How to learn Korean with K-dramas
I know that many people would love to use Korean TV shows to improve their Korean, but they aren't sure how to start. I've created this guide to help you get the most out of watching a Korean TV show. Check out the video here, and read the article below.
Did you know that you can study Korean using Korean TV shows?
What you’ll need:
- A notepad
- A pen
What you’ll need to do:
- Write down every word that you hear, but that you don’t understand—yes, every word.
- If you’re watching the show online (this is more convenient), such as here at DramaFever, you should keep the mouse over the Pause button and be prepared to stop the video often.
- If you’re watching a show on the television, you’ll need to use the Pause button on your remote control.
Don’t worry if you’re misspelling words. As your listening improves over time, you will be able to write down the words more accurately. But right now, don’t worry if you misspell something; the word might be a bit too difficult anyway, especially if you’re a beginner.
What to do with the word list:
- After watching an episode, you will probably have a very long vocabulary list, full of words that you didn’t understand. Many of these words may be incomplete, misspelled, or actually part of a grammar form; remember that this is okay.
- Now use a dictionary and look up each of the words. If you can’t find the word in the dictionary, then skip it. If you find the word, but it has a difficult or strange meaning, then also skip it. Don’t worry if you are skipping most of the words. If the word is common, and important, you will hear it again many times anyway. The next time you hear it, you might write it down more correctly.
- Then, study the remaining words that you found with definitions. This might only be 10% of your original list or less, but this is fine.
- Finally, repeat this method again with a new list. Eventually you will have many lists, and many new vocabulary words which you’ve heard from actual Koreans in television shows.
Watch Lee Dong Wook as a coldhearted man with a supernatural secret in Blade Man
Why this works:
Koreans will often use the same vocabulary words over and over again when speaking, and this includes television shows. Although you might not understand many of the words at first, after making many lists in this way and studying the words you’ve found, your lists will get shorter and shorter. Eventually, your lists might become only a few difficult vocabulary words.
Korean dramas are fun to watch, but variety shows can be more useful and easier to use for studying Korean. Actors on variety shows will often use simpler, more normal Korean speech. In addition, variety shows often come with Korean subtitles built in; you will be able to write more accurate lists because the dialogue is already on the screen.
And while historical dramas are fun too, I’d recommend avoiding these for learning Korean (unless your goal is to learn how to speak Korean like King Sejong). The Korean language used in historical dramas is… well, historical. There will be many difficult vocabulary words, grammar forms, and idioms that are not even used today.
Practice the words that you’re learning as much as possible. You will be able to remember these words and phrases much more easily if you can use them in any way. Practice and study are essential when learning to speak the Korean language.
If you have any questions for me, you can comment below this article. I love teaching Korean, and I'd love to help you.
If you're learning Korean for the first time, check out my book here. --> Korean Made Simple: A beginner's guide to learning the Korean language
And you can also check out my YouTube channel, where I upload weekly Korean videos, right here. --> GO! Billy Korean on YouTube