Korean, Facts, Myths and History of the Korean Languages

In this article, we will share all about Korean Facts, Myths and History of the Korean Languages. Are you curious about Korean? Do you want to know the difference between the South Korean and North Korean languages?

Let’s dive right to it. Here we go!

What is Korean meaning?

Korean can refer to a lot of meaning, it can be the language, people, or an aspect of the culture. Typically when people say Korean, they are referring to South Korean people. However, Korean can also refer to anything in Korea such as languages and its history.

Is Korean a language?

Obviosly yes, Korean is the official language of both North and South Korea. They have different dialects, but the fundamental parts of the language are the same. A North Korean and South Korean would be able to communicate with each other with just difference in dialects and the way they speak it.

How many people speak Korean?

Korean is spoken probably these days, by more than 80 million people worldwide with majority of the speakers are living in South and North Korea as the official language.

Korean language dialects

Korean has nine different dialects. Both South and North Korea have their own standard Korean dialects, which are used in an official setting. In the South, it is Seoul’s dialect. In the North, it is Seoul’s dialect mixed with Pyeongyang’s region’s dialect.

How many languages are spoken in South Korea?

If you are asking about Korean language, then we have five different dialects of the same korean language. Seoul dialect is the standard version that is used in speeches and used on news reports you probably often watch on Korean TV or KBS.

However, if you wonder about another languages, then we should say that the other language that commonly spoken in South Korea are English, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian.

What language is Korean most similar to?

Korean shares some similarities with both Japanese and Chinese. Korean is similar to Japanese in terms of grammar and sentence structure. They both also have their own unique writing systems that is fairly easy to learn. 

However, I should say that many words in Korean are actually taking from Chinese words and character, so in that way, it is similar to the Chinese language with the different is that there is no tones in Korean like there are 4 different tones in Chinese.

What is the history of the Korean language?

The earliest forms of the language have likely existed since the Stone Age, although the specific history of the language remains a mystery. Chinese characters were introduced to the region in the first century BC. They were adapted to the language and became known as Hanja (한자).

However, the modern korean language known as Hangul system was created by King Sejong in 1443. In North Korea, it’s called Joseongul. It finally became the most important writing system in both North and South Korea after World War 2 and the Korean War.

The Hangeul Alphabet and Writing System

There are 14 consonants and 10 vowels in the Hangul (also spelled “Hangeul”) writing system.  These are then combined into blocks to form words. 

Writing the basic Korean letters is fairly simple. Many of the letters in the alphabet are only a single line or two. You can learn Hangul and writing system in maybe only 1 or few days, it doesn’t really take long time to learn the alphabet and writing system.

Korean language and literature

Initially, when the Chinese characters were introduced to Koreans, all of the literature, poetry, and so on were written in Chinese characters. So technically most of the Korean literature before the 20th century was written in the Chinese language.

The very first modern Korean novel was published in 1917. A lot of the early period for modern Korean literature was influenced by Western poetry which was translated into Korean. 

Korean grammar

The basic word order for Korean sentences is subject-object-verb. However, the word order for Korean is flexible and the verb is often the only word you need for the sentence to make sense. Thanks to this, it’s easy to start creating sentences right away for beginners who want to practice the language. If you wish to start learning the grammar today, start with our guide on Korean grammar for beginners.

There are nine parts of speech in the language. These parts are nouns, pronouns, numbers, action verbs, adverbs, descriptive verbs and adjectives, interjections and exclamations, particles and post positions and, lastly, determiners, pronouns, and indeclinable adjectives. If you know Japanese, you may recognize similarities in the grammar structure to Korean.

Korean honorifics

Korean uses honorifics and speech levels to show the relationship between the speaker and who they’re speaking to or speaking of. Speakers need honorifics when talking of someone with higher status or older age. For example, you would make use of honorifics if you are talking about or to your parents or older person.

If they are older and have a higher status than you, then 존댓말 (jondaetmal) should be used. 존댓말 (jondaetmal) is the polite speech level. With friends and people younger than you, the informal speech level 반말 (banmal) can be used.

Does the Korean language have genders?

Technically, there is no gender in Korean grammar. However, the use of 그 (geu) for a man and 그녀 (geunyeo) for a woman in speech or text is just to make it clear whether the people we are are talking about is a man or a woman.

Additionally, Korean vocabulary owns a lot of words that are specific to gender such as 오빠 (oppa) for men, meaning big brother, and 언니 (eonni) for women, meaning big sister, or other family titles that are specific to a gender just to make sure that we are understand what we are talking about.

How do you think about Korean Language? do you desire to learn more about it? Let us know in the comments below!

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