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This is the first in a series of post about how to learn more about Korean language and culture will be about the method recommended by most people for learning about both language and culture at the same time.  For many years, people have been addicted to Korean dramas and everything associated with Korean dramas.  People became so addicted to watching Korean dramas that they planned their whole day around watching them.  Korean dramas feature some of the best K-POP and some of the most beautiful people in Korea.  But just how well does watching Korean dramas work for teaching people Korean language and culture?  Let’s take a look.

Cons of Watching Korean Dramas

Korean dramas, or K-Dramas, can sometimes be confusing if you don’t know enough about Korean culture.  For instance, one drama I watched years ago had a scene where a character was told by his sister that they had to go home for his mother’s funeral.  (That’s how the subtitles worded it.  The Korean word was 기념식, meaning memorial or commemoration.)  If you saw the subtitles, you may think that they were going to have a funeral at their house.  But really, it was a gathering to remember their mother on the anniversary of her death.

In the same drama, a woman calls out 할머니, the Korean word for grandma, but the subtitles said Mrs. Kim.  The drama cannot take time to explain Korean culture and why a woman is called grandma for people who don’t understand.  Because of this, K-Dramas are not the best way to learn about Korean culture.

Pros of Watching Korean Dramas

But what are the good points of watching Korean dramas?  Korean is a changing language.  That means that new words, often slang words, are introduced often.  Newer K-Dramas will usually use such words, so you will know them faster than someone who is only learning Korean in a book.  Even with the subtitles on, you can see what Korean word matches up with in your language.  Music that is played in K-Dramas also can help.  You will hear the main word(s) over and over again in the song, but have a visual to go along with it.  This means you will be able to match up a mental picture with a word, making it easier to remember.  Also, if you do understand Korean culture, you will see things in a drama about Korean life and be able to recognize it.  This will allow you to know better what you have heard about Korean culture.

Where to Find Korean Dramas

If you want to buy actual DVD’s of K-Dramas, you can go to websites like YesAsia.com and find many dramas on sale.  You can also find music and other things aboutKorean entertainment on there.  If you have a subscription to Hulu, you can check Korean dramas on there as well.  Some can be found on YouTube or there free sties as well.  On some free drama sites, you can pay a monthly fee to avoid viewing ads or enjoy watching the dramas in HD.  You can also visit the website of television companies in Korea, or check your cable or satellite provider to see if you have a Korean channel that you are paying for and can watch dramas on.  Or if you use a streaming media player, you may have free access to live Korean television.  Google is your friend to find this out.

The Verdict

While it may not be the best thing for learning about Korean culture, K-Dramas can be very helpful for learning vocabulary in Korean.  If you have access to Korean dramas, be sure to check them out.  I hope this has helped you in deciding the place of Korean dramas in your Korean learning adventure.  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to #askthewaygookin.