The Hallyu wave has made picking up languages more important than ever among celebrities.
Of course, which language they pick up is dependent on which market they have set their eyes on – the TVXQ members, who promoted in Japan for a few years, are very fluent in Japanese; some celebrities pick up English so they can communicate with fans from English-speaking countries whether they’re going on tour or through social media.
And then there are celebrities who pick up one of the world’s hardest language, Mandarin.
Here are some Korean celebs you didn’t know could speak the language.
The Descendants of the Sun and Vincenzo actor revealed during a press conference that Mandarin is a familiar language to him because his older brother had studied in Beijing for eight years.
He said, “Influenced by him, I picked up Mandarin too.”
We need to hear him speak in the language more often!
EXO may have Chinese members, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the members have given up on learning the language and relying on former member Lay as their spokesperson.
Sehun, in particular, has put in immense effort to learn the language and can even deliver a thank-you speech in Mandarin.
He has also worked on Chinese productions such as Dear Archimedes (2019) and the soon-to-be-released Catman (2021).
Super Junior's Choi Siwon
Prior to his debut, the singer-actor was sent by SM Entertainment to learn Mandarin, alongside Seohyun.
After becoming a part of Super Junior, he also joined their sub-unit, Super Junior-M, which promotes in Chinese countries.
In more than a decade in the industry, he demonstrated his Mandarin-speaking talent by not only singing in Mandarin but also acting in Chinese productions.
Super Junior's Donghae
Donghae may seem blur most of the time and his fellow Super Junior members have claimed that he can’t even speak proper Korean, but it seems he has a pretty good grasp of the Chinese language.
He displayed his linguistic abilities during a quiz show that was part of Super Junior’s variety show, Super TV.
Seven years ago, he acted in a Taiwanese TV drama, Skip Beat! (2011-12), alongside fellow member Siwon.
Born in Boston, it is obvious that Eric is fluent in English. However, the songbird has revealed multiple times his prowess in Spanish and Mandarin.
In 2019, Eric revealed on a Korean variety show that he hasn’t been using Mandarin and has since lost part of the fluency. If he was in Singapore, we could help him brush up on the language!
Girls' Generation Seohyun
The singer-actress might be the maknae, or the youngest, of the girl group but she definitely reigns supreme when it comes to language skill.
In particular, Seohyun is noted to be fluent in Mandarin and has even participated in the Chinese film So I Married An Anti-fan (2016) alongside Exo’s Chanyeol. Seohyun is also fluent in Japanese and English too, making her a polyglot.
One of the fastest ways to pick up any language is to fully immerse yourself in the environment. And for singer-actress Hani, that’s how she picked it up.
Hani shared on the Korean variety program 1 vs 100 that she actually studied the language in China for six months. She’s definitely a fast learner (PS: she is said to have a genius IQ level of 145) to have picked up the language so fast in such a short span of time.
2NE1's Sandara Park
Did you know that Sandara got her showbiz start in The Philippines before she debuted in one of South Korea’s biggest girl groups 2NE1? Consequently, Sandara is also fluent in Tagalog besides Korean, Mandarin and English.
Sandara has proved her Mandarin capabilities multiple times, including singing the classic Chinese song Tian Mi Mi on a South Korean variety program.
This article was first published in Her World Online.