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  • Writer's pictureMaría Palomares Tarí

SOME SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT KOREAN LANGUAGE




Spoken by nearly 80 million native speakers worldwide, Korean is an incredibly versatile language within the top 18 most useful languages in the world. Linguists praise the language for its unique structure, so let’s have a look at some of its most interesting features!


  • It is the official and national language in South and North Korea. It is also spoken by people of Korean heritage in many countries worldwide, notably the US, China, Japan, Russia and Ukraine.

  • Korean is especially exciting to linguists as it is a “language isolate” — meaning it has never been proven to be related to any other languages or language families.

  • It is certainly the only language in the world whose alphabet was invented by a king! It was devised by King Sejong in the 15th Century. Its name is Hangul.

  • The Korean alphabet is often cited as being one of the most perfect writing systems in the world.

  • Koreans love and revere their alphabet so much that it even has its own special day! It is celebrated on 9th October every year in South Korea and 15th January in North Korea. It has been a National Holiday in South Korea since 2013.

  • It is a language which spans two different political systems of a once united country, now divided into capitalist South Korea and communist North Korea. Overall Koreans from the North and South understand each other but there are many differences in vocabulary especially when it comes to the political sphere.

  • Formality, politeness, and status are a big deal. Special nouns and verb endings are used to show respect to the person you’re talking to. This is also one of the reasons that international businesses need skilled Korean translators. Nuances are very important in this language.

  • There are two kinds of counting systems. One system uses native Korean and it is used for all numbers under 99, for counting objects, expressing time, distance, dates, and for talking about age. All other numbers over 100 are derived from Chinese.

  • Koreans often used shared pronouns like “we” or “us”, rather than “me” or “I”. This comes from the communal nature of Korean culture and society.




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