The amount of people learning Korean language has practically doubled over the span of ten years.
With the growth of Korean culture through Korean pop music (K-pop), Korean dramas, and Korean makeup, not only are students learning in school, but even outside academics, people are becoming interested in the Korean language.
According to the Modern Language Association, the amount of students in U.S universities learning European languages such as Italian, Russian, French have been decreasing. However, Korean is the fastest increasing language, with a 95% increase of learners from 2006-2016. Arabic was second with 26.3% and Japanese came in third with 5.2%.
Outside of school, languages apps such as Duolingo have noticed a spike in the interest in Korean and the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) has also increased an amount in test takers. The Korean government also operates 172 Korean language institutes worldwide, compared to 13 in 2007.
There are more and more resources online as well that promote the study of Korean language. On YouTube, there are channels such as Korean Unnie and Korean Englishman who teach Korean as well as introduce viewers to Korean culture. Youtubers are also including more Korea-related topics into their own channels, which goes to show how more people are becoming interested in Korea as a whole.
There are also many new websites dedicated to teaching the Korean language such as TalkToMeInKorean.com (TTMIK). TTMIK has structured lessons for people learning Korean on their own, and cover listening, reading, and writing all at once. There are also many apps made to connect Korean natives with Korean language students such as HiNative where people can practice their speaking skills and check their grammar.
As Korean culture becomes more widespread and Korea participates more in globalization, the public’s interest in Korean also can grow. Korea needs to keep taking advantage of this trend and not give up in showing their country to the rest of the world and promoting their culture.
Written by: Erica Vinluan
Originally from Los Angeles, California, Current 4th year university student, Candidate for a Bachelor of Arts in Korean Language Flagship and minor in Business Administration at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Exchange student at Korea University and Intern at VANK (Voluntary Agency Network of Korea)