The ability to speak English allows a K-pop group to more directly connect to a much larger international audience, and the companies know it. Groups as far back as g.o.d., Girls’ Generation, and KARA have featured Korean Americans who are native English speakers. Of course, many K-pop groups consist entirely of members born and raised in South Korea, and ATTRAKT girl group Fifty Fifty is included among them. Such groups have no choice but to learn English the old-fashioned way: hard practice. So if you want to know if the members of Fifty Fifty can speak English, here is the full answer. (This space addresses Keena, Saena, Sio, and Aran as a whole for now, but Keena is currently the only remaining member of the group following a prolonged dispute among the group, ATTRAKT, and The Givers.)
Fifty Fifty Can Speak English with a Basic Level of Fluency
Since debut, Fifty Fifty has done many interviews, including a multitude of video interviews for international outlets in places like India and Thailand. (Fifty Fifty YouTube maintains a playlist of many, but not all, of their interviews.) In several of those interviews, Fifty Fifty has spoken a great deal of English! Even more impressive, the members had only been studying English for about two years prior to debut, which is a remarkably short amount of time to learn a language while also busy training. Although, parsing Fifty Fifty’s actual level of fluency is a bit complicated, and it seems to vary from member to member.
When it comes to answering basic questions like explaining the group’s concept and the meaning of title songs, it is clear that members like Saena (as leader) and Aran have simply memorized the necessary English to give sophisticated, thoughtful answers, because they use identical language to answer those questions across different interviews. However, even in Korean-language interviews, it is normal for idols to memorize specific answers to give to these fundamental questions, so it is not fair to judge their fluency one way or another based solely on this.
Although, in several English-language video interviews, it appears that some, but certainly not all, parts of their answers have been planned or rehearsed in advance. In several debut interviews, you can see the Fifty Fifty members looking slightly off-camera while giving some answers, suggesting that they may be receiving some help with English out of sight. To give a more pointed example of their limitations, Keena appears a bit flustered in a December 2022 interview when she is asked to give an answer for a question she was not expecting. Aran coaches her through it, and Keena ultimately gives a simplistic answer of just a few words — a stark contrast to other, more sophisticated answers she had given. (Likewise, in an example from November 2023, when Keena attended the Billboard Music Awards Party by herself, she did a short English interview in which she seems to nervously attempt to remember some English that she had likely partially prepared in advance.)
However, the Fifty Fifty members also engage in a lot of English banter, which certainly could not have been planned in advance. And in general, it’s often clear that members are just giving direct answers from their hearts and heads. Aran has the strongest grasp on English grammar and pronunciation, followed by Sio. Saena and Keena may have a bit less fluency, and Saena has conceded that pronouncing “L” and “R” sounds is a bit challenging (which is a common difficulty for that region when learning English). In general, of all the Fifty Fifty members, it seems that Aran has the most confidence speaking in English.
Ultimately, as one would naturally expect, Fifty Fifty is most comfortable speaking in Korean. This is evidenced by a March 2023 appearance on Arirang Radio’s Radio Clock, where the members primarily gave Korean-language responses to the DJs, though the show itself is an English broadcast targeting an international audience. Nonetheless, the group did of course speak English intermittently throughout the show, and the DJs praised their exceptional English skills for having only practiced the language for two years. Similarly, in a May 2023 interview with American broadcast outlet Fox 13 Seattle, the members gave answers almost exclusively in Korean, except for when Aran spoke in fluent English to explain that the group intends to continue doing English versions of their music.
To summarize, the Fifty Fifty members can indeed speak basic English, and Aran appears to have the highest level of proficiency. As time goes on and the Fifty Fifty members get older, surely all of their English skills will only continue to improve. But for now, if you want to watch one of the best and most fun English Fifty Fifty interviews, we recommend one that seems to be unavailable on YouTube: an E NOW interview for India conducted by Sakshma Srivastav.
For more about Fifty Fifty, check out our comprehensive list of Fifty Fifty facts and trivia for each member or our archive of Fifty Fifty member predebut photos and videos. Or if you’re interested in more K-pop groups who speak English, then check out a full analysis of Itzy’s impressive English skills, who speaks English in Blackpink and how they each learned it, or who speaks English in BabyMonster.