Can movies make a real difference in your Korean studies?
Are those fabulous cinematic twists and turns able to make your Korean skills sharper?
If you’re not already hooked on Korean movies, you certainly should be.
Watching Korean movies is a terrific way to gain familiarity with the Korean language and culture.
That’s because the actors are native Korean speakers and naturally have perfect Korean pronunciation and intonation. Dialogues are rich, lively and interesting. However, they’re not always easy to follow.
Plots can be intricate, and attempting to follow them can become frustrating if you lack the vocabulary and listening skills. But what if I told you that there were movies in Korean that you already knew, even famous Hollywood movies that you already love?
That’s right! If those shiny new Korean movies are throwing you for a loop, why not get some movie-watching practice by checking out your favorite movies dubbed in Korean?
Unlike native Korean movies, these movies are already familiar to you in some way or another, making watching and understanding them exciting and effortless.
Watching these is a terrific way to elevate your Korean language skills and to bridge any gaps in understanding. That’s because it removes any potential challenges that stem from not knowing a film’s plot and allows you to be fully focused on the language.
Here’s how watching dubbed movies can radically improve your Korean studies.
How to Learn Korean with Dubbed Movies
- Pick a movie you know and enjoy. This is essential to ensure that you have productive viewing sessions. We’re all more likely to make an effort in our studies if we’re genuinely excited about what we’re doing! It’s just human nature.
- Be open-minded about your options. While it’s better to pick a movie you already know and love, the selection of Korean dubbed movies is somewhat limited. This is because most foreign movies and TV series are not dubbed in Korean. They’re subtitled in Korean!
This is also the case in countries like the Netherlands and Israel. It helps Korean natives practice their English listening comprehension skills, so most adult Koreans have no issue with casually catching a subtitled movie. However, movies for children are much more frequently dubbed. It’s a great strategy to opt for animations, Disney movies and cartoons when looking for good dubs.
- Find the original script and follow along. Sometimes it’s easier to watch a Korean dubbed movie while simultaneously reading the script in your native language. This script can serve as a loose guide to give you the gist of things. Several sites let you find movie scripts, including SimplyScripts, which specializes in recent movie scripts, and the Internet Movie Script Database, which offers a vast collection of animation movie scripts.
- Enjoy yourself and watch actively during the replay! That’s right, the key to a successful viewing session is to have fun with it. Watching Korean dubbed films offers plenty of listening practice and greatly benefits your studies. Yet you’re more likely to keep up the good work if you sincerely look forward to your movie sessions. So, some viewings can be 100% for pleasure, and other viewings can be 100% for studying.
Just be sure to be productive when it’s time to learn. It’s all right to devote your first viewing to entertainment and understanding the plot, but it’s important that you make an effort when you watch the movie again. Take notes, replay difficult scenes and try to say long or complex sentences out loud in Korean. You’ll get lots of speaking practice this way!
- Supplement with authentic content, like the videos on FluentU.
Watching dubbed movies is great for learning, but authentic content that’s intended for native speakers is a whole other ball game, and it’s important to expose yourself to the language the way it’s spoken in real life.
How to Find Korean Dubbed Movies
If you’re not already watching dubs, odds are that you don’t know where to look. The Internet is filled with fun, engaging content dubbed in the Korean language. Now it’s up to you to discover the perfect dubbed movies.
Strategies to Find Korean Dubbed Movies
The key to finding the right dubbed movie is executing a proper online search.
One strategy is to type out the title of the movie you’d like to find in Hangul.
If you don’t know the movie’s Korean title, simply head to Naver Movies. Use the search bar located on the right-hand side of the page and type out the movie title in English. Results will pop up in Korean. Simply copy and paste the Korean title into a search bar, followed by 우리말더빙 (Korean dubbing).
However, the best strategy is to only type 우리말더빙 into the search bar and see what results come up. Since few foreign movies are actually dubbed in Korean, this is a great fallback option. If you’re not sure whether or not your chosen movie is dubbed in Korean, your best bet is to browse movies that certainly are.
When narrowing down search results, be sure to differentiate 우리말더빙 from 한글자막 (Hangul subtitles)—the latter means that you’ll find foreign movies with their native language audio and Korean subtitles.
Sites to Find Korean Dubbed Movies
Unless you can ask a Korean friend to share their login information, your best best is to scout your dubbed films on registration-free streaming sites.
That’s because foreigners can’t pay for Korean VOD or pay-per-view sites such as Naver or OnDemandKorea. These sites all require that you register for an account using a valid Korean Social Security Number—although OnDemandKorea chooses five movies to stream freely every month!
But don’t despair, there’s plenty to keep you busy on Korean streaming sites and those from other parts of the world, such as YouTube, Dailymotion Korea, Viki and Pandora TV.
Pandora TV offers what’s arguably the largest database of films that have Korean dubbing. After typing in your search terms here, make sure to select “20분 이상” (over 20 minutes) in 전체재생시간 (total play time) below the search bar. All the results that will appear will be longer videos, not just short clips or movie extracts.
Korean Dubbed Movies: 5 Fun, Familiar Flicks for Learners
“Pinocchio” (피노키오 )
Who doesn’t love the tale of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy?
Released in 1940, this Disney animated film is a well-known classic. It features the story of Geppetto, a poor woodcarver who receives a piece of wood that he turns into a marionette, which he names Pinocchio. After numerous adventures, Pinocchio acquires a conscience. He learns not to lie and to honor his father.
This full-length Korean dubbed movie is a terrific way to learn the vocabulary of toy-making and everyday conversations, along with plenty of descriptive adjectives. It’ll also give you lots of exposure to the Korean honorifics system while watching a movie that you already know well.
“Primates of the Caribbean” (해양경찰 마르코)
This 2012 animated feature follows the adventures of Marco Macaco, a monkey who works as a beach officer yearning for the beautiful Lulu. Unfortunately, his beloved only has eyes for Carlo, Marco’s rival, who decides to build a monkey-shaped casino right on Marco’s beach. Skeptical of Carlo’s intentions, Marco discovers his enemy’s plans to marry Lulu and destroy his beach.
This lovely cartoon will help you acquire lots of idiomatic expressions along with plenty of jokes and witty punchlines. Dialogues are sharp and effective, filled with lots of useful verbs and sentence connectors.
“Doraemon: Nobita’s Space Heroes” (도라에몽: 진구의 우주영웅기)
If you’re familiar with Japanese animation, you’re bound to know Doraemon, one of the most famous Japanese anime series of all time. And if you don’t, it’s time to play catch up and watch this film. Doraemon is a friendly cat who was sent back in time by a young boy to help his great-great grandfather Nobita so that his descendants may enjoy a better future.
In this film, the characters decide to create a space-themed movie. They get transported into the film and have to deal with the dangers that come with traveling through space.
This thrilling film will enable you to review animal and space vocabulary along with plenty of adjectives and adverbs to tell very vivid, detailed descriptions.
“The Snow Queen” (눈의여왕)
Based on a Russian film and a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this poignant Korean dubbed animated movie tells the story of a brave girl on a mission to find a kidnapped friend in an evil queen’s icy palace in the far north. With the help of animals and the narrator, Old Dreamy, she must find the boy before it’s too late.
This is a very interesting movie to practice reported speech along with exclamations. You’ll also pick up lots of action verbs and advanced grammar structures along the way.
Whether you have kids or are still a kid at heart, you’ll love Disney’s animation film “Tangled.” Released in 2010 and inspired by the fairy tale by the Grimm brothers, “Tangled” follows Rapunzel, a teenage princess with extremely long hair who was kept captive in a tower for years. Seeking freedom desperately, she strikes a deal with Flynn Rider, the kingdom’s most-wanted bandit.
If you’re looking for a fun movie that will help you spice up your conversations with feisty, witty cues, this is the right movie for you. You’ll learn lots of inspired expressions and plenty of adverbs along with numerous useful opinion verbs, used by our charmingly opinionated main characters.
Watching and learning these movies holds no secret for you now.
We’re convinced that you’re going to love watching your favorite films in Korean, and that you’ll make tremendous progress in no time!
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