English, French, Korean, Spanish and German is 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 onto Rimpa Gayen, a master’s student, after she finished watching the popular K drama ‘Boys Over Flower’ suggested by her friend. “It is a very simple show yet so engaging that you cannot stop yourself from watching the next episode,” says Rimpa, who watched over 20 K dramas during the lockdown period. Her dedication to Korean dramas led her to take up learning Korean. “I want to learn Korean so that I can watch K dramas without having to look at the subtitles as it’s distracting. And I do not like watching the show in a translated voiceover because it spoils the essence of the character,” shares Rimpa. According to a survey conducted by Duolingo, over 56 per cent of respondents said that they were influenced to learn a new language by pop culture trendsetters including movies, OTT shows, and web series. “Web shows became a major inspiration mediums for our Indian users, who were inspired to learn Korean and Spanish following the release of ‘Squid Games’ and ‘Money Heist’,” says Karandeep Singh Kapany, Country Marketing Manager – India, Duolingo.
Virtual classes open new doors
While Korean has become a popular language in India, German on the other hand is catching up. Looking at the increased demand for foreign languages, institutions like Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institut, and InKo Center which offer foreign language learning programs, moved their classes online which allowed a large number of students to take up language courses. According to Goethe Institut, Chennai, 2021 saw over 2,200 applicants and are aiming toward 2,500 students for German this year. “You can get a highly-paid translator’s job in India if you speak German. In terms of education, you can easily take admission to any public university in Germany for free. Ideally, people learn German because the career prospects are huge.” says Gaurav Raghuvanshi who runs a German learning class in the city. Language like German has a great value in the field of education and work and that is one of the primary reasons behind learning the language. But Gaurav witnessed a change. A lot of his new students want to learn the language because of their interest in Germany’s art, culture and sports. “There are learners who are already affluent but want to learn German because of the culture as they have traveled there long back and may want to visit again. Football and music are other reasons behind the popularity of German in India. Bands like Scorpions, Ramstein and Die Toten Hosen, are popular bands and artists that are followed by Indians. Public figures like Michael Ballack, the footballer or Ben Böhmer, the techno artist or famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach have a huge fan following in India, “says Gaurav.
Learning language apps like Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise offer you free lessons for all the languages including Hindi, English, German, Korean, Arabic and more. While if you plan to enroll yourself into a language learning program from a reputed institute then it will cost you between 6-14K depending on the level
Being an OG
watched over 20 K dramas during the lockdown period. ‘Cafe Delight’, ‘Heirs’, ‘Lady Presidency’, ‘Sweet Revenge’, ‘Risky Romance’ ‘Something In The Game’, are some of her favorite shows across various OTT platforms, that led her to take up learning Korean. “I want to watch K dramas without getting distracted by the subtitles. And I do not like watching the show in a translated voiceover because it spoils the essence of the character,” shares Rimpa. For Daisy Dinshaw the motivation for learning Spanish came after she met her partner recently. “He would often use quotes in Spanish while talking to me and obviously I did not understand them until he translated them into English. But translation used to spoil the essence of the whole thing so I decided to take up learning the language to understand him better We will be traveling to Spain soon to meet his family, so a few Spanish sentences will help me get 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 understand the fictional realm better,” says Karandeep. These languages are not something that individuals would use on an everyday basis to communicate, it is more like personal enrichment. Pandemic made us realize that self-care or doing things that you enjoy doing should be put first to keep your mind at ease. Hence, the idea of making such languages available to learn is interesting and a lot of interested people are taking it up.
Top foreign films across all OTT platforms
1. War of the Arrows (Korean Movie) – MX PLAYER
2. Les Misérables (French Film) Amazon Prime
3. Train to Busan (Korean Film) Amazon Prime
4. Parasite (Korean film) Amazon Prime
5. Roma (Spanish film) Netflix
6. The Bureau (French Series) – Amazon Prime
7. Snowdrop (Korean Series) – Hotstar
8. Jojo Rabbit (German film) – Hotstar
9. The Hidden Life (German Film) – Hotstar
10. Spiral (Spanish film) – Amazon
Top foreign series across 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 more than 370% in 2020 over 2019