Is listening to K-Pop actually useful for learning Korean?

I'm just wondering... I listen to a lot of K-Pop and am just curious if its possible that someone could get subliminally (or slightly) better at their pronunciation just by listening to music.


April 17, 2018


To get used to the language and its sounds, improve your pronunciation, yes.

To improve your vocabulary, yes, as long as you keep in mind that some words are not used in everyday spoken language.

To learn the basics of Korean (grammar), no...

You first need a solid understanding of grammar patterns to be able to capture all the nuances that are conveyed in an agglutinative language such as Korean. All those little particles and verb declinations that are glued to other words are of paramount importance and you won't learn them properly unless you follow a course or read a good grammar book. I don't think Kpop is the right tool for that, especially because of the artistic liberties taken by a singer to make the lyrics or rhythm sound better.

But as a complement to your other resources, sure, go ahead.

DISCLAIMER: I speak from the point of view of a french native speaker. My experience probably transfers to other french natives as well as English natives. However, Japanese and Chinese natives seem to have an all different experience with respect to Korean language acquisition.

April 18, 2018

I listen to a lot of K-pop, and I do think it helps as a listening exercise. I can distinguish words and sounds I couldn't even hear three months ago. I'm not sure if it does anything for speaking as you need to teach your muscles to work in a different way. But at least you'll be able to hear when you don't make the right sound :D (I'm using the general you here.)

I tend to have the subtitles on on youtube. They help figure out individual words in sentences I almost understand. Sometimes they're even in my native language (and the sentences are actually coherent and understandable!). I'm aware that often youtube translations are a mess, but even when that happens, they do help in figuring out how Korean works.

If there's no subtitles or if I'm just listening, I try to recognise familiar words and particles/suffixes/infixes and remember what they mean. Sometimes it seems like one word is suddenly in every song and then I try to figure out how it might be spelled so that I could look it up. That's probably the most useful thing about listening to K-pop for me at the moment.

April 18, 2018

Thanks for taking the time to write all that out! That sounds like an awesome way to cultivate your Korean listening/reading skills.

Thanks for the thoughtful response!

April 18, 2018

I forgot to say that I've been learning for only couple of months. I just finished the Lingodeer course and have only done a couple of skills on Duolingo (the crown change really helped with a lot of issues I had with the course here). So there aren't even that many sentences I'd understand in any context, my Korean is just a compilation of random words at the moment. I'm better at reading than any other language skill (as always), but listening comes second (which is rare for me) because of listening to so much music this early.

April 19, 2018

They definitely can! K-pop can help you get used to Korean, and even help you pick up some vocabulary along the way. For example, 몸, body, from MINO, 아주 from Seventeen, or 나비, 처럼, 사랑 & 혼자 from BTS.

However, this is not a reliable source to get all your Korean from (unless you just want to write song lyrics). Their sentences are usually abnormal, and wouldn't be very good for everyday conversation.

But hey, if it helps you, then don't stop!

April 18, 2018

Sometimes it helps, but not too often... unfortunately

I listen to Kpop all the time and you can pick up words but since songs/lyrics arent always translated literally, it is difficult to learn!

Hope i kinda help! ^~^

April 18, 2018

But also BTS has a show on V live called Run BTS - 달려라 방탄. Where they talk in Korean so I would think that that would be pretty useful as you can listen how they pronounce phrases and different characters. It is also very fun to watch :D

April 23, 2018

I have a lot of K-POP songs to help me learn different words.

Up Down by EXID

I learned Up (위) and Down (아래) from this song... I mean, obviously.

I Like It CLC:

(SO GOOOD BTW... Branch out of SM/JYP/BigHit/YG K-pop bubble, if you're in one. I used to be that way, but breaking out of it is so nice now.)

I learned big sister/brother (ish... I'm sure you know your way around (forgive ROM)언니 (unnie) and 오빠 (Oppa)) and friend (친구) from this song.

And plenty others. Gashina helped me a lot with like "why," "pretty," etc. Also, pretty much any TWICE song and pretty much no BTS songs. TWICE songs, despite being upbeat, go pretty slow and it's easy to learn from them, and even the raps aren't too fast. BTS songs are much too fast, even if you love them so much. I mean, Spring Day was pretty helpful, I mean we all know Bogoshipda now, lol. Forgive the rom, no Korean keyboard!

Be weary of songs that have too much english in the chorus, because you'll only really remember those parts of the songs. Like 200% by AKMU (I LOVE THAT SONG, but sooo much english.)

Really, check out all of these bands.

Also some bands that usually don't have much English in them are:


I'm really obsessed with K-pop, If you ever want music recommendations, really, ask me sometime, I'll talk your ear off.

Just one more little tip: Really big name companies have a LOT of English, and smaller companies don't, usually.

April 18, 2018

Dinosaur by AKMU is definitely one of my favorites. I know most of the songs/bands/artists you talked about up there, but I can't really find myself getting into girl bands, honestly. Gashina by Sunmi is a really good song, though (even though she's technically not a girl BAND).

April 18, 2018

I said so too until I found myself in the GG hole

Like Ooh Ahh is a good TWICE song, it's a little more on the Girl Crush side than their other songs. Also, EXID is the OG Blackpink (Some would say 2NE1.... Not really, exactly...)

April 18, 2018

To add on to previous comments, I would also say no. While some songs might help with pronunciation or vocabulary, I think songs also often change the pronunciation to fit the beat or rhyme so even that can be difficult. Additionally, they're often non-literal and use words that aren't used in spoken and conversational Korean. So I don't find it a reliable source. I would recommend checking out a frequency dictionary if you want to build your vocabulary effectively.

I love Korean music and if you enjoy it, you should definitely still do it if you enjoy it. But I would suggest having a separate, dedicated study time where you listen to a podcast or even a vlive of your favorite group. Do the vlive with Korean subtitles on and try to follow the flow that way.

I think the best listening activity would be podcasts, TV, or video. Especially if you're willing to watch the same 30-minute clip on repeat. Your ear with attach to certain phrases and become more Jeremy of MotivateKorean has numerous videos that talk about this -

April 19, 2018

I agree that you shouldn't use it as your main source, but you shouldn't dismiss it either. (I'm referring to the general "you," not you personally.) Music in general helps people remember things better, so if you've learned a word and are having trouble remembering it, finding a song to demonstrate it and put it into context can be very helpful. For an example because I freaking love this song:

"왜 예쁜 날 두고 가시나"

"Why are you leaving the pretty me here And going?"

(^literal translation^)

"Why are you leaving such a pretty girl as me?"

(^personalized more English-y translation^)

This helped me remember "why" and "pretty" reeeaaallly easily. If you're using the right translation sources, K-POP can be really really helpful.

Again, I totally agree it shouldn't be used as your main source of Korean Entertainment, but shouldn't be dismissed at all.

April 21, 2018

'K-POP'은 발음을 정확하게 하지 않는 가수들이 있기 때문에 노래를 듣는 방법으로는 발음을 더 잘할수 있다고 장담할 수 없습니다. 참고로 일부 노래에서는 같은 한국인이 들어도 무슨 말을 하는지 못 알아듣는 경우가 있습니다.

April 22, 2018

그래, 난 동의. 하나는 조심해야합니다. :)

(sorry, I used google translate for most of this, if it's wrong. I said "Yes, I agree, one must be careful")

April 23, 2018

I would say yes, at least a little! For instance, you may learn the names of kpop songs in Korean. This can help you to pick up a few words here and there. If you recognize a word that's used frequently enough, knowing the meaning of it might help you understand the meaning of the song or at least the line its used in. You are also able to hear a native speaker say (sing) the words, so it could help a bit with knowing how to pronounce some words and get used to their sound. It might not be so reliable with learning the language as a whole, though, because a lot of music uses "flowery" language that doesn't have a literal meaning. I hope you can understand this, happy learning!

April 23, 2018

Another recommendation would be to watch the "color coded lyric" videos, where it has the Hangul, Romanization, and English lyrics. It might help to look at the Hangul lyrics while you listen to the song to further familiarize yourself with pronunciation.

April 26, 2018

I would say not very much. Is it better than nothing? Sure. But it's one of the least effective things you could do, I would say.

Much more useful would be watching Korean TV programs or movies. Then you're hearing people actually speak normal sentences with normal intonation/pronunciation and conversational tone.

April 21, 2018

I would say that it helps a lot. I personally listen to BTS.... sooooo i have learned A LOT of Korean from their songs. So my answer is yes.. you can.

April 28, 2018

absolutely its effective for your listening but it would be better(if u want also) try to write the words you hear and then check the lyrics and this would be useful for your writing.

April 29, 2018

비추비추... 케이팝은 그냥 노래로만 들어주시는게 나을 것 같아요. 외국어 학습용으론 적당하지 않다는게 제 생각입니다! 왜냐면 발음이 모호하거나 길게 늘리는 등 변형이 많고 유행어도 그때그때 가사에 섞이는 편이라 정식으로 한국어를 배울땐 좋지 않아요 ㅠㅠ

May 4, 2018

I think it kind of does. If you're new to Korean it might sound like you're listening to complete jiberish but if you listen closely you can actually hear the words you've already learnt and be proud of yourself. Its the first steps towards learning a second language.

May 5, 2018

Yeah, it defiantly helped me! I listen to BTS and watch k-dramas when I am not on Duolingo!!

Do you like Jin from BTS tooo?????

July 22, 2018

Yeah, after you've learned the alphabet, basic pronunciation, and some syllables. I've actually printed out the 한국, roman, and English lyrics to a lot of my favorite songs and put them in my 한국 binder. I'll study them a lot by first saying the lyrics, then singing the lyrics to an instrumental version of the song. That's just what I do. But yeah! 케이팝 is a great learning tool for 한국. Now I'm curious... What groups do you listen to? Just asking! Blessed Be )O(

September 15, 2018


October 16, 2018

To an extent Yes. I live in Korean and I don't use "K-pop" in everyday conversation but it helps with vocabulary. I suggest or 한국 언니 on YouTube

기꺼이 도와 드리겠습니다.

October 25, 2018
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