South Korea

South Korean language

Flag of South Korea

The Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, and its capital is Seoul. It has a population of more than 51 million inhabitants (27th) and an area of ​​100,363 km2 (107th). Its human development index is very high (22nd) and its official currency is the South Korean won. And what language is spoken in South Korea?

What language do they speak in South Korea?

South Korea has one official language, Korean.

traffic signs south korea english korean

In education, English is a compulsory subject, while Japanese or Mandarin Chinese are optional. Approximately 10% of the South Korean population can speak English well; most of whom reside in big cities, like Seoul. Additionally, South Korea is home to 181,000 native Mandarin Chinese speakers.

The Korean language

Korean (한국어) is spoken by 98% of the population. South Korean Korean differs from North Korean in pronunciation, grammar, lexicon, and writing. It is written using its own alphabet, Hangul, which dates back to the year 1446. This alphabet consists of 24 phonemes (jamo), which are divided into 14 consonants and 10 vowels.

korean dialect maps in korea

The Korean language is written in syllabic blocks, with each alphabetic letter placed vertically and horizontally in a square dimension. For example, the Korean word for honey bee (kkulbeol) is spelled 꿀벌, not ㄲㅜㄹㅂㅓㄹ. Traditionally it was written from top to bottom, from right to left (they are rarely written that way now, just for aesthetic reasons). Today, it is normally written from left to right, with spaces between the letters, and with Western punctuation marks. You can learn to read the Korean alphabet in 15 minutes in this infographic.

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