Learning Korean

Learning Korean
Learning Korean is not only essential for daily communication in Korea, it can also provide recent arrivals with a deeper understanding of the culture and people of their new country. Koreans respect people who learn their language, seeing this as an act of respect and honor.

Studying at university language institutes or private language schools (hagwons) are both good choices for people that learn well in a classroom setting. Some communities offer foreign residents free Korean language classes, from beginner levels through advanced.

Many people also participate language exchanges, which allow them practice Korean (and learn about Korean culture) in a more casual setting.
Studying Korean through lessons on Internet websites is also an option. KOSNET (Korean Language Study on the interNET), http://kosnet.go.kr, is a project of the National Institute for International Education of the Republic of Korea.

Study Tips
Like any other language, learning Korean takes lots of time and effort and can be very frustrating. But since you are in Korea, this is the best chance to learn Korean: one of the most beautiful and scientific languages in the world. Give yourself as many opportunities as possible to speak the language. Try to be friends with a Korean who wants to exchange language and culture as a conversation partner. They will be happy to help you explore the local area and learn the language and tradition. Also, use free online classes and make it part of your daily routine. Many a mickle makes a muckle. Regular self-study is also an effective way of obtaining language skill.

*To see more online and offline Korean classes, please check our links on the right.
About Hangeul
The Korean language, or Hangeul (한글), is the official language of both South and North Korea. It is also one of the two official languages of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province in northeastern China, and is one of the 10 most spoken languages in the world. The Korean language was generally influenced by the Chinese language, as evidenced by the Sino-Korean words used. About 60% of Korean vocabulary is Sino-Korean while the
35% is Native Korean. The rest of the language is borrowed from other languages, primarily English. There are more than 80 million people throughout the world who speak Korean. Larger concentrations can be found in parts of Australia, the Philippines, the USA, Japan, Brazil, China, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Republics).

The National Institute of Korean Language: http://www.korean.go.kr
Hangeul Alphabet
As one of the most acclaimed alphabets in the world, Hangeul is popular for the complexity of its design, as well as its excellence. It was developed during the Joseon Dynasty to replace the use of Chinese characters for recording the Korean language. King Sejong advocated for the need of a new writing system, to increase literacy among Korea's people. The new alphabet not only replaced the difficult Chinese characters but also provided a unique writing system for the language of the Korean people.

Hangeul is made up of 24 letters (jamo), 14 consonants and 10 vowels. The language is written using syllabic blocks, with each consisting of at least two letters, one consonant and one vowel. The Korean language is commonly written horizontally from left to right.
Basic Korean
Here are some essential Korean phrases to get you started. Phrases followed by (F) are formal terms, used to speak with older people or to show great respect. Phrases followed by (I) are informal terms, used casually to speak with friends.


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