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Korean Language - About South Korea’s Next Biggest Import

Korean language spoken by more than 80 million people, primarily in South Korea and North Korea. It is also spoken by a significant number of speakers in other countries such as China, Japan, and the United States. The Korean language uses its own unique writing system called Hangul, which was created in the 15th century.

Jaya Mckeown
Feb 09, 20230 Shares100 Views
It’s a great time right now to learn the Korean language.
Korean is the official language of South Korea and North Korea, as well as one of the two official languages in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China.
It is spoken by approximately 80 million people worldwide.
Korean is a language isolate, meaning it is not closely related to any other language, although some similarities with Japanese and Mongolian have been noted.
Find out more about the Korean language.

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Introduction To Korean Language

The Korean language is a member of the Koreanic language family and is written using the Korean alphabet, known as Hangul.
Korean has a rich grammar system and its sentence structure is subject-object-verb.
It also has borrowed many words from Chinese and Japanese but has developed a unique vocabulary and pronunciation.

Korean Language History

The Korean language has a long and rich history, dating back to the Old Korean language in the Three Kingdoms era (57 BCE-668 CE).
Old Korean was the language spoken during the Three Kingdoms of Korea (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla) and the Unified Silla period (668-935).
During this time, the Korean language developed a unique writing system known as Hanja, which was derived from Chinese characters
In the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), Middle Korean was spoken and the Korean alphabet, known as Hangeul, was invented in 1443 by King Sejong the Great.
Hangeul quickly became the dominant writing system, replacing Hanja, and remains the official script of the Korean language today.
During the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), Early Modern Korean was spoken and saw the development of a standard language known as gugyeol.
This standard language was based on the language of the capital city, Hanyang (present-day Seoul), and was used in official documents, literature, and education.
After the Japanese colonization of Korea in 1910, the Korean language faced significant suppression and was replaced by Japanese in many aspects of society.
However, the Korean language was maintained by the Korean peopleand saw a revival after the country’s liberation in 1945.
Today, Korean is spoken by over 80 million people across the globe.

Korean Language Alphabet

The Korean language alphabet is called “Hangeul.”
It consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels.
It was created in the 15th century by King Sejong (1397-1450) to promote literacy among the Korean people.
Hangeul is written in syllable blocks, where each block represents a single syllable sound.
The Korean language alphabet is relatively simple to learn, and is widely considered to be one of the most efficient and logical writing systems in the world.
A ‘non-smoking area’ sign on a wall in Korean with English translation
A ‘non-smoking area’ sign on a wall in Korean with English translation

Korean Language Common Expressions

Here are some common Korean language expressions:
Korean Language (basic expressions)English Translation
Annyeong haseyo!Hello!
Eotteoke jineogo isseoyo? or Jal jineogo itnayo?How are you?
Ne, gwaenchanayo.Yes, I’m fine.
Aniyo, geureon geot anieyo.No, it’s not like that.
GamsahamnidaThank you.
Below are some common greetings in the Korean language:
Korean Language (basic greetings)English Translation
Joeun achimimnida!Good morning!
Joeun ohueyo!Good afternoon!
Joeun jeonyeokimnida!Good evening!
Annyeonghi geseyo.Goodbye.
Oraenman-eyo.Long time no see.
Cheonman-eyo.You’re welcome.

Korean Language Basics

The Korean language is subject-object-verb and has a relatively simple grammar compared to some other languages.
However, it has a complex system of honorifics used to show respect to others based on their social status and relationship to the speaker.
It also has many loanwords from Chinese and a unique vocabulary of its own.


Korean language has 19 vowels and diphthongs. In the Korean alphabet (Hangeul), the vowels are represented by individual syllable blocks, consisting of either one or two characters.
The five basic vowels are:
  • ㅏ (a)
  • ㅓ (eo)
  • ㅗ (o)
  • ㅜ (u)
  • ㅡ (eu)
There are also combination vowels formed by combining the basic vowels, like ㅐ (ae), ㅔ (e), ㅚ (oe), ㅢ (ui), among others.


The Korean language has 14 consonants in its alphabet, known as “jamo.”
The 14 Korean consonants are:
Korean ConsonantsEquivalent English Letter
silent or “ng”

Syllable Structure

The syllable structure of Korean language is typically (C)V(C), where “C” represents a consonant and “V” represents a vowel.
This means that a Korean syllable can consist of an optional initial consonant, a mandatory vowel, and an optional final consonant.
The final consonant can be a simple consonant (e.g., “k,” “t,” “m”) or a complex consonant (e.g., “ng”).
The number of syllables in a Korean word can range from one to about six, with an average length of about two syllables.

Tones And Intonations

The Korean language has a pitch accent system, which means that the meaning of a word can change based on the tone used to say it.
There are two basic tones in Korean: high and low.
These two tones can be combined in different ways to create more complex intonations, and the intonation of a word can convey different emotions or add emphasis.
For example, a rising intonation is often used to express surprise or a questioning tone, while a falling intonation can indicate a statement of fact or certainty.
The use of intonation and tone is an important part of the Korean language and helps to add depth and nuance to spoken communication.

Sentence Structure

In Korean language, the basic sentence structure is subject-object-verb (SOV).
However, this structure can vary depending on the context and emphasis, and sometimes the object may be omitted.
Adjectives and adverbs can be placed before or after the noun or verb they modify.
Word order in Korean language is flexible, but subject-verb agreement is mandatory.

Korean Language Learning

Learning the Korean language can be a rewarding and challenging experience. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Set realistic goals and establish a study routine. Consistency is key.
2. Familiarize yourself with the Korean alphabet (Hangeul) and learn basic grammar rules.
3. Immerse yourself in the language by listening to Korean music, watchingKorean dramas, and speaking with native speakers.
4. Utilize language learning resources such as textbooks, online courses, and language exchange programs.
5. Practice speaking, reading, writing and listening in Korean as much as possible.
Remember, learning a language takes time and effort. That also applies when learning the Korean language; so, stay motivated and have fun!
A COVID-19 notice on black and blue ink on a white paper in Hangul posted on a wall
A COVID-19 notice on black and blue ink on a white paper in Hangul posted on a wall

People Ask

Is Learning Korean Language Easy?

The difficulty of learning Korean, or any language, can vary depending on a number of factors such as a person's prior language experience, their learning style, and the amount of time and effort they are willing to put into it.
For English speakers, Korean can present some unique challenges due to its different alphabet and grammar structure. However, with consistent effort and dedication, it is possible to learn Korean and become proficient in the language.

What Are The 24 Alphabet In Korean?

The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels, making a total of 24 letters.

Is Hangul Same As Korean?

Hangul is the Korean alphabet, it is used to write the Korean language. So, you could say that Hangul is a writing system for the Korean language.

Final Thoughts

Learning the Korean language can be a rewarding and enriching experience.
It can open opportunities to connect with Korean culture, people, and business, as well as provide personal and professional benefits.
Korean is a unique and complex language with its own grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
Effective learning methods include consistent practice, immersion in the language, and using a combination of resources such as textbooks, language exchange programs, and language classes.
Dedication and patience are important factors in the process of learning any new language, and Korean language is no exception.
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