The Lowdown on “Learn Korean with BTS” (+19 More Resources for Fans to Get Fluent!)
If you’ve been living under a K-pop rock, BTS, or 방탄소년단, also called the Bangtan Boys, is a popular seven-member boy band from South Korea that has smashed records and won awards.
And yes, they can help you teach yourself Korean, too!
BTS even has a web series called “Learn Korean with BTS” specifically for their fans who want to learn Korean, and it’s free to stream on Weverse.
So let’s get into how you can learn Korean with the treasure trove of potential learning material that BTS has created.
- Why Learn Korean with BTS?
- What Is “Learn Korean with BTS”?
- Our Review: Inside “Learn Korean with BTS”
- 19+ More Ways to Learn Korean with BTS
- Music Videos
- Social Media
Why Learn Korean with BTS?
BTS songs are catchy. You don’t climb to the top of the charts with boring, forgettable songs. And for Korean students, the catchiness can make learning addictive. Not only will you actually want to study, but you may even find yourself inadvertently singing (and therefore reinforcing what you learn) constantly.
With BTS, it’s easy to get useful, repetitive practice. Listening practice is key to learning vocabulary, perfecting pronunciation and being able to understand spoken Korean, and repetition can aid retention. Luckily, it’s easy to listen to BTS songs on repeat and get the practice you need.
Plus, songs are brief enough that it’s easy to fit in a little practice whenever you have time. You don’t have to set aside hours on end or drag around Korean textbooks to improve your skills. All you have to do is pop on your headphones when you have a couple of minutes.
Beyond songs, there’s a ton of amazing BTS-related content available online. If you’re looking for authentic Korean materials, you can check out the group’s social media, fan pages and interviews. In fact, these are the sorts of materials you’ll see in the “Learn Korean with BTS” webseries.
Learning through BTS is also a cool way to connect with pop culture while learning the Korean language. Not only is it important to learn about Korean culture while you’re learning Korean, it’s also tremendously motivating. After all, if you love the people, the music, the food and the film scene, you’ll genuinely want to learn the language in more depth so that you can fully enjoy all of that.
Finally, learning Korean with BTS will give you something to talk about with a Korean language exchange partner or penpal. Language exchange can be one of the best ways to improve your Korean skills, since you get genuine conversation practice. However, it can be challenging to come up with topics to talk about. If you and your partner are both BTS fans, though, you’ll never run out of things to discuss.
What Is “Learn Korean with BTS”?
“Learn Korean with BTS” is a free, ongoing video series created by BTS that teaches you Korean.
The series is a way to help BTS fans from around the world learn Korean, so that they can enjoy BTS’s music on an even deeper level.
Where to Stream the Series
Unsure where and how to watch “Learn Korean with BTS”?
All episodes of the show can be accessed on Weverse, the BTS fan community app. You can sign up for it online or download the app for iPhone or Android.
You’ll have to create a free account. Once you’re logged into Weverse and in the part of the app dedicated to BTS (there are a few other groups on there, too), look for the series under “Media.” All the episodes are there to stream for free.
What You Get
The series is ongoing, with a new episode being added every week. (Currently videos seem to be added on Mondays).
Videos are two to five minutes long and feature the members of the group. Each episode stitches together footage of BTS members speaking casually (interviews, conversations, just clips of members talking to the camera) and uses that footage to pinpoint various aspects of Korean.
For example, one episode uses interviews and social media posts to teach Korean learners to introduce themselves:
Other episodes teach letters, numbers, colors and basic phrases like “thank you” and “how are you?”
Each video even includes a short segment called ARMY TIME! where learners have a chance to speak, sing along or answer bonus questions related to the Korean lesson:
The videos are all subtitled in cartoon Hangul, and key speech shows up highlighted. Important parts of clips are also sometimes replayed while the highlighted text is visible. You won’t find any English in these episodes unless you turn on the optional subtitles. The idea is a completely immersive Korean experience.
Our Review: Inside “Learn Korean with BTS”
Ready to learn Korean with BTS? Let’s take a look inside the series and see what it can do for you!
How the Series Teaches You Korean
- By focusing on limited doses of authentic language. The series takes a unique immersive approach—it uses very authentic language to teach you. You’ll find press clips, interviews and clips of BTS members just chatting.
This may seem jarring at first, because the clips can seem a bit random. But there’s a method behind it. For example, the first video focuses on different letters of the alphabet, showing how letters sound within full phrases and sentences. This provides a great basis for the following videos.
- By combining authentic audio with Hangul text. In any language, words are pronounced differently in context, so this gives you the advantage of learning Korean as it’s spoken from the very beginning, avoiding the shock of natural language later on.
- Through multiple examples. While the videos do teach you using authentic language, which can be difficult for beginners to catch or reproduce, you’re given multiple examples to absorb the language that’s being taught.
Authentic language can be imperfect for learning for the obvious reason that people speak differently from one another. But having multiple authentic examples helps you build your own speech patterns more effectively and develop a broader understanding of Korean.
The Drawbacks of the Series
- The series is organized more around vocabulary and less around grammar. You won’t find any grammar-intensive learning here—just vocabulary and basic phrases.
- The videos are pretty short. You may want to supplement the videos with other learning materials to feel like you’re making real progress.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the series isn’t useful! It’s a fun and friendly way to practice Korean, especially when supplemented with another language-learning program (and we’ll cover some options below!).
Who Can Benefit from “Learn Korean with BTS”?
ARMY. If you’re here, you’re probably already a BTS fan, which means you probably don’t need any extra convincing.
This is a good thing! If you have a built-in incentive to watch the videos over and over again, you’re more likely to overcome the challenges of this series and make some real learning progress.
Beginners who have already learned Hangul. While the series does highlight very basic concepts and language, jumping right into it as a pure beginner with no other means of support may prove frustrating. It also doesn’t really give you enough material for exclusive learning if you want to progress rapidly, which isn’t to say that it’s not fine for casual learners.
The real strength of “Learn Korean” is that it gives you real-life examples of the same language that’s taught in typical beginner Korean programs, and it gives you that language in categorized chunks. This makes it perfect for using alongside more organized material.
You’ll also benefit from the series much more if you’ve already learned the alphabet, as it doesn’t exactly teach you Hangul, but rather gives you examples of how some of the letters are used.
Intermediate and advanced learners. As we’ve already established that this is a program for beginners, you might be confused by this part. But as mentioned above, the videos contain authentic footage. This means that intermediate and advanced learners, particularly those with an interest in BTS, can benefit from the full scope of the videos, which are fully subtitled in Korean with the option of additional subtitles in English, Japanese and Spanish.
How to Get the Most Out of “Learn Korean with BTS”
All right, so we’ve established that almost anyone who has an interest in this series can benefit from it. But now that you’re ready to begin your learning journey with BTS, how should you proceed?
Use the (English) subtitles and the slow-down feature if you need them. Full immersion is a nice idea, but it isn’t so simple in practice. If you’re a beginner, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use English subtitles to understand what’s being said, as long as you’re still paying attention to the Korean.
You can also slow down the speed of the video, which for beginners, may prove not just helpful but necessary. The non-embedded subtitles appear in transparent blocks, so you can still mostly see the embedded Hangul subtitles on the other side of them. And if you need to, you can always watch with English subtitles to get the meaning of what’s being said, then turn the English subtitles off and run the video back to study the Hangul. Which brings us to the next point…
Rewatch episodes. The videos are short, and with only one added per week, it might seem like you barely need to put any time into learning Korean. But these lessons are dense, and it’s your job as a learner to pick them apart. So rewatch multiple times as a matter of course.
And depending on your level, there are multiple ways you can extract information from the videos aside from just watching them:
- If you’re a beginner: Write down the specific language or examples of language that are being taught along with their translations. Practice saying them out loud.
- If you’re intermediate or advanced: Find language that goes outside of the scope of the lesson and treat it like a dictation exercise. Run the audio and write down what you hear, then compare your version to the subtitles.
- At any level: Shadow along with the videos.
Use the series in combination with another learning program. While “Learn Korean” definitely has its limitations, it’s a perfect supplementary program for beginners, because it provides the exact kind of real-world language that’s missing from most beginner language courses. And because it comes in small enough doses to not be intimidating, you can easily add it on top of a class or another learning program.
Commit to following the series. This is arguably the most important point. “Learn Korean with BTS” seems casual on the surface, but like any program, you have to stick to it for maximum benefit. You don’t have to go overboard, though: It might be enough to just keep track of which video you’re learning with on a particular week, and keep the app open on your phone so you can go in for some quick learning whenever you have the chance.
No matter how you use the series, as long as you use it with some regularity, it will improve your grasp of spoken Korean.
19+ More Ways to Learn Korean with BTS
Why stop with the “Learn Korean with BTS” webseries? There’s so much BTS-themed web content geared towards Korean learners. If you’re hooked on the webseries and can’t wait a week for a new episode, check out some of the other resources on this list.
Learning resources are already designed to help you learn, so they’re perfect if you don’t want to put any thought into how to use them for your Korean study. However, for more well-rounded learning, you might consider using several of these resources or pairing them with other BTS-related resources.
If you like what you see on “Learn Korean with BTS,” you can check out FluentU as well.
FluentU goes far beyond BTS, or even K-pop for that matter, but you can currently learn from songs like “DNA,” “Fire,” “Fake Love” and several other BTS-related videos. Plus, new ones are being added all the time.
As you can see, FluentU’s BTS videos are super similar to “Learn Korean with BTS.”
But what about non-BTS videos?
Here's a quick look at the variety of video choices available to you:
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.
Don't stop there, though. You can use FluentU’s unique quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.
FluentU even tracks your progress and remembers all the words you've learned, making for a 100% personalized experience.
Review sessions use video context to help embed the words in your memory. The best part? You can access the full FluentU video library with a free trial!
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)
Not Today – BTS – Learn Korean with Kpop Korean
Like the fun of BTS, but prefer the structure of a more traditional Korean course? Well, do we have news for you! There’s an Udemy course specially designed to help you learn Korean with BTS.
The course focuses on breaking down the popular song “Not Today” line by line. Lessons cover in-context meanings, pronunciation and grammar. With over 30 expressions and around 70 words featured, this song has a lot to offer.
While the course is aimed at beginning students, it does assume knowledge of Hangul. However, if you know the basics, you can dive in and enjoy this course’s 17 video lessons taught by a native Korean speaker.
“Learn Korean with BTS! K-Pop Fan Must Know Phrases!”
Okay, so it’s only a little over a minute long. Okay, so it doesn’t cover all that much. But if you’ve ever dreamed of having the members of BTS as your personal Korean tutors, this YouTube video from Billboard is hard to beat.
In this video, the members of BTS introduce and explain a few key Korean phrases. The phrases appear on the screen as they speak for easy studying.
You won’t get fluent from it, but if you love BTS and want a little extra boost for your Korean skills, this video will be right up your alley.
“Learn Korean with BTS” Textbook
If you’re new to learning Korean but already know you love BTS, “Learn Korean with BTS” is a terrific book to help you get down the basics of the language through the works of your favorite band.
The book starts by teaching the Korean alphabet and basic pronunciation and grammar rules. But then, things get exciting. Popular BTS song lyrics are broken down line by line, highlighting key vocabulary and grammar rules. The book covers popular songs, including “Danger,” “Not Today,” “Spring Day” and more.
And if one book just isn’t enough for you, go ahead and check out the second book in the series, “Learn Korean with BTS 2,” to keep your learning on a roll with more hit songs, like “DNA,” “Pied Piper” and “21st Century Girls.” There’s some overlap in the songs covered in the two books. However, the format is slightly different, so you might want to look at the previews of the books to see which one best suits your needs and interests.
Korean Unnie is a YouTube channel that aims to make learning Korean fun and easy, and you’ll find some terrific BTS-related content here.
Some of the best BTS content on Korean Unnie is detailed song breakdowns. In “Learn Korean with K-POP [BTS-Spring Day],” the host breaks down the lyrics to “Spring Day” and explains individual words and overall meaning. And since each word appears on screen, it’s easy to study as the video plays.
Another great BTS-themed video features an interview with the band. The host explains band members’ responses and uses them to teach vocabulary and grammar rules.
If you need a learning resource to help you learn a little Korean as you study up on your favorite group, Memrise can help.
This BTS resource can help you learn both the real names and stage names of the band members, in English and Korean. What better way to learn Hangul than by learning the names of your favorite performers?
And just in case you’re already putting together scrapbooks to send the members as birthday gifts, Memrise lists their birthdays, too.
Listening to BTS’s music as part of your own free-form study plan provides more flexibility than only using BTS-related learning resources. After all, you can listen whenever you have a minute.
To get more out of your studies, dissect songs and learn them bit by bit until you have them memorized and know all the words. Pay particular attention to songs with vocabulary or grammar rules you struggle to remember. This way, once you’ve memorized a song, you can just replay it in your head whenever you need a little refresher.
Spotify has plenty of great BTS songs and remixes. And, if you’re okay with the occasional ad, you can listen to BTS songs for free. You can choose to listen to one song at a time, play through their songs or add BTS to your library.
And if you think you’ve milked BTS for all the Korean learning they’re worth, you can also use Spotify to find your next favorite K-pop group. Just click “related artists” for a list of performers that are similar to BTS.
If you prefer to purchase your music one song or album at a time, iTunes has all the great BTS songs you’re desperate to listen to.
With dozens of songs to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for options.
Want to download BTS music to your Android device?
Google Play also has all the hit BTS songs you need to improve your Korean skills.
Music videos are some of the most engaging resources out there since they’re multimedia, reaching you with both audio and visuals.
Plus, they offer a unique learning opportunity unmatched by other BTS resources: Just learn the dance moves from a video so you can sing and dance along. Moving while you study can help reinvigorate you and break up long sessions, so learning the choreography will give you so much more than just cool moves to whip out at your next party.
Big Hit is a South Korean entertainment company that manages BTS, so needless to say, the Big Hit YouTube channel has all the BTS music videos fans are craving.
In fact, the YouTube channel features over 120 BTS videos, so get out your dancing shoes and prepare for a good time.
KBS World TV
KBS World TV is a Korean TV channel that provides Korean content for international audiences, and its YouTube channel is on point.
The KBS World TV YouTube channel features a number of great performances by BTS, including clips of “Epiphany,” “Fake Love,” “Serendipity” and “Euphoria.”
Mnet is a South Korean music television network. Luckily, Mnet K-POP, Mnet’s YouTube channel, also includes plenty of the great content you’d expect to find on the TV network itself.
And it isn’t hard to find BTS content on Mnet K-POP. In fact, one playlist contains over a dozen high-quality videos of live performances.
Printed lyrics are a useful resource that can help you make out any tricky words. However, you can also use them to study lyrics in more depth, which is perfect for memorizing words and/or paying more attention to grammar rules.
To get more out of printed lyrics, read them ahead of time or study them without the music to get the words down. When you start listening to the song, read along if you have trouble making out individual words. As you get to know the song better, try to stop using the printed lyrics and focus on understanding what you’re hearing.
AZlyrics.com provides printed lyrics for dozens of BTS songs. Most of these lyrics are offered in both Romanized text and Hangul, so they’re perfect for both beginning and more advanced students.
There are also English translations for some songs.
Genius is another lyrics site with plenty of BTS lyrics to offer Korean learners.
While the lyrics on this site are primarily in Hangul, Genius has one huge advantage over other lyrics sites: Users can contribute information, meaning many songs are accompanied by insights, observations and theories by other fans.
Lyrics Translate is a lyrics site with a twist. Rather than just listing lyrics, it also provides translations. This means that you can find BTS lyrics translated into a huge array of languages, including English, Arabic, German, Spanish and more.
And best of all for Korean students, you can view the translations side by side with the original lyrics, making it easier to study key words and phrases.
Who doesn’t love a little karaoke? Not only will singing BTS karaoke break up your usual study routine, it’s also an awesome opportunity to practice speaking (well, singing, but still).
To get even more out of the experience, do BTS karaoke with friends who are learning Korean! You can critique each other’s pronunciation and challenge each other on tricky numbers. Plus, having someone learning Korean with you can help keep you on track.
The Kpop Louid YouTube channel has all sorts of K-pop related games, but everything else pales in comparison to its karaoke challenges. And don’t worry: There are some great BTS karaoke challenges for you to take a stab at. Fans of BTS who are learning the Korean language can give their vocal cords a workout with “BTS Random Karaoke with Lyric,” which cycles through clips of several songs, providing you with Hangul and Romanized lyrics to help you along.
[Note: as of June 2020, most of Kpop Louid’s Karaoke challenges have been taken down. However, you can still play their fun games like “Guess the Scrambled KPop Group Names.”]
Sing2Piano is a YouTube karaoke channel that offers piano backing tracks for popular songs, giving you the perfect support for your karaoke. Korean learners can enjoy an entire BTS playlist featuring 12 hits. However, the lyrics are in Hangul, so you’ll have to know the alphabet to start singing.
If you like to stay up to date on the latest BTS news, there’s no better learning tool than social media. You can even get in both reading and writing practice this way.
To use BTS social media for all its interactive Korean learning potential, simply follow the group on the sites you use. You’ll see their posts and get in some reading practice. To take things to the next level, consider commenting and interacting with others for some terrific writing practice. You might even be able to find your next Korean language exchange partner among the other adoring fans!
BTS’s Twitter account is chock-full of awesome Korean-language content that BTS fans can use to improve their language skills.
The group posts written tweets, photos and videos regularly, and some videos contain spoken Korean that you can use for listening practice.
Not only that, you can delve into each tweet’s extensive comments section for even more reading practice. Though be warned: Comments may feature as many languages as the UN, so you may have to look around to find the Korean. Once you do, though, you might consider following the poster for even more reading practice from a like-minded BTS fan. And with over 18 million followers, you should have no trouble finding Korean speakers who share your love of the band.
If you prefer photos to text, BTS’s Instagram is hard to beat. But just because Instagram isn’t text-intensive doesn’t mean a little Korean learning won’t slip in!
While photo descriptions are usually brief (and often in English), you can probably find some Korean-language comments in the comments section.
Plus, BTS’s Instagram account features a number of promotional images and posters that contain Korean text. You can use them to casually practice your Korean reading as you peruse Instagram. However, the study potential of the images also gives you a valid excuse to print them off and tape them all over your walls. After all, it’s for educational reasons!
No need to put blood, sweat and tears into learning Korean with boring resources.
Learn Korean with BTS to set your Korean studies on fire!