Are your Korean studies feeling a little dull?
Maybe you’re looking for a fun and easy way to teach yourself Korean?
You’re in luck!
Modern Korean culture is rich with colorful, lively K-pop songs for getting your singing groove on. Aside from watching Korean movies and taking in some fun videos while learning the language online, this might be the most fun way to learn Korean there is.
Already tried it and found it too difficult? Don’t despair!
Below is a roundup of some of the best easy songs for brushing up on your Korean listening skills.
What Makes a Korean Song Easy to Understand?
- Slow rhythm. True, many popular songs are catchy precisely because of their energetic groove, but if this makes them too difficult for you, try to pick a song with a more easygoing tempo. This will help you focus more on the lyrics and less on the beat. It’s a good way to cut out distracting musical elements and shift your attention to the Korean language.
- Clear pronunciation and simple language. Even in our native language, some songs can be difficult to follow. Vocal styling and unusual word choice can contribute to difficulty in understanding lyrics properly. It’s important to select songs with crisp pronunciation. Particularly, you want to pick songs from singers who have clear enunciation and really pronounce every word thoroughly. Slow rap songs can be particularly helpful because the words are spoken rather than sung. Understanding faster Korean rap songs may prove challenging, however, so focus on those involving slower, clearer language.
- Lots of repetition. Repetition makes it easy for the listener to remember the lyrics without much effort. Ideally, you want to be able to sing a song properly without reading the words. So a song with a great chorus, catchy lyrics and repeated lines should help you get there faster.
On FluentU, all music videos are broken down by level, so like with the list below, you don’t have to spend extra time checking whether a song is easy enough for you to learn with. FluentU takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
7 Easy Korean Songs That Make Learning Korean Feel Effortless
Sometimes thought of as Korea’s unofficial national anthem, “Arirang” is a beloved folk song about a woman complaining of her unfeeling lover. Despite her love for him, he left her, much to her chagrin. The song represents the joys and sorrows of the Korean people and was used as a symbol of Korea’s struggle for independence under the Japanese annexation.
“Arirang” is so famous that the song itself is a must-know. In addition to its strong cultural component, it will teach you numerous expressions and vocabulary for talking about geography and travels, with vivid descriptions of natural landscapes, sceneries and movement.
This is probably the best-known kids’ song in Korea and an easy, catchy tune to help with your studies. Almost everyone in Korea knows this song and its lyrics by heart. The song is about a mountain rabbit hopping around the hills and hiding in the grass to find chestnuts.
“Mountain Bunny” is a great song for learning vocabulary to talk about the animals populating the Korean peninsula. It will also provide a fun introduction to onomatopoeias, as they are included in the song to mimic the sounds and actions of its furry protagonist.
“Three Bears” is another popular children’s song that is dearly loved in Korea today. It’s very straightforward, yet incredibly endearing, and in spite of its simplicity, the song does a great job of proving that there’s no need for elaborate vocabulary to tell a moving story.
“Three Bears” is about a family of bears, each with their unique looks and personalities. They live together in a home. Papa Bear is big and fat, Mama Bear is slim, Baby Bear is cute and they all live happily together.
If you’re looking for a way to learn the basics without pain, “Three Bears” is the right song for you. This song will teach you all the essentials of Korean sentence structure, including word order, roots and key vocabulary. In addition, it’s a fun way to learn about the Korean counting system, including counting units and numerals, and to pick up some useful words and expressions to describe your family and people’s physical appearances.
This is a romantic traditional Korean folk song that is very famous throughout the country.
“The Story of Kap Do-li and Kap Soo-ni” tells the story of Kap Soo-ni, a young lady, and her beloved, Kap Do-li. They lived in the same village and had feelings for one another, but didn’t disclose their love to each other. Eventually, they got married to different people and suffered for not being together.
This song is a fantastic way to learn about reported speech and how it’s structured in Korean. The lyrics don’t just tell the story: Rather, the narrator tells something he’s heard and depicts what has been said to him in a moving and accurate way. As a result, every sentence incorporates the endings and patterns of indirect speech.
In addition, the song incorporates numerous action verbs that move the story forward and useful idioms that will help make your Korean sound more natural.
If you’re looking for an approachable way to practice this song, check out the karaoke version!
5. “시간아” (Time)
Nam Woo-hyun is one of the charismatic singers of famed K-pop boy band Infinite.
This 2011 slow solo hit is about a man longing to be reunited with his loved one. He feels pain and confusion as he relives recent memories of the girl he loves telling him that she’s made up her mind that they shouldn’t be together anymore.
“Time” is a fantastic song to learn how to express the feeling of sadness with vivid accuracy. It features numerous descriptive verbs and idioms that are commonly used to convey a range of darker emotions, including pain, nostalgia and chagrin. In addition, the lyrics include numerous essential connectors that will bring movement and complexity to your sentences.
Park Yoo-chun is a talented Korean singer. Aside from having a successful solo career, he’s the leader of JYJ, a popular K-pop group.
This song is a part of the soundtrack for the Korean drama “미스 리플리” (Miss Ripley), which became a hit across Asia. It tells the story of a tormented, impossible love. A hardened bachelor realizes he’s got feelings for a girl he knows love him. While hoping that it isn’t love he’s feeling, he still does his best to protect her and eventually asks that she move on, but then cries out his love for her.
This song is a fantastic introduction to 반말 (informal speech). It includes numerous declarative and casual sentences to help you gain a grasp of the Korean informal conversational system quickly. Also, you’ll learn various adverbs to add rich detail to your sentences.
With artistic videos à la Lady Gaga, Korean style, 2NE1 is one of the most notoriously unconventional Korean girl groups.
“Lonely” is about a girl who’s decided to move on from her relationship. She’s feeling lonely and sad about hurting her former beloved but realizes that she needs to pick herself back up.
This song will teach you a lot of idioms and structures to express confusion and uncertainty. The lyrics also incorporate various ways of conveying one’s personal opinion as well as verbs to convey different feelings.
Who knew learning Korean through songs was this easy!
We hope you have a lot of fun with these iconic and moving songs, and enjoy your Korean studies.
One Last Tip You Don’t Want to Miss
If you like learning Korean through songs, you’ll love FluentU!
FluentU makes it possible to learn with K-pop videos, funny commercials, entertaining web series and more.
Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of FluentU videos on offer:
FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It’s already hand-picked the best videos for you and organized them by level and topic. All you have to do is choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started!
Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.
You can use FluentU’s unique adaptive quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.
The program even keeps track of what you’re learning and tells you exactly when it’s time for review, giving you a 100% personalized experience.
The best part? You can try FluentU for free!
Start using FluentU today on the website or download the app for iOS and Android devices to take your learning on the go.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Korean with real-world videos.