Korean is the official language of North Korea and South Korea, and is also spoken in Japan, China, Russia, Ubekistan, Kazakhastan, and by many people in the United States. Both Korean and Chinese are the official languages used in the Yanbian Ethnic Korean Autonomous Prefecture, which is located in the People’s Republic of China. Worldwide, about 78 million people speak the Korean language.
While the basic vocabulary of the Korean language is the same no matter where it is spoken, there can be significant regional differences in the spelling, grammar, and pronunciation of the language. These differences have developed over many thousands of years, with contemporary variations developing between North and South Korea.
The Korean language is commonly called Hangungmal in South Korea. Gugeo or Hangugeo are formal terms used for the language in South Korea. In North Korea, the language is known as Chosŏnmal or ChosŏnŏI. These terms are also used as names for the language in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China. The names for the language also vary in the former USSR, where it is called Goryeomal, and in mainland China, where it is commonly called Cháoxiǎnyǔ when referring to the standard language used in North Korea and Hánguóyǔ when referring to the standard language of South Korea.
Prior to creating an alphabet that was distinct to the Korean language, Chinese letters were used to write Korean words. In 1444, the Korean alphabet was created during the reign of King Sejong (1418-1450). There are 10 vowels and 14 consonants that make up the language, and sentences are formed with the subject first followed by the object and then the verb. For instance, the English sentence “I like coffee” would be structured differently in the Korean language. Instead, the sentence form would be structured as “I coffee like.”
For those interested in learning how to speak Korean, there are numerous learning methods to choose from these days. For instance, listening to a Korean podcast is a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with how the language sounds, how specific words are pronounced, and to build up your conversational skills. Listening to Korean accents from a well-designed language podcast can be invaluable to the learning process. Audio lessons supplemented with visual Korean lessons will ensure that you quickly make progress.
Online lessons provide a way for students to learn new Korean phrases and Korean words at their own pace. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced student, it is possible to improve your understanding of the language and your speaking skills.