Korean language

Map of Korean language.png
Middle Class in Joseon.jpg
The Language Research Institute, Academy of Social Science 사회과학원 어학연구소 / 社會科學院 語學研究所 (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)
National Institute of the Korean Language 국립국어원 / 國立國語院 (Republic of Korea)

The Korean language (Chosŏn'gŭl/Hangul: 조선말/한국어; Hanja: 朝鮮말/韓國語) is an East Asian language spoken by about 80 million people.[3] It is a member of the Koreanic language family and is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each territory. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin province, China. Historical and modern linguists classify Korean as a language isolate;[4][5][6][7][8][9] however, it does have a few extinct relatives, which together with Korean itself and the Jeju language (spoken in the Jeju Province and considered somewhat distinct) form the Koreanic language family. This implies that Korean is not an isolate, but a member of a micro-family. The idea that Korean belongs to the controversial Altaic language family is discredited in academic research.[10] Korean is now often included in Paleosiberian, a group of ancient languages in Northeast Asia. Paleosiberian is not a language family per se, but a term of convenience for genetically unrelated languages that predate other regional language families such as Tungusic and Turkic.[11] The Korean language is agglutinative in its morphology and SOV in its syntax.

Modern Korean descends from Middle Korean, which in turn descends from Old Korean, which descends from the language spoken in Prehistoric Korea (labeled Proto-Korean), whose nature is debated, in part because Korean genetic origins are controversial. A relation of Korean (together with its extinct relatives which form the Koreanic family) with Japanese (along with its extinct relatives which form the Japonic family), has been proposed by linguists such as William George Aston and Samuel Martin. Roy Andrew Miller and others suggested or supported the inclusion of Koreanic and Japonic languages (because of a certain resemblance) in the purported Altaic family (a macro-family that would comprise Tungusic, Mongolian and Turkic families); the Altaic hypothesis has since been largely rejected by most linguistic specialists.

Chinese characters arrived in Korea (See Sino-Xenic pronunciations for further information) together with Buddhism during the Proto-Three Kingdoms era. It was adapted for Korean and became known as Hanja, and remained as the main script for writing Korean through over a millennium alongside various phonetic scripts that were later invented such as idu and gugyeol. Mainly privileged elites were educated to read and write in Hanja; however, most of the population was illiterate. In the 15th century, King Sejong the Great personally developed an alphabetic featural writing system known today as Hangul.[12][13] He felt that Hanja was inadequate to write Korean and that this was the cause of its very restricted use; Hangul was designed to either aid in reading Hanja or replace Hanja entirely. Introduced in the document "Hunminjeongeum", it was called "eonmun" (colloquial script) and quickly spread nationwide to increase literacy in Korea. Hangul was widely used by all the Korean classes, but due to a conservative aristocratic class, official documents were still written in Hanja during the Joseon era. Today, Hanja is largely unused in everyday life due to its inconvenience, but it is still important for historical and linguistic studies. Neither South Korea nor North Korea opposes the learning of Hanja even though neither uses it officially anymore.

Since the Korean War, through 70 years of separation, the North–South differences have developed in standard Korean, including variations in pronunciation and vocabulary chosen, but these minor differences can be found in any of the Korean dialects and still largely mutually intelligible.

The Korean names for the language are based on the names for Korea used in North Korea and South Korea.

In North Korea and China, the language is most often called Chosŏn-mal, or more formally, Chosŏn-ŏ. The English word "Korean" is derived from Goryeo, which is thought to be the first Korean dynasty known to the Western nations. Korean people in the former USSR refer to themselves as Koryo-saram and/or Koryo-in (literally, "Koryo/Goryeo person(s)"), and call the language Koryo-mar.

In South Korea, the Korean language is referred to by many names including hanguk-eo ("Korean language"), hanguk-mal ("Korean speech") and uri-mal ("our language"). In "hanguk-eo" and "hanguk-mal", the first part of the word, "hanguk", refers to the Korean nation while "-eo" and "-mal" mean "language" and "speech", respectively. Korean is also simply referred to as guk-eo, literally "national language". This name is based on the same Han characters, meaning "nation" + "language" ("國語"), that are also used in Taiwan and Japan to refer to their respective national languages.

This page was last edited on 20 July 2018, at 11:47 (UTC).
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_language under CC BY-SA license.

Related Topics

Recently Viewed