There may have been occasions when we wanted to learn a language, but due to time constraints or moments of demotivation, we’ve been unable to do so. Now during this period of uncertainty and unfamiliarity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can try again to be productive in our own homes to navigate through this time. In BTS’ own words in ON, “미치지 않으려면 미쳐야 해” (to remain sane, one must go insane).
You may ask, “How?” Well, if you want to learn Korean but don’t know where to start, BTS’ music label Big Hit Entertainment has released a new, free series called “Learn Korean with BTS” on the Weverse app and website.
What’s This New Content?
On February 4, 2020 at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Big Hit Entertainment hosted the 2nd Corporate Briefing with the Community in the presence of co-CEOs Mr. Bang Sihyuk and Mr. Yoon Seokjun (also referred to in some news articles as Lenzo Yoon), where Mr. Bang revealed that a new learning program called “Learn Korean with BTS” would start rolling out in March. On March 23, more details were revealed about this program:
“Recently with the popularity of Korean culture, including K-pop, the demand for learning Korean has increased and we decided to make Korean educational content to improve accessibility to K-pop content. We hope global fans will be able to empathize with the artist's music and enjoy their contents more by learning Korean”.
This bite-sized content will be delivered in 30 three-minute episodes. This program was made with the help of Professor Heo Yong of the Department of Korean Language Education at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, as well as researchers from the Korean Language Contents Institute (KOLCI). The episodes consist of clips from videos on BANGTANTV, Run BTS!, and other BTS content. The purpose behind this program is to make Korean learning easy and more systematic. Who wouldn’t love learning a language to understand the content of their favourite artists, right?
Learn Korean with BTS
As of April 20, only 7 lessons of “Learn Korean with BTS” have been released so far. The first three lessons, which were released at 2pm KST on March 24, were focused on Korean consonants from ㄱ to ㅎ (giyeok to hieut), Introduction, and How Have You Been?. Before its release, the anticipation was high among ARMYs, especially the hardworking fan translators (who have always graciously explained new Korean words and vocabulary whenever a new song or a tweet was published by BTS). The next lesson, which taught its learners how to say “Thank You” in Korean (both formal and informal) was released on March 30, followed later by lessons on Sino-Korean numbers 1(일), 2(이), 3(삼), 4(사) etc, using honorifics and suffixes and saying yesterday, today and tomorrow in Korean.
This learning program is fun and very different from other Korean language resources, which can be disengaging as it teaches the complexities of Korean grammar. However, some ARMYs are curious about the program’s pacing.
When one studies Korean, the components of the alphabet or writing system are usually learned simultaneously: vowels and consonants. Consonants are discussed in lesson one, but to many ARMYs’ surprise, there is no explanation of Korean vowels in the first seven lessons. It’s clear that even though the program is fun, it can be confusing for new learners.
What Do ARMYs Think of This Program?
When new content from BTS or Big Hit is released, ARMYs’ anticipation is always sky high, expecting the utmost quality. The buzz that “Learn Korean with BTS” created was no exception. Now that seven lessons have been released, here’s what a few members from the fanbase thinks:
“I think it’s fun but the lessons (personally) are too fast and not explained enough. If I didn’t already have some knowledge of Korean, this would be more intermediate studying since it’s so short and fast lol there’s just not enough depth to it for the way I study and learn” - Yannibrie
“I think it’s a good way to introduce people to the language rather than teach it to them, and I think it should be recognized as a “study buddy” rather than a learning tool if that makes sense. Things need to be explained more in depth, especially for an English speaker. I’ve been studying Korean for a while now, so it wasn’t difficult but for an absolute beginner, I know it’s way too fast. If people use it in addition to textbooks/online resources, I think it can be really helpful and fun!” - Sno
“I didn’t really expect “Learn Korean with BTS” to be similar to Talk To Me in Korean (TTMIK) and other online Korean learning resources but I gotta admit, it’s still underwhelming. Also I’m grateful for K-ARMY translators who offer in-depth explanation after each episode, and also ARMYs who make online Korean study groups” - Ira
Overall with the delivery of “Learn Korean with BTS,” many ARMYs have found a new motivation to put themselves back on track in learning Korean with official content from Big Hit Entertainment and BTS. Though the new content has its disadvantages to new language learners due to limited explanations and quick speech, “Learn Korean with BTS” is still a great study buddy. In other words, it’s a valuable supplementary material in addition to other resources. It is definitely a delightful way to break from monotony in everyone’s new, daily schedules, and we can’t wait to improve our Korean skills with BTS’ help!
P.S If the speaking is too fast, you can adjust the video speed from 1 to 0.5 in the video settings.
Written by: Anugya Edited by: sno
Designed by: Achan
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