Turn off those subtitles! My Korean School study tips blog

Image with Netflix on laptop and text saying turn off those subtitles

Turn Off the Subtitles. 

Scary thought, I know, but this is a great way to help with your Korean language learning. Maybe not for the first viewing; it may seriously slow down your binge watching of your favourite Korean drama. And yes, I know that some dramas can move remarkably slowly already; However, think of all the learning that could be achieved if you rewatch an episode, without the support of those amazing subtitles. I am sure even with them on, you have picked up a few choice phrases, or heard some language that you have been practising in class, whether it be when someone greets a friend, or orders from a restaurant. This is all great learning, and letting the language wash over you is all so helpful. 

But it gets better. Turn off the subtitles. Trust me. Without their support you may find yourself feeling a bit uneasy at first but after you get used to it, you will be amazed at how much you can pick up. As an old Greek philosopher said once, a wise person is one who knows how much they don’t know. Or something like that! 

So try not to feel too overwhelmed, just sit back and listen for those phrases that you know, the ends of the sentences that are spoken. Even if you can’t understand the whole phrase, you may learn some grammar, or figure out that they are speaking about something in the past/future based on the verb ending. Let’s face it, a lot of those Korean sentence endings and rules can be a bit of a challenge in classes, and this is where it is helpful to hear how it is done by the experts. Think of these actors as your personal Korean tutors! 

Dream High Korean Drama Banner Image

And if you want to get a bit more involved, and just a little bit weird; hit the pause button when someone says something particularly dramatic. Then, try your best imitation. And don’t be shy to try out some actions, as you probably know by now, there are a few actions that are typically Korean (think Salanghae, with your arms raised overhead, in a beautiful love heart! How cute…). For a person learning Korean, it can be difficult to get the pronunciation right. Imitating a native speaker is the only way, and you have a plethora of them at your fingertips, on all those streaming services you have signed up to over the lockdown.

Personally, I find corny romance dramas particularly useful (I would never admit it, but I find them most entertaining), and it is a great excuse when I am embarrassingly caught in the act of watching one, or when doing my best imitation of Shin-Min-a’s character in ‘Hometown Cha-cha-cha’. You get used to the embarrassment after a while, and I like to think that it gives your loved ones something to laugh about with their friends.

Written by Brett Allen.

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