With the fame Korean culture has amassed worldwide, it’s no surprise that people have started gaining interest in the language itself. They want to know what their favourite K-Pop artists are singing about and the nuances in the K-Dramas they binge. Learning Korean would give them a window into a world they’re fascinated by.
Learning more about the Korean language offers a greater insight into South Korean culture as a whole, which is a very attractive prospect to many. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of the most intriguing facts about the Korean language. Read on to gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating culture and language.
1. The Korean script is known as “Hangeul”
The Korean language’s writing system is called Hangeul, which King Sejong created to encourage literacy in Korea at the time. The Korean script, known as Hangeul, was created specifically for the Korean language and is known for being efficient and easy to learn.
2. The Korean language is a language isolate
The idea that Korean belongs to the “Altaic” language family, where languages like Finnish and Turkish are linked, has been proposed by certain linguists. This idea has largely been disproven. Rather, Korean is more frequently categorised as a language isolate, meaning it has little in common with any languages now spoken on Earth.
3. The Korean language utilises two different systems of counting
Small and large numbers have distinct terminology in Korean. You would utilise local Korean terminology to convey the hour while telling time, mentioning your age, and counting objects. This system goes up to the number 99. The second system, which has Chinese roots, is employed for measuring other quantities, including money, dates, and distance, and for telling time – or any number greater than 99.
4. There are over 80 million Korean speakers in the world
With around 82 million speakers worldwide, the 17th most popular existing language today is Korean. It is a minority language in a few places in China, including Changbai County and Yanbian in the Jilin Province, and, of course, it is the language spoken throughout the Korean peninsula. The Korean diaspora also uses it in the US, Japan, Turkey, and Canada.
5. There are many Korean dialects
Korean is spoken in several different dialects throughout the peninsula. Due to Korea’s mountainous geography, many regional dialects have appeared over the years, several of which are named after their areas of origin. The dialects include:
- Central dialects: Spoken in Seoul and areas in Gangwon Province, Hwanghae Province, Gyeonggi Province, and Chungcheong Province
- Pyongan: Spoken in the west of North Korea and Liaoning in China
- Hamgyong: Used in the east of North Korea and Jilin in China
- Gyeongsang: Used in Busan, Daegu, and Ulsan
- Jeolla: Spoken in the region it is named after, known as a Southwestern dialect
It’s more important than ever to study the language spoken by over 80 million people globally as Korea’s international influence increases. However, learning Korean can be particularly difficult for English speakers due to the language’s complicated honorifics and unfamiliar script. You should consider taking Korean language courses from professionally educated native speakers that teach at Sejong. To discover more about this language, contact us today!