Learning Korean the fun way
Sep 05, 2012
Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon (Explanations and Examples of Correct Sounds to teach the people) was created by King Sejong in the 15th century (photo: Yonhap News).
Aroused by Korean dramas and K-pop culture, the interest and curiosity in Korean culture was transferred onto Hangeul. The number of people who use or learn the Korean language reaches 80 million, and the number is on the constant rise. The topic of globalization of the Korean language has come to the forefront these days.
The growing popularity of the Sejong Institute, an overseas Korean language education center, provides good evidence of the fact. Korean language classes in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines, and also some European nations including France, experience a shortage of seats before the registration deadline. To meet the demand for Korean classes, the Korean government announced the establishment of 14 additional Sejong Institutes by the end of this year, adding up to a total of 90 institutes spread through over 43 countries across the globe.
Song Hyang-geun, president of the International Korean Language Foundation, says it still has a long way to go in achieving the globalization of the Korean language. “There are more than 4,000 textbooks on the Korean language around the world, but still it is difficult to pick the right book for students to meet the educational demand,” he explained during an interview with the Korea Herald. “A recent study revealed that most students are taking the class for their personal interests so that they can understand more about Korean dramas or send fan letters to Korean stars. This means the level of programs shouldn’t be too academic.”
His dream came true. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, in partnership with Korea Broadcasting Advertising Corporation, announced their plan to introduce an easy and entertaining way of learning the Korean language. The lessons make use of content from K-pop music programs and hit Korean dramas that played a central role in leading the Hallyu craze such as A Tale of Autumn, Winter Sonata, and Dream High through which foreign audiences can understand more of Korean culture, especially youth culture.
The traditional way of lessons was a bit too academic, considered difficult to catch up for foreigners. The renewed type of lessons, however, center on expressions for daily use, captured from scenes of Korean dramas and music shows. In the lesson’s beginning, a Korean announcer gives a brief and simple explanation about the selected grammar structures or vocabulary and then replays the scenes several more times to help the audience get familiar with it. As well, students can take advantage of indirectly learning about cultural aspects of Korean life by watching how Koreans have conversations with each other, what they eat, and where they live in the programs.
Starting in October, the new lessons will be aired across the globe via KBS World and Nuri-Sejonghakdang, an online affiliate of the King Sejong Institute.
By Lee Seung-ah
Korea.net Staff Writer
Department Global Communication and Contents Division