Yes, that's right! Korean Dramas offer a unique and fun form of edutainment (education + entertainment) for viewers across the globe. Be you a casual watcher or a hard core drama fanatic, the often tedious studying that comes with learning about other cultures and languages is absorbed into the world of K-drama, leaving viewers to enjoy a story of their choice, while also learning about a culture that may or may not be foreign to them. Did you know that so many aspects of Korean life, both traditional and modern, are incorporated into their soap operas; that you can actually use these dramas as way of augmenting your knowledge or studies of Korean life? Let's take a look at a few of the things you can learn about while watching K-Dramas!
This is of course the most obvious of things. People foreign to the Korean language can most definitely pick up on words and small phrases that stand out to them. This can jump-start an interest in learning the language, but if you are already studying Korean, K-dramas offer the opportunity to practice your listening and understanding skills. When in a classroom setting, it is most likely that you will learn textbook Korean, from a singular professor/teacher, and with a limited vocabulary. By watching Korean dramas, you can not only pick up on different accents, sayings, and words that you may or may not have studied; but you will also be able to spot the difference between the many levels of casual and honorific forms. Try to see if you can hear the difference between 'city' and 'country' accents (Triple
) to hear more 'street' ways of speech check out something with some edge (Chuno
, East Of Eden
), or if you so choose, check out historical dramas set in the royal court to spot the difference between super honorific and super casual (Yi San
, Queen Seon Duk
Of course we all know about Kpop, but I'm talking about something a little different, but just as cool: Pansori, Trot, Pungmul, Sanjo, and Court music. These musical genres are much lesser known to younger generations, but I think if given a chance they will at least be something cool to listen to for the time being. Of course if you are a culture buff, these genres are not new to you, and you'll be glad to know that many of the dramas from modern day romantic comedies to historical epics include some form or another of Korea's other 'pop' music. From the trot diddies that can be found in the hilarious love story My Girl
, royal melodies that can be heard in court based sageuks
, classical compositions that are in Beethoven Virus
and to the folksy classics in Chuno
, Korean dramas offer a two for one: great tunes and great stories!
Probably one of the second things most people studying a foreign country will be interested in is it's food. Korean food is known for it's robust and hearty flavors and when in the company of many other Asian cuisines, Korean food really does have soul (pun intended). Ddokboggi (spicy rice cakes), kimchi, and all types of yummy meats, fishes, soups and salads...just watching the actors on screen make or eat these tasty meals will have you drooling and craving a bite of your own. But not only that, if you pay close attention, you can learn about how to make some not only Korean dishes, but a few international treats yourself! Well..ok, maybe not 'learn-learn', but you will get a better idea about how it all goes down in the kitchen before it goes down in your belly! Try checking out Jewel In The Palace
to see some traditional food being prepared, Pasta
for a more 'Italian' flair, My Lovely Samsoon
to sooth your French sweet tooth, and learn a thing or two about drowning your sorrows in soju at food trucks and good ramen in just about any modern-day set drama from 2005-present (my fave is 9 Ends 2 Outs
Behind all of this, K-dramas can help you understand Korea as a whole. Culture is best experienced firs hand, of course, but again, if you can't make it to Seoul anytime soon, a good drama can do the trick. Everything from social interactions-both romantic
and platonic, work life
, home life
, and all that's in between is shown throw both comedic and tragic productions. Yes, they're a bit exaggerated (but what television program isn't?), but for anyone interested in Korea and it's wonders, K-Dramas allow viewers to experience the culture from afar.
So what are you waiting for? While there will not be a test, edutainment is waiting for you, so get to watching!