Interesting Korean Language Facts That’ll Help You Master It
Languages worldwide have their own set of quirks and particularities that make them unique, and Korean is not an exception. If you plan to take up Korean classes in Singapore, you probably are trying to be proficient in the language for a specific reason. Maybe you’re trying to earn a new skill, or perhaps trying to get a good higher education in Korea.
Whatever your reason may be, here are some interesting facts about the language that will ultimately help you master Korean sooner than you might think.
1. The importance of special nouns and verb endings
Just like any other language, Korean also has its own specific grammatical rules. However, this extends to the fact that they also emphasise the use of particular nouns and verb endings. In their culture, respect and status are two fundamental aspects. Hence, they have grammatical standards that correspond to a specific level of formality.
If you are talking to someone who holds a higher social rank, you should use special nouns and verb endings so that you would not end up disrespecting them by accident.
2. Confucian traditions helped shape the language
Unlike the English language that uses ‘me’ or ‘my’ to refer to themselves, Koreans use ‘we’ or ‘our’ which is a practice that can be traced back to Confucian communal values and tradition.
For example, in English, you would say “That’s my school” – while there isn’t any grammatical error in it, Koreans think it sounds weird because school is a shared space (unless of course if you actually are the legal owner). Instead, they use “That’s our school” because they have a collectivist nature.
3. Korean language stands by itself
The nuances between Chinese, Japanese, and Korean can be indistinguishable to the average person who hasn’t been exposed to Asian languages and culture. However, it should be understood that Korean is a standalone language, unlike the first two, which means that it doesn’t have a direct relationship with other languages, nor does it overtly borrow some terms.
Yes, it might be related to Jeju, but Jeju is mostly regarded as a dialect that doesn’t bear any significant distinction from the language spoken in mainland Korea.
4. Koreans have two counting systems
In most languages, they usually have one established counting method. However, you should take Korea differently because they have two different counting methods – one uses native Korean while the other has Chinese origins.
The first one is used similarly to the English counting method, such as quantifying certain objects, counting your anniversary, and telling everyone how old you are. On the other hand, the second one is more technical as it is used to measure distance, count the money, determine specific dates, and much more.
What makes the Korean language different from the ones spoken in other parts of the world is that levels of respect affect the appropriate vocabulary, it is based on their collectivist nature, linguists consider it as an ‘isolate’ language, and it has more than one counting system. If you keep these particularities in mind, you’ll definitely learn how to speak Korean better.
If you’re looking for a Korean language school in Singapore, engage with us at Korean Explorer. We offer a broad range of classes, all of which are geared for specific learning competencies. Whether you’re just trying to learn Hangul or trying to earn a business-level fluency, you can be assured that you will learn from certified Korean speakers.