Music is a great way to practice your new language, and KPOP offers Korean learners the opportunity to not only pick up useful expressions but also gain insights into Korean culture, including its system of honorifics.

Honorifics are different forms of words that reflect levels of politeness according to the kind of social relationship between the speakers. In most KPOP songs, you'll hear non-honorifics—the intimate, casual style used in conversations between close friends. As a learner, it's especially important to know the polite forms of these words and expressions, too. After all, they're the ones you'll use in most social settings!

Here are some expressions and cultural nuances you can learn from KPOP songs:

1. Greetings and introducing yourself

TWS' debut single explores the excitement of meeting new friends for the first time, so it's a great song for practicing introductions!

Artist: TWS
Song: "Plot Twist (첫 만남은 계획대로 되지 않아)"
Culture: In Korean culture, individuals of the same age are often considered friends, so honorifics may not be used during initial meetings, especially among classmates. However, in more formal settings, honorifics are commonly used for introductions.

Lyrics Translation Polite Version
-이름이 뭐야?
Ireumi mwoya?
What is your name? 이름이 뭐예요?
Ireumi mwoyeyo?
내 이름은OO야.
Nae ireumeun OO-ya.
My name is OO. 제 이름은 OO예요.
Je ireumeun OO-yeyo.
만나서 반가워.
Mannaseo bangawo.
Nice to meet you. 만나서 반가워요.
Mannaseo bangawoyo.
내일 또 봐.
Naeil tto bwa
See you tomorrow. 내일 또 봐요.
Naeil tto bwayo
Bye. 안녕히 가세요. / 안녕히 계세요.
Annyeonghi gaseyo./ Annyeonghi gyeseyo.

2. Expressions of encouragement

"Fighting" from Seventeen BSS conveys the message of overcoming difficulties and finding strength during challenging times, so you'll hear lots of ways to encourage yourself and your fellow Korean learners!

Artist: Seventeen BSS
Song: "Fighting"
Culture: The line Take-out coffee, please (Ame, Ame, Ame, Ame) refers to Koreans' fondness for iced Americano, a popular choice for its convenience during work. Small comforts are important during stressful moments!

Lyrics Translation Polite Version
I need it. 필요해요.
힘을 좀 내어보자.
Himeul jom nae-eo boja.
Let's muster up some strength. 힘내요.
파이팅 해야지.
Paiting haeyaji.
Let's go for it. 파이팅!

3. Phrases for checking in

"SOLO" is about the aftermath of a breakup and includes expressions commonly used when checking in with someone. ❤️ 

Artist: Jennie of Blackpink
Song: "SOLO"
Culture: In Korean culture, asking about meals is a common way to show concern for someone's well-being—so food is central to Korean interactions!

Lyrics Translation Polite Version
뭐 해?
Mwo hae?
What are you up to? 뭐 해요?
Mwo haeyo?
Where are you? 어디예요?
Did you eat? 밥은 먹었어요?
Babeun meokutseyo?
잘 자.
Jal ja.
Good night. 잘 자요.
Jal jayo.

Sing along to your next Korean lesson!

By incorporating these expressions into your own Korean, you'll be leveling up your knowledge of the language and Korean culture. Keep exploring KPOP songs and lyrics to strengthen your understanding of the language and culture. 파이팅 (Paiting)!