One of the side affects of our love for Asian dramas is a desire to learn the languages.  Subtitles are great, but any good K-drama addict will soon want to learn Korean so that we can watch our favorite actors, actresses, and Idols in interviews, commercials, and music videos without needing a subtitle. There is a whole world waiting for us if we could just learn the language.  

Like many of you, I made a New Year's resolution to learn Korean this year. It hasn't been easy to get started, and there are times when the quirks of the language make my head hurt. Even though my ego is taking a beating as I struggle to learn, my brain is happily stretching and growing.

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It turns out that learning two or more languages actually helps stimulate the nerves in your brain and keeps it active longer. A team of researchers led by Subarna Alladi at the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences in India looked at 648 dementia sufferers and found that those who spoke two or more languages ended up with dementia on average four years later than those who spoke just one. It also did not matter how fluent a patient was in his or her second language. As long as the patient was able to read it, the preventive effect was the same, regardless of whether they were able to speak the language fluently or poorly.

Thankfully for us, the Hangul alphabet is easy to learn. There are many free helps to get you started, from apps for your phone or online help.  Billy from Go! Billy Korean has ten tricks for learning Korean that can help us as we work on stimulating our brains. 

I find that 30 minutes a day helps keeps things fresh as I learn new words and phrases. As I watch my favorite dramas, I'm recognizing more words. What is working for you?