Among all of the languages taught in U.S. universities, Korean has shown the highest rate of growth in enrollment between 2009 and 2013. This growth is in part due to the “Korean wave,” namely the “popularity of South Korean popular culture in other countries” (Ryoo, 2009). As Korean is generally considered a Less Commonly Taught Language (LCTL), it provides an exemplary case of the effects of indirect contact with target language speakers via popular culture on LCTL learning. This article studies seventeen non-heritage KFL (Korean as a Foreign Language) learners to investigate the effects of contact with popular culture on Korean language learning. The narratives of the students were qualitatively analyzed. The data indicate that contact with target popular culture has enhanced (1) the participants' motivation for embarking on language learning, (2) the participants' initiative to envision target communities, and (3) the participants' investment in KFL learning.

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