Interest in learning Korean has increased since the release of the “Round 6” series by Netflix, known as the “Squid Game” abroad, according to mentoring services, underscoring a growing worldwide obsession with South Korean culture, ranging from entertainment to beauty products.
Language learning app Duolingo said the nine-chapter series, in which cashless contestants play deadly children’s games in an attempt to win 45.6 billion won ($38.2 million), has spurred both beginners and alumni alike. wish to improve their skills.
Duolingo reported a 76% increase in new users who signed up to learn Korean in the UK and 40% in the US during the two weeks after the series premiered.
South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, has established itself as a world entertainment hub with its vibrant pop culture, including the band BTS and films such as the Oscar-winning “Parasite”, which addresses deepening social inequalities, and “Minari: Pursuing Happiness” about a Korean immigrant family in the United States.
This week alone, the Oxford English Dictionary has added 26 new words of Korean origin to its latest edition, including “hallyu”, or Korean wave, the term is widely used to describe the worldwide success of music, film, TV, fashion and food South Koreans.
The additions were welcomed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in this week, who called the “Hangeul”, the Korean alphabet, the country’s “soft power”.
“Language and culture are inextricably linked and what happens in pop culture and the media often influences trends in language and language learning,” Duolingo spokesperson Sam Dalsimer said via email.
“The growing worldwide popularity of Korean music, film and television is increasing the demand for learning Korean.”
There are about 77 million people who speak Korean worldwide, according to the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange. Catarina Costa, a 24-year-old Portuguese who lives in Toronto, Canada, said that since she started learning the language two years ago, it has become more popular. “People are fascinated when I say I’m learning Korean,” she said. Costa, who is studying through the online learning platform TalkToMeInKorean.