The age of learning inspired by pop culture
English, French, Korean, Spanish and German are the top five foreign languages that Indians are currently learning on the Duolingo app. Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Italian follow.
Korean is the 3rd most popular language in India
The Korean Wave caught up with master’s student Rimpa Gayen after she finished watching the popular K-drama “Boys Over Flower” suggested by her friend. “It’s a very simple show but so engaging that you can’t help but watch the next episode,” says Rimpa, who watched over 20,000 dramas during the lockdown period. Her dedication to Korean dramas led her to learn Korean. “I want to learn Korean so I can watch K-dramas without having to watch the subtitles because it’s distracting. And I don’t like watching the series in translated voiceover because it spoils the essence of the character,” shares Rimpa. According to a survey conducted by Duolingo, more than 56% of respondents said they were influenced to learn a new language by the pioneers of pop culture, including movies, OTT shows, and web series. “Webcasts have become major inspirational mediums for our Indian users, who were inspired to learn Korean and Spanish after the release of ‘Squid Games’ and ‘Money Heist’,” says Karandeep Singh Kapany, Country Marketing Manager – India, Duolingo.
Virtual classrooms open new doors
While Korean has become a popular language in India, German, on the other hand, is catching up. Faced with the increased demand for foreign languages, institutions such as the Alliance française, the Goethe Institut and the InKo center, which offer foreign language learning programs, have moved their courses online, which has allowed a large number of students to take language courses. According to the Goethe Institute in Chennai, 2021 has seen over 2,200 applicants and is targeting 2,500 German students this year. “You can get a very well paid job as a translator in India if you speak German. In terms of education, you can easily gain free admission to any public university in Germany. Ideally, people learn German because the career prospects are enormous.” says Gaurav Raghuvanshi who runs a German-learning class in the city. A language like German has great value in the field of education and work and this is one of the main reasons for learning the language. But Gaurav has witnessed a change. Many of his new students want to learn the language because of their interest in German art, culture and sports. “There are learners who are already well off but want to learn German because of the culture because they traveled there a long time ago and may want to go back. Football and music are other reasons for the popularity of German in India. Bands like Scorpions, Ramstein and Die Toten Hosen, are popular groups and artists who are followed by Indians. Public figures like Michael Ballack, the footballer or Ben Böhmer, the artist techno or the famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach have a huge fan base in India,” says Gaurav.
Language learning apps like Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise give you free lessons for all languages including Hindi, English, German, Korean, Arabic and more. Whereas if you plan to enroll in a language learning program from a reputable institute, it will cost you between 6 and 14,000 depending on the level.
Be an OG
watched over 20,000 dramas during the lockdown period. ‘Cafe Delight’, ‘Heirs’, ‘Lady President’, ‘Sweet Revenge’, ‘Risky Romance’ ‘Something In The Game’, are some of her favorite shows on various OTT platforms, which led her to learn Korean. “I want to watch K-dramas without being distracted by the subtitles. And I don’t like watching the show in translated voiceover because it spoils the essence of the character,” Rimpa shares. For Daisy Dinshaw, the motivation to learn Spanish came after meeting her partner recently. “He often used quotes in Spanish when talking to me and obviously I didn’t understand them until he translated them into English. But the translation was spoiling the essence of it all, so I decided to learn the language to understand it better.. We will soon be traveling to Spain to meet his family, so a few phrases in Spanish will help me get some brownie points,” says Daisy.
Klingon and High Valyrian are the new entrants
“Fan communities of popular shows like ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Star Trek’ also learn Klingon and High Valyrian on the app, to converse and better understand the fictional realm,” says Karandeep. These languages are not something that individuals would use on a daily basis to communicate, rather it is a personal enrichment. The pandemic has made us realize that taking care of yourself or doing things you love to do should be the priority to keep your mind at ease. Therefore, the idea of making these languages accessible to learn is interesting and many interested people adopt it.
Best Foreign Movies on All OTT Platforms
1. War of the Arrows (Korean Movie) – MX PLAYER
2. Les Miserables (French film) Amazon Prime
3. Train to Busan (Korean Movie) Amazon Prime
4. Parasite (Korean Movie) Amazon Prime
5. Roma (Spanish movie) Netflix
6. The Office (French Series) – Amazon Prime
7. Snowdrop (Korean series) – Hotstar
8. Jojo Rabbit (German movie) – Hotstar
9. The Hidden Life (German Movie) – Hotstar
10. Spiral (Spanish film) – Amazon
Top foreign series on OTT platforms
1. Squid Game (Korean series) Netflix
2. Money Heist (Spanish series) Netflix
3. Tokyo Alice (Korean series) Prime
4. Dark (German series) – Netflix
5. Emily in Paris (French series) – Netflix
6. Queen and I (Korean series) – MX PLAYER
7. The Penthouse (Korean Series) – AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
8. True Beauty (Korean Series) – AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
9. Biohackers (German series) – Netflix
10. Lupine (French series)- Netflix
According to Netflix, Korean dramas on the platform in India increased by more than 370% in 2020 compared to 2019