Did you know we tend to spend up to eight hours per week watching online videos?
Eight hours is a lot of time.
You might think that time is just getting wasted, sucked into the endless void of online entertainment.
But our internet addiction isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If you play it smart, you can transform this time (or at least some of it) into extremely valuable Korean study time.
Oh, and I don’t mean that you need to trade your fun browsing time in for boring educational videos either.
Believe it or not, watching goofy cat videos, YouTube vlogs and viral TikToks might be just what you needed to head towards Korean fluency.
Not convinced? Watch and learn as we convince you on how you can actually, well, watch and learn!
Why Learn with Korean Videos?
Korean videos improve listening comprehension
Hearing the Korean language as it’s spoken by native speakers is absolutely critical for learners. Listening comprehension involves an awareness of nearly all aspects of the language, but toss in factors such as speaking speed and dialects and the work cut out for your ears can be demanding indeed.
With Korean videos, you’ll certainly have the opportunity to hone your comprehension skills. Not only will you get Korean audio, but you’ll also have accompanying visuals that can help you follow the speaker as they talk.
Korean videos can improve all language skills
There’s a countless number of videos and just as many types of content. You can find and use videos to build upon any aspect of your Korean knowledge. Reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar and vocabulary: each of these facets of the Korean language would have numerous videos dedicated to them.
Even Korean-language videos that aren’t explicitly teaching you Korean can fulfill an educational purpose, so long as you’re attentive to the linguistic strengths they can present. Indeed, some videos may surprise you with how informative or helpful they prove to be!
Korean videos are engaging
Let’s be honest: not many people are inclined to turn to studying as their “fun-time” activity. The act of learning isn’t normally perceived as the most compelling affair.
This is often due to a lack of engagement in the learning method. For example, when learning from a book, you’re probably just reading quietly and working to process the text. It can make for a pretty dry, isolated experience for some learners.
With videos that provide both visuals and audio, you’re much more inclined to be attentive and consume the content readily. You may even find the urge to interact with what you see and hear, such as by speaking along with whoever’s talking.
The factor of engagement can be a big boon for keeping your studies both interesting and fresh, and it can be naturally and easily provided by videos.
Korean videos provide context and cultural tidbits
Many learners of the Korean language are often interested in the Korean culture itself; perhaps it’s the reason why they wished to learn in the first place! With Korean videos, particularly those that are native content or discussing Korean society, you can boost your language skills while becoming more knowledgeable of the country itself.
Furthermore, videos will show the language in context. Depending on the content, the Korean spoken can differ dramatically and you’ll be exposed to more genuine and natural forms of the language. To have context means you have knowledge of the scenario at hand and thus a greater ability to expect and predict the true meanings behind the words used, so you’ll be learning communication as opposed to just bits and pieces of the language.
Korean videos provide dimension to the language
Sometimes the phrases and sentences used in textbooks seem a little too consistent or stiff. That’s to be expected when the priority is to make sure you learn the language in its most proper form, even if it might appear a bit odd when you speak it in real life.
This is probably why any by-the-book learning would benefit greatly with videos—the diversity of content makes it so that you can have a much more organic and realistic exposure to the language.
The levels of dimension a video can provide to a language is a sometimes overlooked feature that’s actually very valuable. It’s probable that if you choose to learn Korean with videos, you’ll have many “teachers” with their own stand-out traits or “personalities.” You get to see the language at different angles according to different people, which gives you more room for exploration in your studies.
If you’re now convinced of the awesome benefits that videos can provide for your Korean studies, great!
You can reap plenty of Korean knowledge simply from videos. To do so properly, there are a few things about learning with videos that you should keep in mind so that these educational resources don’t revert back to being purely audiovisual entertainment.
19 Hacks to Learn with Your Favorite Korean Video Resources
Hacks to Learn Korean with Any Video
It seems simple enough: press play and keep your eyes glued to the screen, right?
Well, you may get some level of learning done just by watching a video as you always do, but in order to really transform your video binging into study sessions, you’ll need to take on an active role. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to ensure that you’re truly learning from Korean videos and improving your skills in the language:
1. Have a plan of action before you watch
Before you even click the “Play” button, you should have an idea of what you’re aiming to gain from the video of your choice. This premeditation will be especially necessary for videos that aren’t explicitly Korean teaching videos, but feature Korean-language content nonetheless.
While you’re scrolling through your video options, ask yourself what you want to practice or improve. You can often find a great purpose for any kind of video, whether it’s a compilation of the ever-so-catchy hit songs by BTS that can boost your swoon-inducing romantic Korean, or a news report that may aid you in learning more technical, fast-paced Korean.
So don’t be quick to dismiss clips! With the right outlook, any video that features Korean content may prove useful.
2. Use subtitles or transcripts
In general, it’s a good idea for beginner learners to have subtitles or transcripts available to them while watching videos. This is so that they can follow along to the spoken Korean; it won’t do for any learner to watch a video only to realize he or she can’t comprehend the majority of what’s being said.
For more advanced learners who have a more confident grasp of the language, subtitles can have extra functions. Rather than using English-translated subtitles, you can instead use Korean subtitles to practice both spoken and written Korean. Without a spot of English to be found with this method, you’ll be heavy-lifting a number of skills all at once!
Sometimes it’s difficult to find Korean content, especially with provided captions, and you might wish that you could just plop yourself in Korea so that you can have limitless access (and endless learning opportunities) to Korean media. This desire can be partially satisfied with the use of a Korean VPN server, a tool that lets you access internet media from Korea that would otherwise be locked or unavailable to you in your own country.
3. Mimic speakers
Language learners are sometimes frustrated by their non-native accent. It’s an understandable worry, as having very strong accents can make your spoken Korean less intelligible, regardless of your technical skills in the language. The problem may reside in their lack of practicing correct mouth movements that would enable proper enunciation.
Copying speakers is a useful method to improve your pronunciation skills, and with videos, you can do so easily since the visuals are there for you. You can repeat out loud what the speaker says as they’re saying it, or you can listen to the speaker first before pausing and reciting in verbatim. You can then see how you sound compared to the speaker and work to address any flaws.
Once you’re confident enough, try and find videos that will really put your speaking skills to the test. These can be videos that contain very quickly-spoken Korean, whether it’s the rap sections of EXO songs, heated political debates or passionate sports commentaries.
However, with more challenging videos, be wary of slurring or “skimming” over words—start slowly with careful enunciation of each word, letting your mouth get used to the rhythm of each whole phrase before gradually speeding up and keeping pace with the original speaking pace.
Who would’ve thought that something you would do as a kid to annoy someone else could prove to be quite a helpful language learning tool?
4. Pause, slow and rewind
Take advantage of video controls when you’re working to improve your Korean. You want to properly digest the content so that it can make the full transformation into learned knowledge, and if that requires you to frequently stop, slow down or rewind the video, then do so!
As soon as you lose track of what’s being said, stop and go back to regain your momentum. This is the idea of “stumbling and recovering”: there will be times when you miss a word or phrase, and it’s crucial that instead of barreling forward with that lingering gap of knowledge, you pause to get your bearings. Without correcting yourself, you’re bound to go “rolling down” and consistently lose comprehension of the rest of the content.
Video functions are there to make sure a viewer doesn’t miss anything, so harness their purpose as often as needed for your learning.
With these quick tips on how to learn with Korean videos, you’re now armed and ready for some serious learning business.
You can now start building up a collection of videos that will serve as a treasure trove of study material! Luckily, this will be very easy to do when you search within the right places.
Hacks for Learning with Different Korean Video Resources
You can find Korean-language videos almost anywhere online, but there are some sources that are more recommended and accessible than others. Here’s a list of just a few:
Besides being a main source of entertainment for many internet users, YouTube can also be a highly educational platform. Indeed, learning with YouTube videos can be highly convenient and if done properly can lead to some impressive results.
5. Browse the different Korean-teaching channels
There are many YouTube channels dedicated to teaching the Korean language. You should browse through them and find a few channels that are subscription-worthy. The instructional videos can range broadly in terms of formality and level of instruction, so you’re bound to find a style that you personally enjoy.
6. Check entertainment-based Korean-language videos
Korean lesson videos are probably your first go-to. But you can also go for videos that aren’t necessarily educational in format. In terms of quantity and variety, the Korean side of YouTube has it all.
Here are some examples:
- trending and catchy K-pop videos
- technical and to-the-point Korean news reports
- fun Korean cartoons that offer easy-to-understand Korean with colorful visuals
- daily life updates from Korean vloggers
It would be mightily difficult for anyone to believe that they’ve run out of things to watch and learn from on YouTube. Take your time to explore all the different kinds of content to expand your learning material!
7. Make use of subtitled and close-captioned videos
Fortunately for language learners such as yourself, you can find plenty of Korean-language videos that come provided with subtitles.
Subtitles are available in two ways. The videos themselves may have translation text encoded within them. These are actually more common than you might think, as Korean content does have an audience with English speakers.
The videos may also have subtitles via YouTube’s “closed-caption” system. The captions may be provided by either the video creator or by viewers in the community (although this has been discontinued since mid-2020). Normally, these videos would state to “turn on CC” in their titles or descriptions.
8. Utilize YouTube’s playback speed feature
YouTube videos can be slowed down or sped up in specific increments. You can definitely slow down videos that may have spoken Korean that’s a little too speedy for your ears.
If you’re itching for an auditory challenge, you’re also free to do the complete opposite and speed up the audio instead.
Keep in mind that changing playback speed will distort the general audio. For that reason, you may want to find videos that don’t have a lot of background noise, as that can muffle the actual spoken Korean.
9. Make sure that the videos use Korean properly
Learning Korean with YouTube is accessible and price-free, though there’s a bit of a caveat.
You should always ensure that the videos you watch are reliable in their use of the Korean language, as not all videos (including educational ones) are moderated in terms of their accuracy or trustworthiness.
Although you may find Korean videos on many sites, not all platforms can promise the availability of certain functions that would facilitate your learning of the language.
Due to the continually-growing diversity of content in FluentU’s video catalog, you’ll be getting a broad and genuine exposure to the Korean language used in all kinds of contexts and scenarios.
But that’s not all!
FluentU now also has a Korean YouTube channel.
The channel takes the best clips on the internet and transforms them into Korean grammar, vocabulary and cultural lessons.
A perfect example is the following video, in which you can learn how to introduce yourself like a pro:
Or the following one, which teaches you 50 essential Korean words in just 10 minutes:
If learning Korean with engaging videos is your thing, you’re going to love FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel. Subscribe to it today and hit the notification bell so that you don’t miss out on any of the new content!
10. Learn instantly with interactive subtitles
Each video comes with interactive subtitles that do more than just transcribe speech-to-text. If there’s a word you’re unsure of, simply tap it in the subtitles to access a definition, pronunciation guide, image guide and example sentences. This nifty feature enables you to confidently keep up with the video, regardless of the level and kind of Korean being used!
11. Practice often with the robust review system
Review functions are also available to ensure you’re fully absorbing all the new material you learn. You can familiarize yourself with words and phrases contained in a video with its provided interactive transcript.
Every learner has his or her own specific needs, and so FluentU works to create a personalized learning experience by keeping track of all the words you’ve learned. Based on your progress, FluentU offers adaptive quizzes that focus on the material you struggle with most, so that you can get the focused training you need.
12. Make your own multimedia flashcards
With a single tap, you can turn any word into its own flashcard, complete with a definition, pronunciation guide and supporting video.
Create your own custom decks so you can revisit your favorite vocabulary anytime you want! You can even review them with short translation quizzes, so that you know your skills are up to snuff.
13. Stay motivated by setting a “Daily Goal”
FluentU’s “Daily Goal” feature lets you decide how much you’d like to accomplish by the day. The more time you spend studying with FluentU, the more points you get marking your learner’s commitment! You can even see a cumulative count of how many words and video captions you’ve learned.
This is an easy way to keep motivated and organized in your studies. Once you hit your daily goalpost, you can get the satisfaction of completing a job well done!
You can try out FluentU’s free trial to experience this immersive video-based method of language learning. You may also find app versions of FluentU available on the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
Korean dramas and TV shows
Korean TV shows aren’t just great at telling gripping stories or provoking some serious laughs: they’re also fantastic for learning purposes, and luckily it’s quite easy to find and watch Korean TV online.
Korean dramas have become incredibly popular around the globe, and in turn, the availability of both beloved and ongoing K-dramas online has never been higher! You can get your fix of tragic characters and compelling narratives while intensely learning Korean.
Luckily, since so many are interested in them, you can watch many Korean dramas online, on streaming services such as Roku that houses dedicated Korean channels or with Korean drama apps.
14. Download Korean drama apps
Besides the fact that there are a number of Korean drama apps that are free, apps are very useful if you’re the type who’s always on the go, and with the addictive nature of K-dramas, you may be more than eager to catch the latest episode even when you’re not at home.
With the wide availability of drama apps on Android and iOS devices, you can scratch your drama itch wherever you may be. That also means you can be practicing your Korean anywhere you are!
15. Watch an episode more than once
Let’s face it: TV shows are distracting. But if you’re attempting to learn from Korean TV shows, you’re going to have to fight against the very nature of entertainment.
In your first watch of an episode, let yourself be a casual viewer. Indulge in all that the show has to offer and enjoy yourself. You can try to see how much Korean you can understand, but don’t stress too much about it.
Now watch that episode again, this time with a completely different mindset: that of a language learner. Ignore the distracting elements and focus on the actual Korean language that’s used. Pause and rewind as often as needed to pick apart the speech, down to its individual words and sentence structure.
With this method, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds when it comes to watching Korean shows!
16. Explore other types of Korean TV shows
If you’re not into the drama scene, then try other kinds of Korean shows. You might be interested in Korean talk shows and enjoy the genuine, on-the-spot conversations between the host and guest, or perhaps you may find your niche in Korean variety shows with their entertaining acts and panels.
Different show genres can expose you to different usages of the Korean language. Be open-minded and try out shows that normally don’t fall on your radar. Regardless of your choice, you’re likely to find a specific value for whatever you watch while thoroughly enjoying the wackiness of Korean entertainment!
Netflix and Hulu
Korean media has reached an audience abroad, and in response, streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu have padded their catalogs with more Korean content than ever before.
Both Netflix and Hulu provide Korean dramas and TV series, but they also stream full Korean films. The quantity of Korean films available on Netflix is particularly extensive due to the platform’s prominence, and the list is constantly being updated.
And thanks to these platforms’ streaming capabilities, you can access your favorite types of content anytime you want, but you can also look forward to those added for special seasonal moments! And even these can stick around throughout the year, so you can watch whatever, whenever—that means you can watch your favorite Halloween-appropriate Korean shows on Christmas, or Christmas Korean films during Halloween!
17. Use Korean subtitles as a study aid
Multilingual accessibility is a big factor for these platforms. That’s why the content available on Netflix and Hulu also comes with subtitles in different languages, Korean included.
When watching non-Korean content, switch on Korean subtitles. See how much you can match the audio to the transcriptions. Better yet, you can mute what you’re watching and gauge how much you can understand through just the subtitles.
Keep in mind though that some content may not have Korean subtitles provided.
18. Analyze English translations for Korean content
When watching Korean content, you can have English subtitles on so that you can follow along. But since you’re a dedicated Korean learner, you may want to step it up a notch.
If you want to be extra vigilant, you can scrutinize the English translations and see how much you agree with them. Official translations are often adjusted so that they’re more relatable to the audience. Play detective and point out any spots where you think the direct meaning may have been tweaked; you can check your assumptions by researching the accurate translation online.
19. Look for Korean-dubbed content
If you’re lucky, you can stumble upon shows or movies dubbed with Korean audio.. There aren’t too many of them compared to dubs in English or European languages, but you should take advantage of any you can find.
A Korean dub can offer unique advantages that subtitles can’t. You’re basically getting a remake of the original script, with a more naturally Korean flair. Certainly, a dub can be a bit more difficult to follow than subtitles, but the challenge can really train your listening comprehension skills.
Plus, if you listen to a dubbed version of a show or movie you’ve watched previously, you come prepared and knowing the context of the plot. This can make it much easier for you to focus on and understand the Korean audio.
Learning Korean with videos can be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience that makes studying less of a chore and more an occasion to look forward to.
So if you’re ready, press “Play” and start watching away!
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