7 Amazing Korean Talk Shows to Improve Your Language Skills
These "gossip on steroids" programs are among the most underappreciated language learning resources. They're jam-packed with language gems, and after reading th
Do you want to know what your K-pop idol is thinking?
Do you want to know their darkest, best-kept secrets?
And, while you're at it, why not learn Korean?
I present to your Korean talk shows.
These "gossip on steroids" programs are among the most underappreciated language learning resources. They're jam-packed with language gems, and after reading this, you'll never look at talk shows the same way again.
Yes, you'll get to the bottom of all those celebrity gossips, but you'll also get to the bottom of the Korean language. It's a powerful two-fer!
First, we'll look at how talk shows specifically help your cause as a Korean student and why they're essential to your education. Then, we'll look at seven Korean talk shows worth watching.
So let's get started...
Chitchat and Chatter: 7 Korean Talk Shows to Improve Your Language Skills "Witch Hunt"
What happens when a comedian (Shin Dong-yup), a film critic (Heo Ji-ung), a singer (Sung Si-Kyung), and another comedian (Yoo Se-Yoon) get together?
You get "Witch Hunt," a risqué Korean talk show about the intricacies of dating, relationships, etc. Take the best Korean language classes for the best results if you want to become fluent in the Korean language.
The program is a departure from tradition because such topics, particularly sex, are rarely openly discussed in Korean culture. However, viewers, particularly those in their twenties and thirties, have embraced the show, whose hosts must strike a delicate balance between being exciting and not vulgar.
The hosts are usually given a situation, such as a relationship problem, from a viewer—for example, a guy whose girlfriend refuses to be kissed. They then argue ("Maybe she has bad breath?"), express their opinions, are amusing, and may even be helpful to viewers in similar situations.
The repartees are quick and furious, making this show ideal for advanced language learners looking to improve their Korean comprehension. It's safe to say that this show will teach you words, phrases, and idiomatic expressions that you won't find in textbooks.
It's worth noting that Sam Hammington, an Australian comedian, was once a cast member of this show before being replaced by Yoo Se-Yoon. Seeing an Australian confidently speak Korean should inspire all students. It is indeed possible, so persevere.
In the interest of foreigners, how about an international panel of fellows from around the world debating issues in Korea?
The "Abnormal Summit" is similar to a UN General Assembly (hence the standard coat-and-tie attire of the hosts) but in Korean. The show portrays Korea through the eyes of men from other countries.
The show discusses the country's latest political, cultural, and economic issues, with some "glue" provided by some native-speaking hosts. For example, laws unique to Korea or technology spearheaded by a Korean company may be discussed.
However, make no mistake: the show is frequently more of a lighthearted banter between friends. As is typical with an all-male cast, conversations devolve into stories about how, for example, one host saw this beautiful girl one night and two minutes later ended up thoroughly embarrassing himself in front of her.
If you want to learn a language while also picking up some cultural notes, "Abnormal Summit" is the way to go. The episodes are ideal for beginning and intermediate language students. Pay close attention when the international panel speaks. Their communication is frequently delivered in brief but powerful bursts.
How well do you know your favorite K-pop stars? Do you consider yourself a die-hard fan who knows everything there is to know about them?
"Strong Heart," on the other hand, begs to differ. You'll learn even more as a result of it. (Although this show is no longer being produced, it may still feature familiar celebrities.)
Guests appear to tell their stories, frequently about hardships and struggles that occur behind the scenes that few people are aware of. For example, they discuss the difficulties of making a debut and dealing with rejection in the ultra-competitive entertainment industry.
This talk show will feature regular people rather than celebrities. You'll get to know them better as time goes on. You might even have a personal epiphany or two!
To keep the show from becoming a total cryfest, the hosts frequently inject their humor into the stories, occasionally jumping in to keep the conversation going. This program is designed for intermediate language students who want to improve their vocabulary and grammar skills.
Please pay attention to how the guests present their stories and imitate how they speak. This ability will be helpful when it is your turn to tell your story.
The talk show "Happy Together"... and a lot more.
A diverse group of Korean actors and actresses are invited to appear, flanked by show regulars or hosts who will grill them and make them do all sorts of things. In a nutshell, anything goes.
Your favorite K-gods will appear in a more natural setting, telling stories about their daily lives or what happened behind the scenes while filming your favorite Korean drama. They'll be grilled on everything from their favorite food to whether they think they're good drivers to their childhood.
Then, a few minutes later, they'll be playing a silly game in which metal trays fall on their heads. It's a fun show that lets you see your favorite actor with their hair down and not playing a role.
"Happy Together" is not like the typical talk show in the United States, where there is only one interviewer and one interviewee. This one has a lot of people on both sides, and the hosts sometimes talk to each other instead of the guests.
This show can help beginners of Korean observe the natural dynamics of the language as it is used in a group setting. Take note of the banter between the guests and the hosts. Observe how they use language to tease each other, share a laugh, or react to unexpected information. This results in a highly authentic language learning experience.
"Hyori's Bed & Breakfast"
What if you stayed at a bed and breakfast for a few days and were looked after by a famous K-pop diva and her husband? That's essentially what this show, which stars the couple Lee Hyo-ri and Lee Sang-soon in their home on Jeju Island, is about.
If you are unfamiliar, Jeju is a well-known island resort and a popular destination for Koreans seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. With white sand, blue ocean, yellow sun, and lush greenery, it's nature's paradise.
Yoga classes, surfing lessons, a morning in town, a harvesting experience, a trip to the market, and a fresh glass of watermelon juice await their guests. They meet some locals on the island and learn about their daily lives. And, while you're enjoying all these activities, IU (a famous Korean singer who works for the B&B) is on hand to make your stay even more memorable.
We're stretching the definition of "talk show" a little here, but you'll enjoy the interactions between Hyo-ri, Sang-soon, and their guests. Listen in on what they're saying while making breakfast or driving to the beach, for example. Something about the setting allows these conversations to go deep while remaining simple.
Language beginners who are overwhelmed by the fast pace of the other shows can find refuge in this one, where the dialogues are simple, short, and relaxed but extremely meaningful. Not only are there fewer people involved in the conversations, but something about the setting causes people to relax and move more slowly.
The concept of this show, also known as "Life Bar," is that if the alcohol flows, so will the conversation.
At the bar, everyone is welcome. Let your hair down and be yourself. Celebrity guests discuss everything under the sun, from their most minor thoughts to their strangest fears to their biggest dreams. Listen to a funny anecdote or two, and be delighted that the icon you so adored is more human than you imagined—plagued by worries, with their quirks and eccentricities.
No subject is off-limits. Guests can discuss relationships, dating, falling in love with coworkers, etc.
All of this occurs as guests are served food and drinks.
Kim Jun-Hyun and Shin Dong-yup, the singer Kim Hee-chul, and the fashion model Han Jin star in the show. So, whatever the topic, you can be sure that the conversation will be interesting, funny, and educational.
Conversations will stimulate advanced language learners for reasons other than the topics discussed. The episodes are an educational tool that provides quality exposure to the language. You'll pick up on more nuances, idiomatic expressions, and complex and nested sentences that distinguish native speakers.
Well, hello there! From Korean celebrities discussing their lives, we move on to ordinary Koreans discussing their struggles, ranging from being in debt to experiencing a midlife crisis to feeling unappreciated at home.
This time, the celebrity guests listen to regular people (three cases per episode), empathize with them, and offer sound advice.
But not so quickly. The other side of the story is heard to complete the puzzle!
So, if a woman comes in to complain about a negligent husband, the husband steps out a few minutes later and has his say. Guest celebrities mediate and attempt to bring their perspectives to the situation. They try to resolve the problem. Finally, they offer their advice to the "helpees" and wish them well.
With this show, all language learners can benefit greatly from listening to regular native speakers. Observing your celebrities and veteran talk show hosts may give you the impression that Korean native speakers are always that fluent and polished. Not so. Of course, these are professionals who have honed their craft.
Observing ordinary people stumble around makes you realize that everyone is still learning. Even native speakers make mistakes, are unsure of what to say, and occasionally mumble and lack confidence. So, in reality, you're not doing so wrong.
These are seven Korean talk shows that will provide you with hours and hours of authentic Korean speech.
And, as I previously stated, you don't have to watch every single episode to get the gist of things. Individual episodes are practically self-contained.
So keep watching and listening. These talk shows will help you improve your Korean to unbelievable levels.