What writing system(s) does this language use?
One thing unique about the Korean language is the Hangeul ("han-guhl") alphabet. While Chinese uses a complex character for each word, and Japanese mixes two syllabaries (each character of the alphabet representing a syllable rather than a single sound) with complex Chinese characters, the Hangeul alphabet uses actual letters, each one with its own sound. Hangeul letters are arranged to make syllables in Korean words.
Hangeul is the only purposely invented alphabet in popular daily use. The alphabet was invented in 1444 during the reign of King Sejong (1418 – 1450). King Sejong was the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty and is one of the most highly regarded. He originally named the Hangeul alphabet Hunmin Jeongeum, which means "the correct sounds for the instruction of the people".
How many people speak this language?
There are between 67 and 78 million Korean speakers around the world. It is one of the top 20 most spoken languages in the world.
Where is this language spoken?
Korean is spoken primarily in North and South Korea, in the northeastern parts of China, Japan, and the western part of the US, However, there are large Korean speaking communities in many major cities around the world.
What is the history of this language?
Korean is a very old language. Unfortunately, researchers are still not sure of how it evolved. Some researchers think that it shared a common history with Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic languages. Other researchers think that it may have evolved with Japanese from Austronesian (Australian and South East Asian) languages. One thing is sure though, it is not a variation of Chinese.
One famous author is Soon-Won Hwang. He was born in 1915 in Pyoungannam-do, and graduated from Waseda University with a degree in English Literature in 1939. He taught at Seoul Middle High School and also in the College of Liberal Arts and Science of Kyung-Hee University. He was a member and senior member of the Art Institute. He was awarded the "Asia Free Literature Award", "Art Institute Award", "First of March Culture Award", "Kookmin Medal Dongbaekjang", "Korea Literature Award Main Award", and the first "Inchon Award (Literature Section)".
His works include the poems "Singing Loudly" and "Antique"; short stories such as "Swamp", "Dog of Neck Cross Village", "Crane", "Lost People", "Time Only For You and Me", and "Mask"; and the novels "Descendant of Cain", "Grafting of Human", "Trees, Standing on the Slope", "The Sun and the Moon", and "The Die of Gods". 12 volumes of "The Complete Works of Soon Won Hwang" were published in 1985.
There are 14 primitive consonants and 10 vowels in Korean.
- 14 consonants: ㄱ (g), ㄴ (n), ㄷ (d), ㄹ (r), ㅁ (m), ㅂ (b), ㅅ (s), ㅇ (ng), ㅈ (j), ㅊ (ch), ㅋ (k), ㅌ (t), ㅍ (p), ㅎ (h)
- 1 일 (il)
- 2 이 (i, like "ee")
- 3 삼 (sam)
- 4 사 (sa)
- 5 오 (o)
- 6 육 (yuk)
- 7 칠 (chil)
- 8 팔 (pal)
- 9 구 (gu)
- 10 십 (ship)
- 11 십 일 (ship il)
- 20 이 십 (i ("ee") ship)
- 30 삼 십 (sam ship)
- 40 사 십 (sa ship)
- 50 오 십 (o ship)
- 60 육 십 (yuk ship)
- 70 칠 십 (chil ship)
- 80 팔 십 (pal ship)
- 90 구 십 (gu ship)
- 100 백 (baek)
- 1000 천 (cheon)
- 10000 만 (man)
- 100000 십만 (ship man)
- 1000000 백만 (baek man)
- 10000000 천만 (cheon man)
- 100000000 일억 (il eok)
- 안녕하세요? (annyeong-haseyo?, or to a close friend: 안녕? annyeong?) - "Hello?"
- 안녕히 가세요. (annyeong-hi ("hee") gaseyo, or to a close friend: 안녕, annyeong) - "Good bye"
- 잘 가세요. (jal gaseyo, or to a close friend 잘 가, jal ga) - "Good bye)
- 고맙습니다 (go-map-seumnida, or to a close friend: go ma wor) - "Thank you"
- 천만에요 (cheonmaneyo, or 괜찮습니다, gwaenchan-seumnida) - "You are welcome"
- 미안합니다 (mi-an-hamnida, or to a close friend: 미안해, mi-an-hae) - "I am sorry"
- 괜찮습니다 (gwaenchan-seumnida, or to a close friend: 괜찮아, gwaenchan-a) - "That is all right."
- 안녕히 주무셨어요? [honorific form] (annyeong-hi ("hee") jumusheosseoyo?, or to a close friend, jal ja sir?) - "Good evening" or "Good night"
- 잘 잤어요? [formal] (jal jass-eoyo?) - "Good morning" or "Did you sleep well?"
- 사랑해요 (sarang-haeyo, or to a close friend, 사랑해, sarang-hae) - "I love you"
- 사람 (sa-ram) - person
- 남자 (nam-ja) - man
- 소년 (so-nyeon) - boy
- 여자 (yeo-ja) - woman
- 소녀 (so-nyeo) - girl
- 사과 (sa-gwa) - apple
- 닭 (dak) - chicken
- 말 (mal) - horse
- 감자 (gam-ja) - potato
- 좋아요 (joh-a-yo) - good
- 나빠요 (nappa-yo) - bad
What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?
|동해 물과 백두산이 마르고 닳도록
하느님이 보우하사 우리나라 만세
|Until the day when the East Sea's waters and Mt. Baekdu are dry and worn away,
Heaven protect and preserve us. Long live our nation!
|남산 위에 저 소나무 철갑을 두른 듯
바람서리 불변함은 우리 기상일세
|The pinetree atop Namsan stands firmly unchanged under wind and frost as if wrapped in armour,
as is our resilient spirit.
|가을 하늘 공활한데 높고 구름 없이
밝은 달은 우리 가슴 일편단심일세
|Autumn sky is void and vast, high and cloudless,
the bright moon is our heart, undivided and true.
|이 기상과 이 맘으로 충성을 다하여
괴로우나 즐거우나 나라 사랑하세
|With this spirit and this mind, give all loyalty,
in suffering or in joy, love the country.
|무궁화 삼천 리 화려 강산
대한 사람 대한으로 길이 보전하세
|Three thousand Li of splendid rivers and mountains, filled with Roses of Sharon;
Great Korean People, stay true to the Great Korean way.
Introduction • Glossary • Authors and Contributing • Print Version
Read in another language
This page is available in 1 language