When somebody mentions Korea, or Korean Language the things that suddenly come to your mind might be the famous ‘Kim Jong-un of North Korea’ or ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy that made you go crazy with its catchy beats and unique dance moves.
Korea is in constant highlight everywhere from its food to K-Pop, K-dramas to its language… Language, the Korean Language!
Here, we’ll be discussing some amazing facts about the Korean Language (South Korean: 한국어/Hangugeo; North Korean: 조선말/Chosŏnmal)
1. The Korean Language is spoken by more than 7 billion people worldwide; Making it the 13th largest language in the world.
It is the official language of both North and South Korea.
Although widely spoken in ethnic Korean communities in China, Japan, the United States, and Central Asia.
2. Alphabet! This is a piece of cake
There are only 24 alphabets in the Korean Language consisting of 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Easy! However, there are 5 double consonants and 11 double vowels that add up to a total of 40 alphabets.
3. A controversial language
Most linguists consider Korean to be a language isolated, but some linguists claim that it comes from the Uralo-Altaise group of languages, including Mongolian, Finnish, Hungarian, Turkish, and Manchu. There is, however, no clear evidence of this hypothesis; It’s actually controversial.
4. Long live King Sejong!
Korean is considered to be one of the oldest spoken languages in the world. Chinese character Hanja came to Korea in the eleventh century with Buddhism. Hanja was written in Korean which can only be studied by upper classes.
King Sejong the Great (the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty of the 15th century) thought that Hanja was inappropriate to write Korean.
So, he personally created a new compositional script known as ‘Hangul’. It was made to completely assist or replace Hanja.
৫. A unique combination with your tongue
The Hangul was designed to mimic the physical shape of your tongue, teeth, and palate.
6. Korean Tiger Korean vs Modern Korean
To the decorative Korean was written in a row, top to bottom, right to left; Although, the modern Korean is written in columns, left to right, top to bottom.
7. North Korean and South Korean, we say no!
Ever since Korea split, South Korea has had a progressive but slowly linguistic tendency, with huge foreign influence.
8. Too much for translators
The Korean Language is based on regional dialects, both North and South Korean. Although they are very similar to each other, it can sometimes be difficult to understand. For example, a person from Seoul may have difficulty understanding the Daegu dialect.
9. The verb will end all
For English speakers, Korean is going to be a difficult language to learn. The verb will always come to an end because of the word chain.
10. What about vocabulary?
Well, Korean Language is sometimes easier. If you learn the basic words, then you have the potential to learn Korean easily. For instance, mul (water)+gae (dog)= mulgae (water dog or seal). However, some common English words such as “motorcycle” ‘Auto bike’ in Korean and pronounced as Eoto Baikeu.
11. I’ll take the loan
About 50% of the Korean words are from the Chinese low word and 5% are from English and other languages. Good for those who know Chinese.
12. A counting system is not enough; I have two
Ha! Korea has two China and native counting systems. Natives are used to calculating things, age and time of a clock for numbers below 99 years. The Sino goes above 99 and is used for dates, minutes, distance, and currency.
13. Chronicles of Korean Fun
Ever thought about buying a Swiss knife? If you want to buy one in Korea, just say ‘Maekgaibeo kal’.
The word comes from a television series ‘MacGyver’ where the character often uses a Swiss knife and they only accept it in one word.
Another one tells, if you ask for food and say ‘Seobisseu‘ as in Service; they will give you extra Kimchi or Sauce. They literally took ‘service’ thinking they were doing you a favor
14. Call me Opa!
In Korean, honorees play an important role. If a person is older or older than you, you use respect for them. The biggest honorific used for any person is ‘op’ in North Korea, which is used only for its leader Kim.
15. Ladies, please speak politely!
Koreans may suffer as a slight gender apathy. Dition Traditionally, Korean women are regarded as obedient to men, which sets the tone of the conversation between the two.
This is seen when women use a soft tone to end a discussion or argument or to introduce themselves as someone’s wife or mother.
Similarly, in a profession, like a male President of a company/organization is termed as ‘Sajang,’ while a female one would be termed as ‘Yosajang.’
16. Kanjang Jang Kan Tone Jang… Kan ???
‘간장 공장 공장장은 장 공장장이고 된장 공장 공장장은 강 공장장이다 [Kanjang kongjangkongjang-jang-ǔn jangkongjang-jang-igotoenjangkongjangkongjang-jang-ǔn kang kongjang-jang-i], is the most famous tongue twister in Korea’ to remember, Kangjang is soy sauce, Toenjang is soybean paste, and Kongjang is factory.
Thus twister means, The factory manager of the soy sauce factory is factory manager Chang and the factory manager of the soybean paste factory is factory-manager Kang.
17. There is no ‘mine’ It is simply ‘our’
Instead of Korean Language, they prefer not to use ‘our’ or ‘we’ instead of ‘us’ or ‘we’.
18. The First Literature in Hanguel
Before the discovery of Hanguel in the fifteenth century, literature was written on Chinese characters. 용비어천가 [Yongbiǒchǒnga], ‘Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven’ was the first literature written in Hangeul, the songs were composed by a team of Confucian literati.
19. Seoul, why worry so much after one thing
Korea’s capital, Seoul, literally means “capital” in the Korean Language!!!