According to recent Modern Language Association (MLA) reports (2015, 2019), student enrollment in Korean language classes shows the fastest growth among all foreign languages offered at US higher education institutions for the past decade. It is believed that such remarkable growth in the interest in the Korean language is to some extent indebted to the popularity of Korean popular culture, which is called Hallyu or “Korean Wave.” The present study examines the role of Hallyu in Korean language learning, focusing on the gender and ethnicity factors of learners. A survey of 180 US college learners of Korean was analyzed using descriptive statistics, two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Pearson's correlation coefficient. The results indicated that both gender and ethnicity were found to be significant factors. That is, female nonheritage students' L2 Korean motivation was more strongly driven by their interest in Korean popular culture than that of male or heritage students, measured by the learners' consumption of Korean popular culture and their motivation for Korean language learning.

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