3 Facts About The Korean Language You May Not Know About
Despite being a rather young country, South Korea is a nation rich in tradition and history. If you wish to dive deep into its quirks, the best approach is to, of course, to see and experience the country for yourself. However, there is also another avenue far more accessible and isn’t as costly: the Korean language. Here are 3 interesting facts about the language that divulge historical facts about the nation.
1. Its Very Own Unique Alphabet – Hangul
Before they had their own writing script, Koreans adopted Classical Chinese as their modes of writing. Not only was it a challenging and complicated language to learn, but Classical Chinese was also only reserved for the elites.
The King of Goryeo (Korea) at that time, Sejong the Great, decided to do away with a language accessible to only a few and later introduced the Hanja script. Widely known as Hangul, only consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels, with characters shaped to mimic the movements of the tongue. This writing script was not only easy to read and write, but it was also made accessible to the public. It has been acclaimed as a masterpiece in design, hailed as one of the perfect phonetic systems in the world.
2. The Ups and Down of the Korean Language
Despite its simplicity, it doesn’t discount the fact that the Korean language may be hard to grasp. Not only does their sentence structure differ to the English language, but the language also reflects the country’s strict hierarchical societal structure. This translates to the emergence of 7 different speech levels, with each level expressing a specific amount of respect displayed to the other person.
However, the Korean language is easier than other languages in other aspects. The simplicity of Hangul makes spelling and pronouncing rather straightforward. The language also doesn’t have different tonality, like the Chinese language. Unlike several Romance languages like the French and German languages, there are no gender-specific words or puzzling array articles to learn.
Seeing as how the language has adopted loanwords from other languages, picking up the language may be slightly easier than you first thought! Chances are you already know these words! Take a look at words such as 아이스크림 (aiskerim) to mean ice cream and 피자 (pija) that means pizza, you’ve already known a few words!
3. The Different Korean Languages
The tragic split of the Korean peninsula gave rise to two different countries, societies and even languages. As a country that has welcomed Western ideologies, South Korea’s Korean has adopted several loanwords from foreign languages. In comparison, North Korea’s refusal for any foreign influences or intervention allows the country to maintain the purity of the language and their Pyong’an dialect.
If you wish to dive into the history of a country, one aspect you may want to look into is its language. As with tradition and culture, the language will evolve with its society and you can catch a glimpse of the historical narratives through the language alone. Immerse yourself in the language by enrolling in Korean classes in Singapore. You can then unravel the mysteries of the said language.