Want to learn lines that’ll make a native Korean speaker swoon?
Want to know funny and witty comebacks for conversing with your Korean friends?
Want to learn the language in a way that mixes both its written and spoken forms?
All this and more can be yours.
I bring you… K-drama scripts!
Yes, they exist, they’re floating around out there and we’re going to tell you all about them.
In this post, we’ll quickly teach you how to best digest these scripts so you can make the most of them.
How to Use a Hangul Drama Script to Learn Korean
1) Print it!
Sure, this will initially be time-consuming. But if you want to study scripts effectively, don’t be content with just looking at PDFs. You’ve got to have these things printed. There’s really nothing like having a copy in your hand that you can use to write your notes and comments on, highlight lines or draw doodles and mnemonics.
Take the time to make yourself a hard copy. It’ll be so worth it!
2) Divide the episode into scenes.
These scripts can be long. A single episode can run you 30-40 pages.
Nobody expects you to study the whole episode in a single sitting. So divide the task into manageable bites by sticking to individual scenes.
You’ve printed the thing, so you can go deep. Read the scene repeatedly. Imagine the interaction. Read aloud. And if possible, memorize the lines. Go over a single scene again and again till you know it like the back of your hand.
3) Don’t just read along. Act it out!
Here, we go to the next level.
Yes, you can familiarize yourself with the dialogue, read aloud and follow along with the drama itself. You can even memorize the entire script. But if you really want to fully engage, you have to go above and beyond.
Get into the shoes of the characters and try acting out the scenes. Pick your favorite character and deliver their lines. Feel what they’re going through. Did they just get rejected by their first love? Then deliver the lines accordingly.
Doing this will give range not only to your acting chops, but more importantly, to your pronunciation and communication skills.
4) Distill the script for vocabulary words and common expressions.
One of the advantages of the having the script printed out is the ability to circle, underline or highlight important words or phrases that you think will be useful in everyday communication. Then, on a different sheet of paper, you can use your notes to manually create a vocabulary list.
You can also use index cards and write down one vocabulary word or phrase per card. You can add Romanization if it suits you, and then English translations. (For context, note in what part of the script the word is found.)
Do further research for your words/phrases. Read up on them and write down as much information as you can about them. Note down synonyms, usage examples or idioms that employ the vocab. This is going to be real work, but this is also where real learning happens.
Incidentally, there’s an easy way to get the same benefits from this exercise while taking a break from it. In between dissecting your dramas, you can check out the wealth of authentic short-form content on 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:
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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.
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5) Rewrite some details. Try to come up with your own version of a scene.
Advanced Korean language learners ought to stretch their linguistic muscles and think up new ways that a scene/dialogue can unfold. You can change as little or as much as you want.
For example, if in the original script the male protagonist experienced a beating from his mother for skipping school, maybe your own script can feature a mom-son talk where they discuss the matter calmly and come to a bruise-free resolution. You can make them do or say anything. You are the god of their universe!
Writing your own mini-scene or changing some elements from the original allows you to practice wielding the language for communicative purposes—making Korean alive and real for you. This exercise will supercharge your comprehension.
So, are you now ready for those K-drama scripts? Let’s go!
Korean Drama Scripts in Hangul: Where to Find Them All!
Note that the files you find from all these sources will probably be “.hwp” (Hangul Word Processor). To convert them to a different file type and get them to display properly, you can use a free online service like this one.
You’re not the first soul to venture into learning Korean through K-drama scripts. Other language learners have gone before and done the work of collecting the scripts floating around the internet and gathering them under one roof.
The Shine Smile blog has probably the most formidable list of K-dramas online, and it’s amazing. It’s conveniently arranged alphabetically and you’ll definitely have no problem getting your fill of Hangul scripts here. Not much is known about the owner of the blog, except that she considers herself a “drama addict” and a “keen language learner.” Her curated collection includes favorites like “Kill Me, Heal Me” and “Oh My Ghost,” along with lots and lots and lots of other drama scripts.
“Kill Me, Heal Me”
“Kill Me, Heal Me” is a South Korean drama that aired on MBC in 2015. It’s the story of Cha Do-hyun (Ji Sung), heir to a big South Korean company, who happens to suffer from multiple personality disorder. Riddled with different personalities often getting him into trouble, Do-hyun is being helped by psychiatry student Oh Ri-jin (Hwang Jung-eum).
Theirs is a romantic entanglement that comically becomes more absurd than that of a normal couple composed of just two people. Language learners will be able to benefit from the different portrayals and line deliveries by Ji Sung. Notice how different personalities command the language to portray different meanings and character.
“Oh My Ghost”
Now we go to the story of Na Bong-sun—a timid sous chef who happens to have the ability to see ghosts. One day, her body is suddenly possessed by a lusty virgin ghost who thinks that losing her virginity will help her move on to the afterlife.
The shy Bong-sun turns seductively aggressive and catches the eye of her boss, the celebrated chef Kang Sun-woo. Will the ghost get her way? Watch and read to find out. Speaking of which, the differences in how Bong-sun and the ghost speak—their rhythm and diction—should make for an interesting study for Korean language learners.
Naver is Korea’s version of Google. It’s a search engine.. and more! There’s a whole array of content on the Naver platform—blogs, online communities, dictionary and even webtoons—all finely tailored to the native-speaking population.
Perform your search as you would on Google. At the homepage’s search box, type in the title of the drama you’re looking for, in Korean or English, and see if you’re in luck. Add “대본” (daebon) to the drama’s title. It’s Korean for “script.” (If you’re having difficulty navigating the Hangul interface, don’t worry, because Google Translate will have your back and can render the text into English.)
There are native speakers who have collected scripts from some of their favorite dramas and shared them on their Naver accounts. Korean language learners can pick up content for favorites like “Lovers in Paris” and “Attic Cat.”
“Lovers in Paris”
Well, that was Paris. Now that they’re both back in Korea, it seems that European romance kindled more genuinely than they anticipated.
“Lovers in Paris” is a multi-awarded drama penned by the illustrious and brilliant Kim Eun-sook. Language learners who study the script will learn what smooth conversations and dialogues look like on paper. This is a perfect study for intermediate language learners looking to improve their vocab and diction.
Can two opposites survive each other?
Lee Kyung-min is an adorably lazy law student whose only goal in life is to win the heart of some snobby girl. He’s living off the kindness of his wealthy grandfather. Nam Jung-eun, on the other hand, is a poor but disciplined girl who wants to make ends meet. These two characters, owing to a comedic twist, end up living in the same tight quarters. Friction ensues as they each try to recognize their real feelings for the other.
Language learners, especially beginners, would do well to study the to-and-fro bickering of our main characters in the script. You should practice and read aloud to get a feel for the conversational cadence in these scenes.
Together with Naver and Nate, Daum completes the triumvirate of Korean search engines out to challenge the dominance of Google. Owned by the Kakao Corporation, Daum also has its own range of services—from blogs to messaging, news, forums and e-commerce.
Search Daum as you would Google and see if your favorite drama’s script is available.
The download-worthy titles you’ll find on Daum include “Boys Over Flowers” and “City Hunter.”
“Boys Over Flowers”
F4 is a clique of the sons of uber-rich individuals in South Korea. Basically, it would be like if Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg had sons who were all of the same age, all went to the same high school and were all incredibly hot. So yeah, totally possible premise.
F4 tears through their elite high school, bullying and destroying the lives of whoever gets in their way. They have the run of their world. That is, until Geum Jan-di, the daughter of a lowly laundromat owner, stands up to them.
She earns the ire, and later, the admiration, of the group’s leader, Gu Jun-pyo. He falls for her, and now the tables are turned. Let’s see if this wealthy kid wins the heart of a girl who only has loathing for rich folks.
Language beginners can take a lot from this 2009 South Korean blockbuster. The dialogues are really very easy to learn. The lines of the script are simple, sharp and quick. They’re perfect for beginners looking to build a wealth of Korean vocabulary.
Lee Yoon-sung is the new hotshot recruit of the “Blue House,” South Korea’s seat of government. He comes in as an IT expert who trained in the United States. But he’s not on the job just to track VPNs. He’s the “City Hunter.”
The City Hunter is out to exact revenge for a betrayal that happened decades ago. In his crosshairs are five corrupt politicians whose decisions directly resulted in the death of his father.
Of course, serving revenge won’t be that easy—especially when there’s a pretty love interest who throws a wrench in the works.
This Korean drama, adapted from a Japanese manga, is perfect for language beginners. The dialogues are very simple and pretty straightforward. So print that script now and have a go!
Of course, the world’s trusted indexer of information is not to be outdone. A basic Google search can fetch you some of your favorite K-drama scripts.
If you don’t know the title of your drama, or if your heart isn’t set on a particular one, maybe you can use Korean Drama or Drama Beans to track down what you’re looking for. (Drama Beans used to be a go-to place for Hangul scripts, but their links have gone AWOL.)
Copy and paste the title (Korean or English) into the search bar. Don’t forget to add “대본” to the drama’s title to remind Google that you’re interested in scripts. Downloadables you can find this way include “W” and “All In.”
Kang Chul is an Olympic champion shooter who brings fame and glory to Korea in the 2004 Athens Olympics. But his perfect life is soon totally upended when every member of his family is callously murdered.
Being the sole survivor, he’s immediately spotlighted as the prime suspect. People believe him to be the killer and he rots in prison.
Years have passed, and a curious series of events have come to light that prove his innocence. Gaining his freedom, Kang Chul is hell-bent on making himself wealthy and successful, and finding out who murdered his family… and why.
And oh, by the way… Kang Chul is really just a character in a webtoon. But he doesn’t know it yet. Will somebody from the real world set him straight? Find out.
This drama is suitable for intermediate and advanced language learners. Be sure to follow the script carefully and notice which things are happening in the real world and which things are happening inside the webtoon.
A wedding is about to take place… only not so much, really. The groom just caught a bullet in his chest. And he’s about to spend the next eight months with amnesia. So begins this fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping TV series.
This one has all the elements of a South Korean classic: murder, amnesia, rivalry between friends, rich-poor dynamics, forbidden love and, of course, a nun who becomes a casino dealer.
It’s a love story set in the high stakes world of gambling. Advanced language learners can benefit from looking at how different emotions are elicited in various scenes. For example, how do the two protagonists, Kim In-ha and Min Su-yeon, talk to each other in a way that reveals love and sublime yearning? How does the writer heighten the excitement in scenes that depict high stakes betting? What words, expressions or lines are used?
From start to finish, this drama is a masterclass in the use of language and emotions.
KBS World on YouTube
Last but not least, there’s YouTube.
You can easily download the subtitles from YouTube videos to make your own printed drama scripts. Here’s how: Click on a video that has transcriptions. Next, locate the triple dot icon found below the video’s title. (Yep, those three little circles beside “Save.”) Click on it and choose “Open transcript.” This will open a transcription box. At the top of this box, there’s another set of three dots. Click on it and choose “Toggle timestamps.” This takes out all the messy time marks on the transcription.
Below the transcription box, you can choose the language for the transcript. Choose “Korean.”
Copy and paste to a word processing program. Print and enjoy!
One of Korea’s biggest broadcasters, KBS World, has an awesome YouTube channel. Here you’ll find the latest TV shows, concerts and, of course, dramas from KBS. Take a look at “The Man in the Mask” and “Who Are You.”
During the day, Ha Dae-chul is a diligent and no-nonsense prosecutor, working hard to ensure that no criminal escapes the long arm of the law. At night, he dons a mask and becomes a vigilante visiting crooks who think they can go on with their lives of crime. He scares them into reform, hoping that they straighten up their acts.
Dae-chul is happy to live this uncomplicated double life and wants to hide his midnight identity from everyone—especially Yoo Min-hee, a detective from the violent crimes division, who he’s got the biggest crush on.
The problem is, she’s slowly connecting the dots and zeroing in on Dae-chul!
Intermediate language learners will find the script for this drama helpful in building fluency. There’s a mix of both basic and more challenging stretches of dialogue. So it’s best to heed the mantra “Print it!”
Of course, a drama script marathon wouldn’t be complete without twins!
“Who Are You” is a drama about Go Eun-byul and Lee Eun-bi, who got separated via adoption. Eun-bi lives a simple and cheerful life in South Gyeongsang province. Eun-byul, on the other hand, resides in Seoul and goes to the most prestigious private high school in the city.
On an out-of-the-city school field trip to the very same town where her lost sister lives (because yeah, dramas are like that), Eun-byul mysteriously disappears.
Ten days later, a girl who looks exactly like her surfaces. She’s hurt and suffering from amnesia. Is it still Eun-byul, the popular girl from her high school, or is it her twin sister? Find out.
Beginners and intermediate language learners will find this script suited to their level. The language used is simple and the lines are very basic. Pay careful attention to how the writer differentiates between the twins through diction and characterization.
So that rounds up our post on Korean drama scripts. The ball is now in your court. No more excuses. You get to decide.
You decide the effort you’re going to give and the time you’re going to invest in learning the language. All I can tell you is… it’ll all be worth it!
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