Learning the Korean Language: Why Has It Become So Popular?

With a rise in K-Pop music and K-dramas, it’s no wonder that Korean language is also gaining popularity. Find out more behind why learning Korean continues to spread.

Out of an estimate of seven thousand languages, the Korean language is said to be the seventeenth most spoken language globally. With such a high position, the Korean language has seen remarkable growth in the number of learners of the language beyond the Korean peninsula. Research has shown that these are not just casual learners. There has been an estimated eighty percent increase in takers for the Korean proficiency tests, for non-native speakers, in a short span of two years.

With more people learning and communicating in Korean, its relevance has clearly risen. This article will explore some reasons why the Korean language has soared in popularity over the past few years.

South Korea’s increasing and visible presence in the global landscape

In mid-2020, South Korea became a world success story because of the government’s prompt and effective handling of the SARS-COV-2 virus – the cause for the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the world’s top economies like the United States, China, and the United Kingdom did not handle the pandemic as well as South Korea. The country was quick to respond with a halt to businesses, stay-home orders and strict contact tracing measures in the form of cellphone surveillance.

But this is not the only thing that has propelled South Korea forward in the global landscape. Over the years, South Korea has remained a leading tech giant. It is home to crucial manufacturing companies (such as Samsung Electronics and Kia Motors) that deal with essential electrical and electronic equipment. South Korea has grown to be a global leader in the areas of information and communication technologies. Even for smartphones, Samsung is said to be the market leader and has triumphed over Apple.

With a crucial role in the global economy, South Korea is seen as a prospective market to enter. Therefore, many young people are picking up the Korean language for business purposes and job opportunities.

The entertainment industry’s influence

South Korea’s entertainment industry has taken the world by storm. For instance, the popular hit song ‘Gangnam style’ by the South Korean artist Psy. It was the first YouTube video to hit a billion views after its release in 2012. In fact, did you know – the song was such a hit that YouTube had to increase its view limit after ‘Gangnam Style’.

But it is not just the local music that has increased the Korean language’s popularity. The movie industry of South Korea is also doing a great job in creating and marketing Korean content.

Upon the Oscar win for the movie ‘Parasite’, Korean beer brand Cass and instant noodle ‘Nongshim’ featured the scenes from the film to celebrate the victory. These marketing tactics further improved the industry’s influence, especially when Nongshim’s recipe post was released with subtitles of 11 different languages. All these have raised interest and accessibility of the Korean language to new learners.

Free market and immigration

Similar to Singapore, South Korea has adopted an open market economy. This means that the country welcomes foreigners to invest freely within the country while also encouraging domestic business owners to invest in other countries.

As a result, human traffic in and out of South Korea has become frequent. Foreigners are immigrating to the country while at the same time, locals are immigrating. For non-native speakers, it made sense for them to master the language. Learning the language is more than a communicative tool but a tool to ease business operations in South Korea. Picking up cultural norms and traditions, along with the language, will also boost business relations with the locals.

Additionally, the next generation of immigrants who may not have Korean as their first language, might find it a pity that they have not managed to master the language after moving out of the Korean peninsula. As they grow up, some desire to get in touch with their Korean roots and start learning the language.


With its increasing influence worldwide, Korean is spoken by at least 80 million people – and this number is growing each day! Whether it’s for a job or a new skill you’d like to pick up, you can easily learn Korean in Singapore without needing to be in South Korea! Have a look at our Korean classes, where mastering the language can offer you opportunities beyond the spoken and written language!

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