Basic Facts About The Korean Language
By Jacob Lumbroso
The Korean language is spoken by the entire population of North Korea and South Korea. While there are certainly differences between the Korean dialect spoken in the north and the one spoken in the south, the dialects are mutually understandable.
The Korean language is also used in the autonomous region of Yanbian which is in the southern province of Heilongjiang in China.
Approximately 78 million people speak Korean, including communities of immigrants now living in the former Soviet Union, Australia, Canada, United States, Brazil, Japan, United Kingdom, as well as the Philippines.
The so called denomination of the language varies between both Koreas. In South Korea it is usually called Hangugeo or Hangungmal. Officially the name given to Korean is gugeo which means "language of the country.Colloquially speaking it is also referred to as urimal that literally means "our language."
North Korean typically refer to the Korean language as Chos nmal although it is also called urimal. The standard of North Korea is based on the way it is spoken in the capital P'yngyang while in the south the standard is the way it is spoken in Seoul. The differences between these two forms of the Korean language does not make it impossible for speakers of either group to communicate with each other because the differences are more or less equivalent to the Spanish spoken in Spain and the Spanish spoken in Latin America.
The origin of the Korean language is not yet clear. Some linguists say it belongs to the group of the Altaican languages whilst others put it in the same group with the Japanese language in one single group: Korean-Japanese.
Since neither of these two views have been demonstrated decisively, those who do study the language prefer to refer to the Korean language as a language significantly distinct from the aforementioned groups. From a morphological point of view, the Korean language uses agglutination which is the process of adding affixes to the base of a word. Korean maintains a grammatical syntax whose base is Subject-Object-Verb. Japanese, Vietnamese, and the Korean languages are influenced heavily by the Chinese language.
The system utilized for writing Korean is known as Hangeul, and it is at the same time an alphabetical and phonetic system. It is quite common to use the vocabularies that come either directly or indirectly from the Chinese language.
Jacob Lumbroso is a world traveler and an enthusiast for foreign languages, history, and foreign cultures. He writes articles on history and languages and recommends Pimsleur for learning Korean.