A love for Korean music and dramas has led many fans to try learning the language, and the rise in demand for Korean lessons is being seen both at universities and online.
A July 11 report by BBC News examines how the boom of interest in Korean content has led to an increase in the popularity of the Korean language in countries including the United States, Canada, Thailand, and Malaysia.
According to the Modern Language Association, enrolment in Korean language courses at U.S. universities increased by almost 14 percent from 2013 to 2016. During the same time period, overall enrolment in language courses was seeing a decrease in interest.
While two decades ago there were only 163 students learning Korean in the United States, the number is now 14,000 according to the latest statistics. In addition, there are many people turning to online tools to study Korean. When the language learning website Duolingo started a Korean course last year due to demand, over 200,000 people signed up.
The BBC News report describes how “Hallyu” (or the “Korean Wave”) has become so widespread internationally that a United Nations aid agency used it as a conversation starter for an online project that connects young Middle Eastern refugees with students in the west.
In addition, a survey of K-pop fans in Algeria showed that most of them had adopted the use of Korean words and phrases in their everyday conversations. The rise in interest has led the South Korean government to set up 130 language institutes in 50 countries, and it also funded the new Institute for Korean Studies at George Washington University in the United States last year.
Although it’s much easier now to access materials and tools for studying the language than it was in the past, BBC News warns fans that “learning Korean is far from easy.” Korean has been described by a U.S. state training agency on foreign affairs as an exceptionally difficult language for English native speakers.
Have you been inspired to study Korean because of Korean music or dramas? Let us know how you’re learning below!