Studying Korean

korea flag

 뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다 – Where there is a will, there is a way.

Korean is the official language of both North and South Korea. Worldwide, there are around 80 million native speakers of the Korean language. South Korea has around 50 million speakers while North Korea has around 23 million.

Korean is also an official language (besides Mandarin) in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in northeastern China. The language has historically had a significant amount of interaction with the Chinese and Japanese languages, and so there are many similar characteristics shared among them (see Studying Korean and Similarities to Chinese).

Although it uses tones to distinguish certain meanings, Korean is not a tonal language such as Mandarin. There are no articles, and smaller details of meaning are usually conveyed through affixing small modifiers to a whole word (with the base word generally remaining unchanged).

Written Form

Korea began writing borrowing Chinese characters in ancient times. However, since classical Chinese characters were so difficult to learn, in the 15th century, King Sejong the Great of Korea had a team of scholars invent an alphabet that would be unique to their land, known as Hangul.

There are 24 letters of the Hangul alphabet that are usually arranged in blocks for each syllable, containing individual phonetically pronounced letters in much the same way as the Latin alphabet.

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