Come for the K-pop…stay for the grammar

Last fall I fell in love with K-pop. It started casually enough, with a music video or two. But it grew. Oh boy, did it grow. My K-pop favourites playlist currently has 86 groups on it, and I have a page-long list of groups to check out. I write album release dates on my calendar (one of my favourite groups released a live album today! Hooray!). I. Am. Obsessed.

An unintended-but-awesome side effect of this obsession has been daily exposure to a new language. And it didn’t take long before I started wanting to learn what people were saying and how to say things myself, not to mention how to read their amazing-looking alphabet (I’m a language geek. It’s a thing). A friend mentioned that Duolingo has a Korean option…and a new hobby was born. So now I’m not only obsessed with K-pop, but I’m also learning Korean. You know, as you do (when you’re a giant nerd).

So, I came for the K-pop. The K-pop is awesome! I really enjoy being able to pick out words from song lyrics (my favourite Korean word is 목소리, which means “voice” and which you can hear by going to this link and clicking the speaker icon)

But while that is fun, it’s not what’s making me stay. No, what’s making me stay is the grammar.

Korean grammar is fascinating! For example, they conjugate verbs based on the intended level of politeness instead of the first/second/third person! As someone who grew up on je/tu/il/elle/nous/vous/ils (me/you/he/she/we/you-plural/they in English) that kind of blew my mind. And that’s just the beginning. Every time I learn a new grammatical construction, I get a little more excited.

When I started out, I felt utterly lost, but now I’ve got my bearings. Once you make a little headway and start understanding even a tiny bit (and believe me, I’m still only understanding a tiny bit), it’s addictive. You can’t help wanting to learn some more. It just keeps getting more interesting.

So, I came for the K-pop. But I’m staying for the grammar. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my nerdy excitement as I go along.

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