As if being hooked to Korean dramas wasn’t bad enough, lately I’ve also found myself addicted to Korean reality-variety shows. SIGH. It all started with watching CNBLUE’s Jung Yonghwa and SNSD’s Seohyun on 우리 결혼했어요 (We Got Married). I didn’t expect to be hooked but, well, I was barely one episode in and the damage was already done. And now that one of my good friends has turned me into a legit SHINee fangirl, I’ve watched SHINee’s mini reality show 샤이니의 연하남, back from the time of their debut, and now I’m watching SHINee’s Hello Baby.
Aside from being just plain entertaining, I find that Korean reality shows also help me learn Korean better than dramas! This is because of the existence of WONDERFUL, GLORIOUS KOREAN CAPTIONS. Most of the shows I’ve watched tend to have captions that either match what someone’s saying word-for-word or that summarize whatever is going on in a particular situation. In addition, there are other words or word bubbles that pop up on screen (I’m sure there’s an official word for this) around a person, usually describing their feelings or mood – words like 민망, 고민, 걱정, etc. Captions and word bubbles make it so incredibly easy to look up words and build vocabulary faster. And you may even find that you don’t rely on the English subtitles as much.
I’ve realized that with dramas, I’m at that awkward stage where I understand enough Korean to be sufficiently distracted by English subtitles (they’re actually really messing with my mind) but not good enough to follow what’s going on without them. But when I watch Korean reality shows or interviews, the Korean captions have eliminated my dependence on English subtitles. I first noticed this when I watched 불후의 명곡2 (Immortal Song 2) without subtitles a few days ago. I guess my listening comprehension is actually better than I thought it would be because I found that most the time I could understand what was being spoken before I had time to read the captions. But when I couldn’t understand what was going on, I just paused the video, read the caption, and looked up a few words here and there. It was amazing!!
I really want to watch more Korean variety and/or reality shows so if you know any good ones, please recommend them!