean Transcripts

  • Vocabulary / Phrases List (& Digital Flashcard Sets for All Vocab & Phrases) In This Course - accessible in Quizlet and Anki.

  • Access to Community and Group chat for Extra Practice

  • Free trial to Korean Learner's Klub Membership (upon completion of the course)

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Jack Warner
Jack Warner
Jan 23

I totally understand the quest for free movie options. In addition to Tubi and Crackle, you might want to explore Kanopy. It's a streaming service that partners with libraries, so you can access it for free with a library card. They have a fantastic selection of independent, classic, and international films. Another gem is IMDb TV – they offer a mix of popular movies and TV shows for free with occasional ads. Hope you find the perfect movie for your night!

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I totally get that. One platform I often use is Crackle. It has a decent collection of porno movies, and the best part is, it's free! Ad-supported, of course, but not too intrusive. Another gem is Tubi TV. They offer a wide range of movies and TV shows without any subscription fees. Both are legal and have some hidden treasures. Happy watching!

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