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Is Kdrama Good for Learning Korean?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

If you want to learn a foreign language, particularly Korean, then you might be asking yourself, are kdramas good for learning Korean? K dramas, also known as Korean dramas, are television series that are typically made in South Korea.

Native speakers will often watch a K drama for entertainment purposes, and will most likely watch them with Korean subtitles or without subtitles at all.

As somebody who wants to learn Korean, you might want to watch a K drama with English subtitles. Watching Korean dramas will likely help with your Korean learning.

Although you might not necessarily learn it instantly, you’re definitely likely to pick up some important words and phrases that are commonly used in the Korean language. As you start watching more and more Korean dramas, you’ll get more used to basic Korean phrases.

What Is the Use of Learning Korean?

According to Britannica, the Korean language is spoken by approximately 75,000,000 people. Korean is spoken in many countries, including, South and North Korea, China, and Japan.

If you ever visit one of these countries, then it might be wise to improve your Korean. Going into an unknown country, unprepared can often be daunting, so having the basics of Korean nailed down will help you to navigate your way around a lot easier.

Even if you’re not thinking about flying to any of these countries any time soon, you might just want to learn the language as a hobby.

ACTFL states that learning a language can improve your long and short-term memory, problem-solving skills, and the individual’s attitude towards the country, culture, and language, as well as encouraging more flexible and creative thinking.

So, with all those benefits, why wouldn’t you want to?

How Many Kdrama’s Do You Need to Watch to Start Picking up Korean?

As already stated, you’re not going to pick Korean up immediately. It will probably take a fair bit of time and quite a few Korean dramas to start learning it. Chances are that how long it will take will depend on the person. There’s not necessarily one straight answer here.

If you’re sitting back and relaxing, with a Korean drama on in the background, then chances are that you’re not really absorbing the language. Rather than passively waiting for it to come to you, you’ll have to be more active while learning. So, how exactly do you do that?

Here are some things that you could do while watching your favorite drama to pick up Korean:

Mirror the Character’s Actions

By mirroring the character’s actions, you’ll pick up not only phrases but characteristics and mannerisms. This won’t only help with understanding Korean as a language, but as a culture.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition 

If you pick up certain Korean phrases when they arise, repeating them several times may help you to remember more. Jotting these phrases down may improve your Korean as it stimulates your memory more.

Subtitles: On 

Learning without subtitles might be a little trickier. You might misunderstand what has been said so it might be wise to turn them on to help aid your Korean. You could either watch in English and put on Korean subtitles, or vice versa. Subtitles help to create more context and help you to understand the plots better.

Having subtitles on while watching will encourage you to read, watch, and listen all at once. And what doesn’t say active about that? If you’re learning from a textbook, they’re definitely not going to cover the same content. Reading and understanding subtitles will actually be much more beneficial, as you can pick up slang, different accents, and overall will be a much more authentic experience of Korean.

Best Korean Dramas

K dramas are filled with engaging storylines, compelling characters, and make understanding Korean much more exciting for the viewer.

We’ve selected the best Korean dramas to learn Korean, and don’t worry there’s definitely something for everyone. From variations in the genre to the characters, you’ll be able to find the perfect Korean drama for you.

Our top picks for the best Korean dramas are:

Black – Fantasy/Thriller – The main plot for ‘Black’ is a grim reaper who tracks down their fugitive partner, and together, they solve cold case murders. If you love crime, then this is possibly one of the best Korean dramas that you could watch. It’s entirely gripping and is perfect for picking up some Korean.

Descendants of the Sun – Romance – This drama details a romantic story between a doctor and a soldier. If you’re a romance fanatic, you’ll absolutely love this! It’ll pull on your heartstrings and leave you wanting more.

The Heirs – Romance/Teen – This drama is set in a privileged Korean high school and details the lives of the rich students navigating their way through life. Think Gossip Girl or Dynasty vibes, but with the Korean touch.

Does Listening to Kpop Help Learn Korean?

Similar to watching Korean dramas, Kpop, short for Korean popular music, will also help with understanding Korean. In the same way, you’d be able to pick up some phrases that are commonly used throughout the music.

It might help to watch the music videos for your favorite Kpop songs though. You could turn on the subtitles and essentially jot down some Korean phrases in the same way that you could while watching a Korean drama.

What Is the Best Way to Learn Korean?

Aside from watching Korean dramas and listening to Kpop, here are some of the best ways that you can pick up Korean.

Learn Hangul

Hangul is the Korean alphabet. By learning this, it might be easier to process some of the other phrases that you’ve learned. Being able to match the alphabet with phrases will help you to pick it up much faster too. In the same way that with English, you’d learn the phonetic alphabet to help with pronunciation, you can do the same with Hangul.


Why don’t you try picking up a Korean dictionary? It’ll help you to learn not only individual words, but perhaps you’ll be able to string phrases together. If you want to say a certain phrase, referring to a dictionary might help.


If you’ve heard the phrase back to basics, here we are. No matter what you’re trying to learn, whether that’s Science, History, or another language, writing down some key concepts can help you to pick it up quicker. If some certain phrases quickly escape your mind, writing them down on flashcards might help.

You can keep referring back to them and use them as a guideline when you feel stuck. If you really want to, you could even get a friend or family member to test you. Actively engaging with the language will definitely help you to learn it more efficiently.


There we have it – some of the best ways to pick up Korean. Whether you want to indulge in a K drama, put on your favorite Kpop hits, or learn the alphabet, they’ll all help with your learning.

It’s just important to remember that it’s not likely to come to you instantly. By persevering and actively engaging in the dramas and the language, that’s how you’ll improve.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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