How to learn Korean with BTS through self-taught lessons: A guide
BTS' influence in the K-pop cultural phenomenon has triggered a widespread interest in the Korean language all over the world. Source: Cindy Ord / Getty Images via AFP

BTS is the gift that keeps giving. From being the face of Hallyu (the “Korean Wave”), to the band’s evolution into a brand name, and then taking the United Nations by storm — the seven-member boy band is an astronomical pop culture phenomenon of its own. Now, your |how to learn Korean” questions are answered — BTS has launched web courses and a Korean language box set for your benefit.

If you’re part of the BTS Army, you can now dive further into the rabbit hole of the K-fever by self-studying through web courses and learning packages specifically designed by the group.

According to the BBC, the idea sprung after the band’s massive fanbase demanded English subtitles to be embedded in their videos. Thus, the BTS self-study Korean web courses were born. 

“There are only limited ways our fans can learn Korean with ease,” Bang Si-Hyuk of Big Hit Entertainment, which manages the band, was quoted saying. “Big Hit has created Korean learning media using artist content for a more rewarding and immersive experience for our fans,” adds Bang.

How to learn Korean with BTS

Saddle up, Armys. It’s time to enter the Weverse of BTS-guided lessons. 

BTS launched “Learn Korean with BTS” on its global fan community app, Weverse, on March 24, 2020.  The short Korean courses feature episodes that were released every Monday during the pandemic for the group’s passionate fans.

According to a tweet by a loyal fan, the course was developed in collaboration with a Korean Foreign Language University professor and the Korean Language Contents Institute so fans could pick up the language systematically.

The best part? All episodes are free to stream on the app, and the only requirement for accessing the course is for you to set up an account on the Weverse app, which can be downloaded via Google Play or Apple App store.

If you’re up for the challenge, stepping up your Hallyu game with BTS’ lessons is the ideal entry into the Korean language. Fan service and marketing genius aside, Big Hit Entertainment has clearly done its research on language-learning — the 30-episode course is only three minutes long each, devised for optimal delivery.

Too short? Perhaps not. According to Beverly Baker, an associate professor and director of language assessment at the University of Ottawa, short, repetitive practice is better than cramming hours of lessons into one session. “An hour a day five days a week is therefore going to be more beneficial than a five-hour blitz once a week,” the professor was quoted saying.

By repeating useful phrases that you can practise with fellow Armys, just three minutes of consistent lessons per day will get you on the road to advancing your Korean language skills to a higher level. As an added bonus, you’ll no longer be clueless over your favourite K-pop dramas and reliant on subtitles to understand what BTS is saying.

So what has the Armys reaction been to the course so far? Many have noted that Big Hit’s move to introduce Korean lessons was a smart ploy to challenge K-pop fans into learning the Korean language, instead of depending on subtitles or translations.

As if the web courses aren’t enough, you can even get the band’s “Learn Korean with BTS” book package, a must-have merchandise for any Army keen on learning the language. The set comes with a box full of colourful study notes, phrasebooks featuring common Korean greetings and sayings, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and a Speaking Pen that teaches you how to pronounce words accurately.