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30-Day Challenge

30-Day Challenge: Day #17 – Improve your Korean by memorizing song lyrics, drama monologues, or poetry


Another good way to improve your Korean is to memorize not just words, not just phrases and idioms, not just quotes, but full passages or poems (song lyrics and drama monologues or dialogues are also good). The following are some tips and advice for memorizing longer passages that I’ve gathered.

Why memorize longer passages?

  1. You will increase your vocabulary.
  2. You can see new vocab and grammar in real context .
  3. You can later substitute different vocab into the sentence structures you memorize.
  4. It’s a good way to impress people.
  5. Some of the structures or quotes may be handy later in real situations.
  6. It makes “rote memorization” more fun when there’s actually a story behind it.

How to memorize longer passages:

According to this article on eHow about memorizing a Spanish paragraph, it’s important to:

  1. Look up all the new vocab you don’t know and translate it.
  2. Listen to the proper pronunciation of the new vocab (either with an audio dictionary or native speaker present).
  3. Record the paragraph on a listening device (smartphone, mp3, computer) or have a native speaker (better) do it for you.
  4. Play the audio on loop and read and re-read the passage together with the audio (it’s important to not only pronounce the words well, but also get the correct flow of the passage down).
  5. After reading it together with the audio becomes easy, lose the audio and try to read the speech yourself with the same intonation and inflection.
  6. Be sure to check yourself every now and again with the audio.
  7. After reading it on the paper becomes easy, turn over the paper and try writing the passage from memory. Use the front as reference if you need it.
  8. When you can write the whole thing from memory, then test yourself orally. Lose the paper entirely and try to speak everything strictly from memory. Review and correct as necessary.
  9. When you feel confident that you’ve completely memorized it, you haven’t. Take a break for a few hours or overnight and let your brain sit without the continual repetition. THEN test yourself again.
  10. Refresh your memory every few hours or days by reciting the passage again from memory.

I actually used this same technique to memorize a popular Chinese pop song in 2005 to sing for our university’s Chinese New Year celebration. This technique was so effective for memorization that I STILL remember good chunks of the lyrics even though I don’t know what they mean and I haven’t studied Chinese in 8 years.

And if you want more help with how to memorize that play to your specific learning style (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, reading), then check out this article from WikiHow.

Where to begin:

If you’re new to this idea of memorizing passages in Korean (or if you’re a beginner in the language), then here are some good places to start looking for things to memorize:

  1. True Beginner: Memorize “survival phrases” from a Korean phrasebook.
  2. Beginner: Memorize interesting proverbs, idioms, or slang. (More proverbs)
  3. Low Intermediate: Memorize full dialogues in your textbook OR simple song lyrics (more fun).
  4. Intermediate: Memorize more complicated song lyrics OR short drama monologues.
  5. High Intermediate: Memorize drama monologues and dialogues OR Korean poetry (link to be posted later).
  6. Advanced: Memorize news articles OR give speeches in Korean.
  7. (Also, if you’re a Christian, remember that you can find the Bible in Korean as well.)


Today’s Challenge is about memorizing something that might be a little outside your normal study area:

#17: Choose a resource listed and find something (at an appropriate level) to study and memorize.

Take a picture or video of your material and the “afterwards” of your memorization. (For me, I’ll probably choose a rock song to memorize.)

Hashtags are:

#k2k3017 #KORmemorization


  1. Korean phrasebooks
  2. Idioms
  3. Slang
  4. Proverbs 1
  5. Proverbs 2
  6. Simple song lyrics
  7. More complicated song lyrics
  8. Short monologues
  9. Drama scripts
  10. Naver Newsstand
  11. Korean Bible

Have you ever tried memorizing anything NOT in a textbook? Ever memorized a song?

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