What Are Your Motives for Learning the Korean Language?

 What Are Your Motives for Learning the Korean Language?


If you’ve read a list of all the most popular and widely spoken languages in the world, you might not be far off from your guesses. For example, you can expect English to be on that list, considering the influential power of English-speaking countries. You can expect Hindi and Mandarin as two languages with the most native speakers due to the size of their populace. Spanish and French may have many speakers too, for historical and cultural reasons.  So why would people want to learn the Korean language? You have other options to consider.

Korean is not one of those powerhouse languages. ‘Only’ 75 million people speak the language, of whom more than half are native to North and South Korea. You would not get as far as you could if you potentially study Mandarin or Spanish.

The Korean influence is everywhere in Singaporean society in both subtle and overt ways. We see Korean models for clothes and other brands. We buy Korean cosmetics products. We listen to Korean music and cheer for Korean dramas. And it is not an isolated case in our little country, we can see this influence in many other countries, particularly in Southeast Asia and the United States.

It is not easy to wonder why. Over the past years, Koreans have made a huge push to export parts of their culture around the globe. Their food, entertainment, and lifestyle are interesting and valuable enough for many people to be attracted to them. Powerhouse entertainers like BTS and Korean blockbusters like Parasite help further the push towards more exposure.

But this only explains the availability of Korean entertainment and culture worldwide. You might wonder: ‘What does this have to do with the Korean language?’ Well, it’s simple. People want to know more about the culture that spawned these brands, idols, and food. The simplest way to do this is by learning. Finding lessons in Korean is now extremely straightforward and simple– you can even learn Korean online if you wish.

What are some motives for learning Korean?


It might be simple to find Korean lessons, but it is not simple to learn Korean itself. Children may have an easier time picking up the language (thanks to their elastic brain’s capacity for learning) but your job as an adult is hard. Your developed brain makes it difficult to pick up any languages.

Another thing that might put you off from taking a Korean language course: The Foreign Service Institute, a leading body for learning foreign languages as an English speaker, categorises Korean as a Category 5 language. This categorisation places Korean as one of the most challenging languages when your native or primary language is English. The estimation for high fluency in English is at least 2,200 hours of learning or at least 88 weeks of intense study for high fluency.

And with a smaller percentage of the world’s population speaking Korean, it might seem trivial to learn a new language. Others might scoff at the idea when you can still derive some enjoyment from their culture and other products that come from Korea without understanding their language.

But many people have highly personal reasons for learning Korean. Whatever your reason might be, stick to it– learning a new language may be challenging, but it rewards you. You can access some of the richest alcoves of literature and entertainment in the world.

Here are only a few reasons why you should be learning Korean!

1) You plan to get a job and move to Korea someday

One reason anyone would want to learn the Korean language is that they plan to stay in Korea indefinitely (or at least for a long time). Standard practice dictates that the easiest way to live in a foreign country is to learn how to assimilate. Learning a new language is par for the course when settling down. You can easily talk to locals, find new friends, and navigate Korea without trouble when you are fluent in Korean.

2) You plan to study in Korea soon

Similar to the first reason, you will move to Korea to start your university or school life. School semesters last months and you will likely be there for years as you complete your education. You would not want to feel left out from your peers so you need to adapt quickly. Learning the language allows you to connect with others and learn more about society.

3) You have business dealings in Korea

New investments in Korea mean you will travel to the country and talk to locals often. You may rely on a translator to get by, but if you want to get a more intimate look at your Korean businesses and your partners, being able to engage in a conversation with them will help you bypass the language barrier. You might be able to get a better grasp of what they are talking about and not have your words misrepresented by the translator. Korean knowledge helps close the gap between foreign and Korean investors or shareholders.

4) You are a non-Korean who married into a Korean household

 Now that you are a part of a Korean household, you need to do your part to respect your spouse’s roots. If they took the time to understand and learn your native language, you might want to do the same for them. You can choose to attend a Korean language course for the sake of bridging the gap with relatives and getting closer to your spouse.

ONLYOU Korean Language School allows you access to some of the most diverse forms of literature and entertainment when you take their Korean language course. Get started by checking their website for more details!

Laura Daniel