Thanks to Korea’s vibrant and unique culture, learning Korean is incredibly entertaining as it is. Whether you go for old-school methods or you love reading lists of surprising facts about Korean while listening to K-Pop idols, learning a language is always a meaningful, enriching experience.
No matter which method you’re following, there is only one sure way to make it more fun: K-pop hits.
That’s right. According to experts on language learning, studying K-pop song lyrics is an effective method that speeds up your learning by making vocabulary much more memorable than if you were reading from a textbook.
Want to learn Korean with K-pop idols?
Read below to find out how you can use Korean idols to boost your language skills.
1. Lisa from BLACKPINK
One of the most popular K-pop idols, Lisa from Blackpink is the artist with the highest number of followers on Instagram (58 million as of October 2021). She is also the first K-pop artist to get a contract as a global ambassador with the make-up company MAC, a landmark for Korean idols. Lisa is usually referred to as the “golden girl” of K-pop, as she is not only a great singer and dancer but also a polyglot, speaking Korean, Thai, Japanese and English. Play the video below to see Lisa speaking different languages!
2. Kim Jaejoong, from JYJ
If Lisa is one of the most cherished Korean idols out there, Kim is surely the richest, with an estimated net worth of US$100 million. He kicked off his music career as the lead vocalist in the boy band TVXQ. After their separation in 2010, Kim Jaejoong formed the pop trio JYJ, which is one of the most successful groups out there.
JYJ’s simple yet romantic lyrics are perfect if you want to learn Korean, as they are full of informal vocabulary and expressions about romance. Kim Jaejoong is definitely one of the K-Pop idols to keep an eye on if you’re learning Korean!
Watch the video for one of the best performances of this K-Pop idol with romanization and English subtitles:
3. Joy, from RED VELVET
Park Soo-young, known by the stage name Joy, is one of the most popular K-Pop idols in 2021. She is a South Korean singer, actress and TV host. As a singer, she is a member and vocalist of the South Korean girl group Red Velvet, known for their genre versatility.
Joy is a model and endorser for an impressive variety of brands, including Lotte’s liquor drink Fitz, South Korea’s leading cosmetics conglomerate Amore Pacific, and Tod’s Italian luxury brand Hogan.
Want to learn Korean to express your feelings in a different language? Play “Day by Day,” one of Joy’s best songs as a solo artist, and learn a few of its heartfelt, poetic lines.
당신은 내 슬픔을 여러 번 목격했습니다
매일 내 눈물을 닦아준 널 위한 거야
You have witnessed my sadness many times
This is for you, who wiped away my tears, day by day
4. Jimin, from BTS
King Choice, one of the most popular poll websites about K-Pop idols, crowned Jimin as the unbeatable King of K-Pop for two years in a row, 2019 and 2020. In 2013, he debuted in the South Korean band BTS, under the record label Big Hit Entertainment. In 2018, Jimin and other members of BTS were awarded the fifth-class Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit by the South Korean President, for their contributions to the promotion of Korean culture.
Want to learn Korean with BTS? Why don’t you start with “Fake Love”? This simple tune combines English with Korean to tell a tale as old as time. In the fan video below, you’ll find the song with Hangul, romanization, and English subtitles.
5. Baekhyun, from SUPERM
Byun Baek-hyun, better known as Baekhyun, is a South Korean actor and one of the most beloved K-pop idols. With 21.2 million followers on Instagram, he’s one of the most popular Korean artists right now.
He is the leader of South Korean supergroup SuperM, whose 2019 self-titled EP entered the Billboard 200 at number one, and he also has a successful solo career. City Lights (2019), his debut solo album, became the best-selling album by a solo artist of the 2010s in South Korea, and his second one, the EP Delight (2020), garnered sales of over 1 million copies, a landmark for a K-pop artist.
Are you learning Korean? Watch a scene from one of Baek-hyun’s films with English subtitles and have fun while practicing your listening skills.
6. Jeon Jung-kook, from BTS
Born in 1997, Jeon is the youngest member of BTS. He is also one of the most prepared Korean idols out there. After graduating from Seoul’s School of Performing Arts, he successfully took the CSATs, Korea’s nationwide university entrance exam, and he is currently enrolled at Global Cyber University, majoring in Broadcasting and Entertainment.
In June 2020, Jungkook released a self-produced solo ballad called “Still With You” for free on streaming platforms such as SoundCloud. If you’re an advanced student and want to learn Korean vocabulary with K-pop idols, watch the video below and learn a few beautiful, complex, romantic lines such as this one:
얼어버린 노을 아래 멈춰 서있지만
그대 향해 한 걸음씩 걸어갈래요
“Although I’m paused underneath the frozen sunset,
I’ll walk towards you one step at a time”.
As you can see, K-pop idols offer a lot of opportunities for learning. Whether you are into boy bands, girl bands, solo artists, or Korean films, Korean idols provide lots of exposure to a unique culture and language.
Yet, while K-pop artists make great language learning companions, the best way to truly boost your skills is by having the constant support of a qualified native Korean speaker who can give you feedback, tips and help you understand the most difficult aspects of the language. If you want to learn Korean with a qualified native tutor at no cost, explore our Trial Korean Classes and get your first lesson for free. Contact us now to get started!