Music and TV for language learning

Listening to music can be an enjoyable way of learning a new language or simply getting used to the sounds and patterns of that language. Through music you can learn new vocabulary or reinforce what you have already learned – I love the thrill I get when I hear a new word or grammar structure in a song and it feels as if the jigsaw pieces of the language are clicking into place one-by-one.

TV can also be an enjoyable way to learn a new language although simply watching the show while reading subtitles can be limited in how much you will actually learn.

Recently I have been watching the Korean drama ‘To the Beautiful you’ which is the Korean version of Hanazakari no kimitachi e, more commonly known as Hana-Kimi.

Watch it in Korean at viki with subtitles in multiple languages.

(I also volunteer here as a subber – if you speak any other languages consider joining the community!)

to the

I chose this because this is one of the first series I watched in Japanese (the 2007 version!) and it became a way for me to measure my progress. The first time I watched it I had just started studying Japanese and really needed the subtitles to understand anything but the odd word here and there. This is very much where I am with my Korean at the moment.

Episode 1 in Korean with English subtitles below

Episode 1 in Japanese with English subtitles below

The second time I watched Hana-Kimi in Japanese I had been studying Japanese for two years, had studied abroad in Japan and had read all of the original manga in Japanese. This time I didn’t need the subtitles at all and it provided me with a confidence boost to see how far I had come since watching it for the first time.

For this reason I have chosen to watch this series in Korean. I am already familiar with the storyline which helps a lot and am planning to use it to measure my progress in Korean, much as I did in Japanese. (There is also a Taiwanese version if you want to practice your Chinese!)

The main theme for this series is Stand up by J-Min. Click here to see a post pulling out some vocabulary from the song.

I will be posting some other video clips and songs to support vocabulary acquisition – hope some of them are helpful for you!

There are obviously limitations to what you can learn through songs as, like poetry, they often use phrases or expressions that you wouldn’t find in everyday language. For this reason I don’t recommend them as your only method of studying. However, they can provide a fun brain break or reinforcement of useful vocabulary.

Why not get started by listening to a few of the songs below?

Korean through songs


Stand up by J-Min


Let’s not fall in love – Big Bang


Off road – TVXQ


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