Unless you’re living under a rock, you probably know about the huge influence of Korean pop music. Otherwise known as K-pop, popular music in Korea has a wide following from regional fans, all the way to fans in America and Europe. In recent times, a number of Korean artists have also nailed exciting collaborations with popular overseas artistes (for example, BTS and Halsey, Blackpink and Dua Lipa, and more).
While most fans are won over by the catchy tunes, unique concepts, amazing dance moves and visuals, K-pop has also played a huge role in promoting Korean culture and language. Many fans become attracted to the Korean language from listening to their tunes, and some even unknowingly pick up words from their favourite songs without setting out to do so!
For learners of Korean, songs are a great way to build up vocabulary in an enjoyable and almost effortless manner. Although some tracks may be too fast to catch, with repeated listening (which most fans are sure to do!), you are sure to recognise the words in time. To maximise your learning, you should pull out the translation of the lyrics and look at it side-by-side with the original Korean text. This way, you can start to figure out the meaning of each word and add it to your growing vocabulary.
If you’re all excited to begin picking up Korean through K-pop songs, here are some excellent songs to start with:
Momoland – BBoom, BBoom (2018)
BBoom BBoom is the title track of the 9-member girl group’s third EP. The groovy song describes the feeling of falling head over heels in love, with ‘BBoom Bboom’ being the sound of one’s thumping heart.
The upbeat number may seem hard to catch at first, but its intense rhythms will have you chiming along in no time. For beginner learners picking up the names of body parts, verse two will be your jam for remembering the terms. Accompanied by the dance moves, it is like the children’s song ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ but infinitely sassier.
BTS – DNA (2017)
Making it to number 49 on the Billboard’s 100 Best Songs of 2017, DNA is the boy group’s breakout song into the international charts. The wildly popular 7-member group features explosive dance moves which mimic the chemical structure of the DNA molecule.
Narrating the immediate connection when you meet someone new, the song is about individuals who are fated to meet. You might find yourself learning words like ‘mathematical formula’, which you rarely hear in songs. Although the content may not be so applicable for day-to-day conversations, the repeated lines will be effective in helping learners pick up some new phrases.
Twice – TT (2016)
TT was released as the girl group’s lead single from their third EP. The record-breaking song has racked up half a billion views on Youtube to date, and expresses the feelings of a girl who’s pining for a boy she likes.
The title of the track is a reference to the emoticon used in Korean chat slang, which depicts a crying face. The song is also chocked full of emotion-related words, which are great for learners to pick up. The brilliant thing about the song is the parts where the choreography matches up to the lyrics, making it a wonderful way to remember the meaning of the words.
Seeing that these chart-topping songs are also fantastic learning resources, you will be glad for that excuse to tune into your favourite hits all day long! If K-pop has piqued your interest in the Korean language, why not get serious about learning the language with some Korean lessons for beginners? Our structured lessons at Sejong Korean Language School are suited for Korean learners of various levels, and we are sure you will meet other like-minded peers to share the love for K-pop.