This Question Came to My Inbox: “Can you sing in Korean even if you don’t speak the language?”

Yes. As long as you know how to read the alphabet and can pronounce the letters correctly, you can sing in Korean without understanding it. When I first got to Korea, they decided that I needed to sing in front of the professor’s chapel, but I didn’t speak Korean. However, I was studying and could read the alphabet. I didn’t even know the song they wanted me to sing. One of the professors took me aside and taught me the song. It turned out great as it always seems to do when I sing even though I didn’t speak Korean.

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When the time came for me to sing in front of the chapel, everyone was so pleased! The president of the university had such a big smile on his face it was amazing! He got up after the I sang and said to the teachers how wonderful he thought what I just did was, and he said, “and she did it in a foreign language!” I didn’t understand what I had sung, but I had made a lot of people very happy.

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Singing has always been one of my hobbies, and there were many opportunities for me to sing in S. Korea. I sang in front of professor’s chapel periodically. Usually, I sang with a group of teachers in front of chapel, but occasionally had a solo like the first time. I was invited to sing with a group of professors in front of graduation. I was the entertainment at the student’s Speech Contest. I sang karaoke for the freshman students at freshman orientation. Whenever they asked, I did it. However when they asked me to dance at a school festival, I turned them down. I am not into dancing for people. I am happy they like my voice, and I like to sing, but I don’t dance for anyone.

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I also taught a singing class at church for a while in S. Korea. S. Koreans love to sing. One of my favorite things to do was to go to the nore bang, the singing room, with my friends and sing. You can sing there in English, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, or even Romanian. Perhaps there are songs in other languages there too. I loved my Korean friends to sing songs I could learn when we went to the nore bang.

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If you like to sing, there are many, many opportunities for singers in S. Korea, and you don’t have to be able to speak Korean to take advantage of the opportunities. If you can read the alphabet and know how it is supposed to sound, it is very possible to sing in Korean even without understanding what you are singing. I was picked to sing for an all foreigner chorus once who puts on big performances in Seoul, but when they began having wild parties, I realized I would rather be around the Koreans who asked me to sing because I wild parties aren’t my thing, so I dropped out of the all foreigners chorus. I also knew a young American guy who sang on S. Korean TV who spoke no Korean at all. It was his career. He has left Korea and is now in Hollywood trying to make it. If you like to sing, there are opportunities in S. Korea, and you don’t have to speak Korean to do it.

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