SEUL, Oct 11 (Reuters) – Interest in learning Korean has increased since the start of the hit Netflix show (NFLX.O).squid gameMention services reported, underscoring the growing global obsession with South Korean culture, from entertainment to beauty products.
Language education app Duolingo Inc (DUOL.O) said the nine-part thriller where budget-hungry contestants play deadly kids’ games for 45.6 billion won ($38.19 million) was a starter and encouraged all current students to improve their skills.
Duolingo reported an increase of 76% in the number of new users to learn Korean in the UK and 40% in the US in the two weeks after the program began.
South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, has established itself as a global entertainment hub with its vibrant pop culture, including seven-member boy band BTS and films like Academy Award-winning “Parasite,” a black comedy about deepening inequality, and “Minari” about a Korean immigrant family in the United States. Read on
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) this week added 26 new words of Korean origin to its latest edition, including “Hallyu” or the Korean wave, a term often used to refer to the global success of music, film, television, fashion and Southern-Korean music.
President Moon Jae-in welcomed the additions this week, calling “Hangeul,” the Korean alphabet, the country’s “soft power.”
“Language and culture are closely linked, and what happens in popular culture and the media often influences trends in language and language learning,” Duolingo spokesperson Sam Dalsimer said via email.
“The growing popularity of Korean music, films, and television around the world is increasing the demand for learning the Korean language.”
According to the Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange, there are about 77 million Koreans worldwide.
Duolingo of Pittsburgh said it has learned more than 7.9 million active users KoreanIt is the second fastest growing language after Hindi.
The King Sejong Institute, run by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, had about 76,000 students in 82 countries last year, compared to just 740 students in three countries in 2007.
Milica Martinovich, a student at Sejong Institute in Russia, said she wanted to master the language so she could watch Korean dramas without subtitles and listen to K-pop without the need for subtitles.
Catarina Costa, a 24-year-old Portuguese who lives in Toronto, Canada, said the language has become more popular since she started learning it two years ago, when most of her friends didn’t understand why.
“People are fascinated when I say I’m learning Korean,” says Costa, who uses e-learning platform TalkToMeInKorean.
The program has 1.2 million members studying and learning words in 190 countries, including those who have been added to the OED as kimbap, a dish of cooked rice wrapped in seaweed; mukbang, a live video that shows a person eating a large amount of food and; Manhwa, a Korean genre of cartoons and comics.
“Even before the Squid Game or the BTS craze, thousands of people wanted to learn Korean, but they often learned in isolation,” said Son Hyun-woo, founder of Talk To Me In Korean, a local 1.2-e-local Millions education platform. Of the members learning Korean in 190 countries.
“They are now part of a ‘global phenomenon’; learning Korean has become an even more amazing hobby,” he said.
(1 dollar = 1.194.0000 won)
Reporting from Sangmi Cha; Additional coverage by Yeni Seo, Dogyun Kim, and Heejung Jung; Editing by Jane Wardle
Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
“Prone to fits of apathy. Problem solver. Twitter buff. Wannabe music advocate.”