Studies have shown a link between music and intelligence, and now, K-Pop listeners may have something to brag about.
Of course, listening to your favorite song alone without comprehending the lyrics won’t make you magically smarter. Fans willing to look further, however, may be gaining powerful skills.
1. You’re Learning A Language
By listening to K-Pop on a regular basis, listeners are training their brain to recognize foreign sounds. Learning the meaning of these words and connecting them to these sounds builds brain connections.
For example, one of the most used phrases in K-Pop is “사랑해” (saranghae). Most listeners of K-Pop will recognize this word as it appears frequently in many songs over multiple genres. Even non-listeners may eventually learn the phrase, which expands their horizons.
This kind of learning actually develops your brain’s ability to recall information and has proven to hold a wealth of benefits.
“미안해… 사랑해… 용서해” (mianhae… saranghae… yongseohae) “I’m sorry… I love you… Forgive me.”27
2. You’re Gaining Cultural Awareness
Listeners of K-Pop often follow the artists that they love and want to find out more about them as people. From personal social media videos to variety shows, fans are exposed to the mannerisms of their favorite artists and are thus exposed to a foreign culture in a friendly and easy to digest way.
For example, Koreans tend to refer to any food as “밥” (bap) which literally means “rice”, even though there is a word for food or meal, which is “음식” (eumsik). The slang term is often used because rice is a fundamental part of a Korean meal and is often shorter to say.
Soju even has its own customs in Korea!
3. You’re Improving Your Ability To Focus
Learning a new language improves cognitive function, making the act of focusing a lot easier than it is for those who haven’t adopted a second language.
By listening to K-Pop, even without learning the language itself, the brain is focused on learning to recognize certain patterns and expands via repetitions. Although it may not be obvious, just listening makes a difference.
No need to be sad, even without formal practice, fans are learning.
Korean is considered one of the hardest languages for an English speaker to learn, according to the Foreign Service Institute! According to the same source, it’s estimated to take around 2,200 hours, roughly 14 weeks of studying, to become proficient in languages such as Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and Korean.
Since fans spend so much time looking up the lyrics to multiple songs, they already have a working database filling up with more and more words, expressions, and facts that make language learning easier!
Check out this video below on how language changes your brain: