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The Korean Language

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Maya is a writer who aspires to change the world through her work.

All about Korean

All about Korean

Who Speaks Korean?

More than 75 million people in South Korea and the North speak Korean. Mandarin is spoken by over 2 million people in China, 1 million in the United States, and 500,000 in Japan. Korean is the official language of both South Korea (Republic of Korea) and North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea). There are minor differences in spelling, alphabetization, and vocabulary choice (including letter names) between the two Koreas, but they agree on the basic standards established by the Korean Language Society in 1933, which were adopted by both.

This article covers the following facts about the Korean language:

  1. Status
  2. Dialects
  3. Alphabet
  4. Understanding Korean Vocabulary
  5. How Difficult Is Learning Korean?
Do you want to learn Korean?

Do you want to learn Korean?

1. Status

During Japan's occupation, the official language of Korea was declared Japanese, and Korean was officially banned. In the case of Koreans, they were even forced to adopt Japanese surnames. Despite national divisions and civil war, after the Japanese occupation ended in 1945, Korean became the official language of both Koreas. Following the 1945 division, each Korean nation developed its national standards and language policy. In both Koreas, modern Korean is now widely spoken.

2. Dialects

The ancient Korean language had two dialects: Puyo and Han. Puyo dialects were spoken in Manchurian and northern Korea, while Han was spoken in southern Korea. Korea's Map When the Korean peninsula was unified in the 7th century AD, it became dominant. A Han-speaking group united the peninsula by the end of the 14th century. As a result, the Han dialect became widely adopted throughout the peninsula. As a result, modern Korean is based on the Han dialect. There are two standard varieties in modern Korean:

The Seoul dialect serves as the foundation for the South Korean standard.

The standard in North Korea is based on the P'yngyang dialect.
Despite its small size, the Korean Peninsula has several regional dialects that are all mutually understandable.

3. Alphabet

They are made up of 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Doesn't that sound simple? There is, however, a set of 5 double consonants and 11 double vowels, totaling 40 alphabets.

Did You Know?

  • Until the 15th century, Korea had no alphabet. Despite its long history, Korea's alphabet (known as "hangul") was not formalized until the 15th century, when it was standardized. When written Korean first appeared, it was written in Chinese characters.
  • Hangul is frequently referred to as the “most perfect phonetic system,” with an alphabet that fits the language perfectly. This is partly because the shape of the letters mimics the shape of your tongue when you pronounce them. The language is so popular among native speakers that both South and North Korea have a national holiday dedicated to it.

The languages of South and North Korea are not the same.

Vocabularies, pronunciations, and even grammatical rules have diverged for as long as the two Koreas have been separated.

4. Vocabulary

The word "intruder" in Korean is pronounced similarly to the Arabic word "intruder."

Languages other than Altaic are used in Korean vocabulary (r,l-r,l). South Korea's pronunciation and writing sound has been altered by this system. In some words, the sound of the is used at the beginning, while others begin with the.

The proportion of Sino-Korean words in Korean vocabulary is controversial. 50-60% of the Korean vocabulary, according to Chun Ho-min (2001), is Chinese. A higher percentage of 65 percent was given in 2006. Jeong Ji-do, the author of Animal Keun Sajeon (The Great Dictionary of Our Language), says the proportion of Chinese vocabulary is small. During the Japanese occupation, Korean dictionaries were filled with Chinese words. Around 70 percent of the Korean vocabulary, according to him, is spoken. The numbers in Korean [English] are determined by two local systems.

Korean has also been influenced by Mongolian, Tamil, and other languages. Japanese Tsushima dialect has also adopted some Korean vocabulary and vice versa. Ninety percent of the extraneous words in the Korean language are borrowed from the English language. Korean also incorporates a few words from English and other languages into its lexicon.

5. How Difficult Is it to Learn Korean?

Many English speakers may find learning a language with a new writing system and sentence structure difficult (such as Korean). But it's a lot easier if you prepare yourself with the right materials and learn in a way that you enjoy. As previously stated, Korean is a simple writing system to learn. This can be accomplished by making associations between Korean sounds and words and English words.

Korean sentence structure differs from that of English sentences. The game's rules, on the other hand, are extremely simple to learn and remember. Make a note of these combinations once you're comfortable with them.

Fun Fact:

In the iconic TV series MacGyver, MacGyver was a secret agent who always carried a Swiss Army Knife. A "maekgaibeo kal," meaning "MacGyver knife," is a man's constant knife in Korea. Maekgaibeo kal became a nickname for the Swiss Army Knife because Korean kids used to call their fathers MacGyver when they pulled out their Swiss Army Knives.

There's a Lot to Learn About Korean

Even if you're an expert at K-Pop karaoke or have seen every Korean horror movie ever made, telling the time in Korean requires the use of two different number systems.

Naturally, there's a lot more to learn about Korean than just telling the time. Now, more than ever is the ideal time to learn the language spoken by nearly 80 million people worldwide. Learning Korean can be difficult for English speakers due to its complex honorifics and unfamiliar script.


  • P. (2020, August 18). 9 Surprising Facts About the Korean Language - Listen & Learn USA. Listen & Learn USA.
  • 10 Fun Facts About the Korean Language - Yuqo. (2018, July 4). Yuqo.

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