Sunday, October 17, 2021

‘Squid Game’ spurs interest in learning Korean language


Netflix’s hit show “Squid Game” has inspired people around the world to learn Korean, according to tutoring services.

Language learning app Duolingo reported a 76% rise in new users signing up to learn Korean in Britain and 40% in the United States over the two weeks following the show’s premiere.

Duolingo said it has more than 7.9 million active users learning Korean, its second fastest growing language after Hindi.

Catarina Costa, a 24-year-old from Portugal living in Toronto, Canada, has been learning the language via e-learning platform TalkToMeInKorean.

“When I started learning Korean two years ago, people did not understand why. But now, Korean is more mainstream in the western world, and people get fascinated when I say that I am learning Korean.”

Sun Hyun-woo is the founder of the platform, which has 1.2 million members across 190 nations.

“There were thousands of people who wished to learn Korean even before Squid Game or the BTS craze, yet those were often studying in solitude. They had very few people around who study the language. Now Squid Game and BTS have become a global phenomenon.”

South Korea has established itself as a global entertainment hub with its vibrant pop-culture, including the boy band BTS and Oscar-winning movie “Parasite” and film “Minari”.

Earlier this month, an affiliate of BTS’s agency released the song “Ganada”, aiming to teach the Korean alphabet “Hangeul” and promote the language.

Just this week, the Oxford English Dictionary added 26 new words of Korean origin to its latest edition, including “hallyu”, or Korean wave, the term widely used to describe the global success of South Korean music, film, TV, fashion and food.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in this week welcomed the additions, calling the Korean alphabet, the country’s “soft power.”


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