How Did BTS Superstar RM Learn English?

K-pop supergroup BTS has been setting and breaking records since their debut, and there seems to be no end in sight. Their wildly successful “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” tour just wrapped up, but fans still can’t get enough.

In fact, BTS’ popularity has spread like wildfire even throughout the U.S. While not every member of BTS is well-versed in English, that hasn’t stopped them from connecting with their ARMY in the U.S. However, it does help that RM spent time learning English when he was younger. In fact, he’s largely self-taught. 

Learning from a famous sitcom

In 2017, BTS appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to chat with the talk show star. DeGeneres had an interpreter on the show, but soon discovered that it wasn’t always going to be necessary. In fact, BTS member RM is quite skilled when it comes to English. 

Naturally, DeGeneres was curious as to how RM became proficient, and his answer might surprise you. 

“Actually, my English teacher was a sitcom, Friends. Back in the day when I was like 15 or 14, it was quite a syndrome for Korean parents to make their kids watch Friends. So yeah, I thought I was kind of like a victim at that time,” said RM with a laugh. “But right now, I’m the lucky one.”

Adults everywhere can relate to looking back on being forced to learn something from their parents, and appreciating it now. “So like, thanks to my mother, she bought all the seasons, the DVDs. It’s got ten DVDs right? So firstly I watched with the Korean subtitles, and then next time I watched with the English subtitles, and then I just removed it.” 

DeGeneres was impressed, and said Friends would happy to know RM learned English from their program. 

A shared language 

BTS
BTS | Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic

DeGeneres went on to explore what BTS’ own lyrics mean to them, and how they tend to address deeper topics like self-love and mental health. 

DeGeneres asked, “So you write the songs and they’re very personal lyrics. You talk about things like mental health, and that’s important to you right? To set yourself aside and not just do pop music, but talk about issues?”

Suga replied, “I think we have created in English. With different languages, you have different languages, but I think we all share in the same message. I think that’s why our songs appeal to people who speak Korean and people who don’t speak Korean.”

“We do all speak the same language with — we all feel pain, we all feel sad, we all are happy, all the different things. And music does bring us together, you’re absolutely right,” replied DeGeneres.

Have you hooked up with ARMY?

BTS
BTS | JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images

DeGenere’s last question elicited a pretty explosive reaction from V. After discussing who ARMY is and what it stands for, she asked BTS, “Have you ever gotten together, hooked up with any of the ARMY?”

Suffice it to say, the crowd went wild at the thought. “We are doing it right now,” said RM jokingly. DeGeneres clarified, and asked the interpreter to make sure to explain what “hooked up” means.

“Have you all ever dated one of your ARMY?” she asked again. 

V immediately replied, “Not! Not. …No.”