Korean language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is mainly about the spoken Korean language. See Hangul for details on the native Korean writing system.

한국어, 조선말
Hangugeo, Chosŏnmal

Spoken in: South Korea, North Korea, People's Republic of China
Total speakers: 78 million[1] 
Ranking: 17
Language family: language isolate or Altaic (controversial) 
Writing system: Exclusive use of Hangul (Both Korea), mix of Hangul and hanja (some professional scripts in S. Korea), or Cyrillic alphabet (lesser used in Goryeomal
Official status
Official language in:  North Korea
 South Korea
Yanbian ( People's Republic of China)
 United States (minority and auxiliary)
Regulated by: South Korea:
The National Institute of the Korean Language

North Korea:
Sahoe Kwahagwon Ŏhak Yŏnguso
사회과학원 어학연구소

Language codes
ISO 639-1: ko
ISO 639-2: kor
ISO 639-3: kor

Korean (한국어/조선말, see below) is the official language of North Korea and South Korea. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers. It was formerly written using Hanja, borrowed Chinese characters pronounced in the Korean way. In the 15th century a national writing system was developed by Sejong the Great, currently called Hangul.

The genealogical classification of the Korean language is debated. Some linguists place it in the Altaic language family, while others consider it to be a language isolate. It is agglutinative in its morphology and SOV in its syntax.


[edit] Names

The map showing usage of Korean language in the world

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

In South Korea, the language is most often called Hangungmal (한국말; 韓國말), or more formally, Hangugeo (한국어; 韓國語) or Gugeo (국어; 國語; literally "national language").

In North Korea and Yanbian in China, the language is most often called Chosŏnmal (조선말; with hanja: 朝鮮말), or more formally, Chosŏnŏ (조선어; 朝鮮語).

On the other hand, Korean people in the former USSR, who refer to themselves as Koryo-saram (also Goryeoin [고려인; 高麗人; literally, "Goryeo person(s)"]) call the language Goryeomal (고려말; 高麗말).

In mainland China, following the establishment of diplomatic relations with South Korea in 1992, the term Cháoxiǎnyǔ (朝鲜语 or short form: Cháoyǔ (朝语)) has normally been used to refer to the language spoken in North Korea and Yanbian, while Hánguóyǔ (韩国语 or short form: Hányǔ (韩语)) is used to refer to the language spoken in South Korea.

Some older English sources also used the name "Korean" to refer to the language, country, and people.

[edit] History

Korean is descended from Old Korean and Middle Korean.

[edit] Classification

The classification of the modern Korean language is uncertain, and due to the lack of any one generally accepted theory, it is sometimes described conservatively as a language isolate.

On the other hand, since the publication of the article of Ramstedt in 1926, many linguists support the hypothesis that Korean can be classified as an Altaic language or as a relative of proto-Altaic. Korean is similar to Altaic languages in that they both lack certain grammatical elements, including number, gender, articles, fusional morphology, voice, and relative pronouns (Kim Namkil). Korean especially bears some morphological resemblance to some languages of the Northern Turkic group, namely Sakha (Yakut). Vinokurova, a scholar of the Sakha language, noted that like in Korean, and unlike in other Turkic languages or a variety of other languages surveyed, adverbs in Sakha are derived from verbs with the help of derivational morphology; however, she did not suggest this implied any relation between the two languages.[2]

It is also considered likely that Korean is related in some way to Japanese, since the two languages have nearly identical grammatical structures, and share a number of possible phonological cognates (though a majority of them are likely due to local pronunciations of the Chinese characters from which they are derived), as noted by such researchers as Samuel E. Martin and Roy Andrew Miller in the late 1960s. Sergei Starostin (1991) found about 25% of potential cognates in the Japanese-Korean 100-word Swadesh list, which places these two languages closer together than other possible members of the Altaic family.[3]

Genetic relationships have been postulated both directly and indirectly, the latter either through placing both languages in the Altaic family, or by arguing for a relationship between Japanese and the Buyeo languages of Goguryeo and Baekje (see below); the proposed Baekje relationship is supported by cognates such as Baekje mir, Japanese mi- "three".[4]

The possible relationship between Korean and Japanese can be exemplified by such basic vocabularly items.

Comparison with Japanese
Japanese meaning of the Japanese word Korean meaning of the Korean word
mizu (Old J. midu) water mul (Middle K. mirh)
k-uru to come ka-da to go
kata-i hard kud-yn hard
i-ru to be i-da to be
na-i not anh not
minna all, everyone manh- many

[5]. The same possible cognates are often observed in other members of the potential Altaic family, esp. in the Tungusic languages. Cf. Nanay mue "water", giagda- "to walk", anaa, anna "not".

Others argue, however, that the similarities are not due to any genetic relationship, but rather to a sprachbund effect.[citation needed] See East Asian languages for morphological features shared among languages of the East Asian sprachbund, and Classification of Japanese for further details on the possible relationship. However, it is very difficult to argue that similarities in such key terms like "water" and the verbs "to be" "to go" would arise from sprachbund effects.

It is presumed that modern Korean may be more closely related to the languages of Samhan and Silla than the Buyeo languages; many Korean scholars believe they were mutually intelligible, and the collective basis of what in the Goryeo period would merge to become Middle Korean (the language before the changes that the Seven-Year War brought) and eventually Modern Korean. The Jeju dialect preserves some archaic features that can also be found in Middle Korean, whose arae a is retained in the dialect as a distinct vowel.

There are also more marginal hypotheses proposing various other relationships; for example, a few scholars, such as Homer B. Hulbert (1905), have tried to relate Korean to the Dravidian languages through the similar syntax in both.[6]

Though not related to Chinese, it has borrowed heavily, using thousands of Chinese characters; see the Vocabulary section below.

[edit] Dialects

Dialects of Korean

Korean has several dialects (called mal [literally "speech"], saturi, or bang-eon in Korean). The standard language (pyojuneo or pyojunmal) of South Korea is based on the dialect of the area around Seoul, and the standard for North Korea is based on the dialect spoken around P'yŏngyang. All dialects of Korean are similar to each other, and are in fact all mutually intelligible, perhaps with the exception of the dialect of Jeju Island (see Jeju dialect). The dialect spoken in Jeju is in fact classified as a different language by some Korean linguists. One of the most notable differences between dialects is the use of stress: speakers of Seoul dialect use very little stress, and standard South Korean has a very flat intonation; on the other hand, speakers of the Gyeongsang dialect have a very pronounced intonation.

It is also worth noting that there is substantial evidence for a history of extensive dialect levelling, or even convergent evolution or intermixture of two or more originally distinct linguistic stocks, within the Korean language and its dialects. Many Korean dialects have basic vocabulary that is etymologically distinct from vocabulary of identical meaning in Standard Korean or other dialects, such as South Jeolla dialect /kur/ vs. Standard Korean /ip/ "mouth" or Gyeongsang dialect /ʨʌŋ.ɡu.ʥi/ vs. Standard Korean /puːʨʰu/ "garlic chives." This suggests that the Korean Peninsula may have at one time been much more linguistically diverse than it is at present. See also the Buyeo languages hypothesis.

There is a very close connection between the dialects of Korean and the regions of Korea, since the boundaries of both are largely determined by mountains and seas. Here is a list of traditional dialect names and locations:

Standard dialect Where used
Seoul Seoul (서울), Incheon (인천/仁川), most of Gyeonggi (경기/京畿)
P'yŏngan (평안/平壤) P'yŏngyang, P'yŏngan region, Chagang (North Korea)
Regional dialect Where used
Gyeonggi limited areas of the Gyeonggi region (South Korea)
Chungcheong Daejeon, Chungcheong region (South Korea)
Gangwon Gangwon-do (South Korea)/Kangwŏn (North Korea)
Gyeongsang Busan, Daegu, Ulsan, Gyeongsang region (South Korea)
Hamgyŏng Rasŏn, Hamgyŏng region, Ryanggang (North Korea)
Hwanghae Hwanghae region (North Korea)
Jeju Jeju Island/Province (South Korea)
Jeolla Gwangju, Jeolla region (South Korea)

[edit] Phonology

This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

[edit] Consonants

The Korean consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Post-
Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ŋ/ (syllable-final)
plain /p/ /t/ /ʨ/ /k/
tense /p͈/ /t͈/ /ʨ͈/ /k͈/
aspirated /pʰ/ /tʰ/ /ʨʰ/ /kʰ/
Fricative plain /s/ /h/
tense /s͈/
Liquid /l/

The IPA symbol <◌͈> (a subscript double straight quotation mark, shown here with a placeholder circle) is used to denote the tensed consonants /p͈/, /t͈/, /k͈/, /ʨ͈/, /s͈/. Its official use in the Extensions to the IPA is for 'strong' articulation, but is used in the literature for faucalized voice. The Korean consonants also have elements of stiff voice, but it is not yet known how typical this is of faucalized consonants. They are produced with a partially constricted glottis and additional subglottal pressure in addition to tense vocal tract walls, laryngeal lowering, or other expansion of the larynx.

[edit] Vowels

The short vowel phonemes of Korean The long vowel phonemes of Korean
The Korean basic vowels
Monophthongs /i/ , /e/ , /ɛ/ , /a/ , /o/ , /u/ , /ʌ/ , /ɯ/ , /ø/
Vowels preceded by intermediaries,
or Diphthongs
/je/ , /jɛ/ , /ja/ , /wi/ , /we/ , /wɛ/ , /wa/ , /ɰi/ , /jo/ , /ju/ , /jʌ/ , /wʌ/

[edit] Allophones

/s/ becomes an alveolo-palatal [ɕ] before [j] or [i] for most speakers (but see Differences in the language between North Korea and South Korea). This occurs with the tense fricative and all the affricates as well. At the end of a syllable, /s/ changes to /t/ (Example: beoseot (버섯) 'mushroom').

/h/ may become a bilabial [ɸ] before [o] or [u], a palatal [ç] before [j] or [i], a velar [x] before [ɯ], a voiced [ɦ] between voiced sounds, and a [h] elsewhere.[citation needed]

/p, t, ʨ, k/ become voiced [b, d, ʥ, ɡ] between voiced sounds.

/l/ becomes alveolar flap [ɾ] between vowels, and [l] or [ɭ] at the end of a syllable or next to another /l/. Note that a written syllable-final 'ㄹ', when followed by a vowel or a glide (i.e., when the next character starts with 'ㅇ'), migrates to the next syllable and thus becomes [ɾ].

Traditionally, /l/ was disallowed at the beginning of a word. It disappeared before [j], and otherwise became /n/. However, the inflow of western loanword changed the trend, and now word-initial /l/ (mostly from English loanwords) are pronounced as a free variation of either [ɾ] or [l]. The traditional prohibition of word-initial /l/ became a morphological rule called "initial law" (두음법칙) in South Korea, which pertains to Sino-Korean vocabulary. Such words retain their word-initial /l/ in North Korea.

All obstruents (plosives, affricates, fricatives) are unreleased [p̚, t̚, k̚] at the end of a word.

Plosive stops /p, t, k/ become nasal stops [m, n, ŋ] before nasal stops.

Hangul spelling does not reflect these assimilatory pronunciation rules, but rather maintains the underlying, partly historical morphology. Given this, it is sometimes hard to tell which actual phonemes are present in a certain word.

One difference between the pronunciation standards of North and South Korea is the treatment of initial [r], and initial [n]. For example,

  • "labour" - north: rodong (로동), south: nodong (노동)
  • "history" - north: ryŏksa (력사), south: yeoksa (역사)
  • "female" - north: nyŏja (녀자), south: yeoja (여자)

[edit] Morphophonemics

Grammatical morphemes may change shape depending on the preceding sounds. Examples include -eun/-neun (-은/-는) and -i/-ga (-이/-가). Sometimes sounds may be inserted instead. Examples include -eul/-reul (-을/-를), -euro/-ro (-으로/-로), -eseo/-seo (-에서/-서), -ideunji/-deunji (-이든지/-든지) and -iya/-ya (-이야/-야). However, -euro/-ro is somewhat irregular, since it will behave differently after a rieul consonant.

Korean particles
After a consonant After a rieul After a vowel
-ui (-의)
-eun (-은) -neun (-는)
-i (-이) -ga (-가)
-eul (-을) -reul (-를)
-gwa (-과) -wa (-와)
-euro (-으로) -ro (-로)

Some verbs may also change shape morphophonemically.

[edit] Grammar

[edit] Sentence structure

Korean is an agglutinative language. Modifiers generally precede the modified words, and in the case of verb modifiers, can be serially appended. The basic form of a Korean sentence is Subject Object Verb, but the verb is the only required and immovable element.

A:   가게-에   갔어-요? (가았어요?)
kage-e kasseo-yo
store + [location marker (에)] [go (verb root) (가)]+[conjunctive (아)]+[past (ㅆ)]+[conjunctive (어)]+ [polite marker (요)]
"Did [you] go to the store?" (with "you" implied by context)
B:   예.

[edit] Parts of speech

[edit] Verb

Korean verbs (동사, tongsa, 動詞) are also known in English as "action verbs" or "dynamic verbs" to distinguish them from [형용사(形容詞), hyeong-yongsa, "adjectives"]), which are also known as "descriptive verbs" or "stative verbs". Examples of action/dynamic verbs include 하다 (hada, "to do") and 가다 (kada, "to go") which constitute an action or movement as opposed to descriptive verbs such as 예쁘다 (yehppeuda, "to be beautiful"). For a larger list of Korean verbs, see wikt:Category:Korean verbs.

Unlike most of the European languages, Korean does not conjugate verbs using agreement with the subject, and nouns have no gender. Instead, verb conjugations depend upon the verb tense, aspect, mood, and the social relation between the speaker, the subjects, and the listeners. The system of speech levels and honorifics loosely resembles the T-V distinction of most Indo-European languages. For example, different endings are used based on the speaker's relation with the person they are talking to or the person about whom they are talking. Politeness is a critical part of Korean language and Korean culture, therefore, when talking to someone esteemed, the correct verb ending, which should have a lot of respect, must be chosen.

[edit] Adjective

Words categorized as Korean adjectives (형용사, hyeong-yongsa, 形容詞) conjugate similarly to verbs, so some English texts call them "descriptive verbs" or "stative verbs", but they are distinctly separate from 동사 (tongsa).

English does not have an identical grammatical category, so the English translation of Korean adjectives may misleadingly suggest that they are verbs. For example, 붉다 (pukda) translates literally as "to be red" and 아쉽다 (aswipda) often best translates as "to lack" or "to want for", but both are 형용사 (hyeong-yongsa, "adjectives"). For a larger list of Korean adjectives, see wikt:Category:Korean adjectives.

[edit] Determiner

Korean determiners (관형사, gwanhyeongsa, 冠形詞) are also known in English as "determinatives", "adnominals", "pre-nouns", "attributives", and "unconjugated adjectives". Examples include (kak, "each"). For a larger list, see wikt:Category:Korean determiners.

[edit] Noun

A large body of Korean nouns (명사, myeongsa, 名詞) stem from Chinese characters, e.g. (山, san, mountain), (驛, yeok, station), 문화 (文化, munhwa, culture), etc. Others are native to the Korean language, e.g. 나라 (nara, country), (nal, day). Many Sino-Korean words have a native Korean equivalent and vice versa, but not always. Nouns do not have grammatical gender and can be made plural by adding 들 to the end of the word, however in most instances the singular form is used even when in English it would be translated as plural. For example, while in English the sentence "there are three apples" would use the plural "apples" instead of the singular "apple", the Korean sentence 사과 세개 있습니다 (sagwa segae isssumnida) maintains the word 사과 (sagwa, "apple") in its singular form, thus rendered in English as "apple three(things) exist." For a list of Korean nouns, see wikt:Category:Korean nouns.

[edit] Pronoun

Korean pronouns (대명사, daemyeongsa, 代名詞) are highly influenced by the honorifics in the language. Pronouns change forms depending on the social status of the person or persons spoken to, e.g. the pronoun for "I" there is both the informal (na) and the honorific/humble (jeo). In general second person singular pronouns are avoided, especially when using honorific forms. For a larger list or Korean pronouns, see wikt:Category:Korean pronouns.

[edit] Adverb

Korean adverbs (부사, busa, 副詞) include (tto, "also") and 가득 (gadeuk, "fully"). For a larger list, see wikt:Category:Korean adverbs.

[edit] Particle

Korean particles (조사, josa, 助詞) are also known in English as "postpositions". Examples include (neun, topic marker) and (reul, object marker). For a larger list, see wikt:Category:Korean particles.

[edit] Interjection

Korean interjections (감탄사, gamtansa, 感歎詞) are also known in English as "exclamations". Examples include 아니 (ani, "no"). For a larger list, see wikt:Category:Korean interjections.

[edit] Number

Korean numbers or numerals (수사, susa, 數詞) consitute two regularly used sets: a native Korean set and a Sino-Korean set. The Sino-Korean system is nearly entirely based on the Chinese numerals. The distinction between the two numeral systems is very important. Everything that can be counted will use one of the two systems, but seldom both. Sino-Korean words are sometimes used to mark ordinal usage: yeol beon (열 번) means "ten times" while sip beon (십(十) 번(番)) means "number ten." The grouping of large numbers in Korean follow the Chinese tradition of myriads (10000) rather than thousands (1000) as is common in Europe and North America.

[edit] Speech levels and honorifics

The relationship between a speaker or writer and his or her subject and audience is paramount in Korean, and the grammar reflects this. The relationship between speaker/writer and subject referent is reflected in honorifics, while that between speaker/writer and audience is reflected in speech level.

[edit] Honorifics

When talking about someone superior in status, a speaker or writer usually uses special nouns or verb endings to indicate the subject's superiority. Generally, someone is superior in status if he/she is an older relative, a stranger of roughly equal or greater age, or an employer, teacher, customer, or the like. Someone is equal or inferior in status if he/she is a younger stranger, student, employee or the like. Nowadays, there are special endings which can be used on declarative, interrogative, and imperative sentences; and both honorific or normal sentences. They are made for easier and faster use of Korean.

The most commonly used honorific is -nim (pronounced "neem"). This is for people who are superior in status and authority. For example, this would be used with a name (i.e. Eunsung-nim) or with a title (i.e. Sunseng-nim), with Sunseng meaning teacher. This could also be used attached for formal language to older siblings.

These are how you address family members, and if needed, you may also attach -nim for deep respect, as the korean culture calles for a deep respect for elders. By using Hyung, you are a male addressing your older brother, and in the case of an older sister, Nuna. If you are female, older sisters are called Unni (Uhn-ni) and older brothers as Oppa (Ob-pah). If you have an older lover, you address them by these terms as well, as shown in the song Replay by Korean band, SHINee, where the boys sing "Nuna" very often because their love songs center on the fact that they are young and their girlfriends are most likely older than them. The honorific -nim is also used with parents, Abu-nim and Umu-nim, pronounced the way they are spelled.

Also, Korean last names are mentioned before the given name. Examples of this include Kim Eunsung and Lee Junsung. Pronounciations will differ as Lee is pronounced "ee" in Korean and Kim is pronouned "Geem" but in both cases, the double E is shortened to sound more like an "i".

[edit] Speech levels

There are seven verb paradigms or speech levels in Korean, and each level has its own unique set of verb endings which are used to indicate the level of formality of a situation.[citation needed] Unlike honorifics — which are used to show respect towards the referent — speech levels are used to show respect towards a speaker's or writer's audience. The names of the 7 levels are derived from the non-honorific imperative form of the verb 하다 (hada, "do") in each level, plus the suffix 체 ('che', hanja: ), which means "style."

The highest 6 levels are generally grouped together as jondaenmal (존댓말), while the lowest level (haeche, 해체) is called banmal (반말) in Korean.

[edit] Vocabulary

The core of the Korean vocabulary is made up of native Korean words. Like Japanese and Vietnamese, more than 50% of the vocabulary (up to 60% by some estimates), especially words that denote abstract ideas, are Sino-Korean words,[7] either

in a similar way European languages borrow from Latin and Greek. Korean has two number systems: one native, and one borrowed from Chinese.

To a much lesser extent, words have also occasionally been borrowed from Mongolian, Sanskrit, and other languages. Conversely, the Korean language itself has also contributed some loanwords to other languages, most notably the Tsushima dialect of Japanese.

The vast majority of loanwords other than Sino-Korean come from modern times, 90% of which are from English.[8] Many words have also been borrowed from Japanese and Western languages such as German (areubaiteu ‘part-time job’, allereugi ‘allergy’). Some Western words were borrowed indirectly via Japanese, taking a Japanese sound pattern, for example ‘dozen’ > ダース dāsu > 다스 daseu. Most indirect Western borrowings are now written according to current Hangulization rules for the respective Western language, as if borrowed directly. There are a few more complicated borrowings such as ‘German(y)’ (see Names for Germany), the first part of whose endonym [ˈd̥ɔɪ̯ʧʷ.la̠ntʰ] the Japanese approximated using the kanji 獨逸 doitsu that were then accepted into the Korean language by their Sino-Korean pronunciation:  dok +  il = Dogil. In South Korean official use, a number of other Sino-Korean country names have been replaced with phonetically oriented Hangulizations of the countries' endonyms or English names.

North Korean vocabulary shows a tendency to prefer native Korean over Sino-Korean or foreign borrowings, especially with recent political objectives aimed at eliminating foreign (mostly Chinese) influences on the Korean language in the North. By contrast, South Korean may have several Sino-Korean or foreign borrowings which tend to be absent in North Korean.

[edit] Writing system

Korean writing systems
Mixed script
Korean romanization

In ancient times, the languages of the Korean peninsula were written using Chinese characters, using hyangchal or idu. Such systems were not popular because hanja is not well suited to the Korean language. Its use is now limited.

Korean is now mainly written in Hangul, the Korean alphabet promulgated in 1446 by Sejong the Great; hanja may be mixed in to write Sino-Korean words. South Korea still teaches 1800 hanja characters in its schools, while the North abolished the use of hanja decades ago.

Below is a chart of the Korean alphabet's symbols and their canonical IPA values:

RR b,p d,t j g,k pp tt jj kk p t ch k s h ss m n ng   r,l  
IPA p t ʨ k ʨ͈ ʨʰ s h m n ŋ w r j
RR i e oe ae a o u eo eu ui ye yae ya yo yu yeo wi we wae wa wo
IPA i e ø ɛ a o u ʌ ɯ ɰi je ja jo ju wi we wa

Modern Korean is written with spaces between words, a feature not found in Chinese or Japanese. Korean punctuation marks are almost identical to Western ones. Traditionally, Korean was written in columns from top to bottom, right to left, but is now usually written in rows from left to right, top to bottom.

[edit] Differences between North Korean and South Korean

The Korean language used in the North and the South exhibits differences in pronunciation, spelling, grammar and vocabulary.[9]

[edit] Pronunciation

In North Korea, palatalization of /si/ is optional, and /ʨ/ can be pronounced as [z] in between vowels.

Words that are written the same way may be pronounced differently, such as the examples below. The pronunciations below are given in Revised Romanization, McCune-Reischauer and Hangul, the last of which represents what the Hangul would be if one writes the word as pronounced.

Word Meaning Pronunciation
North (RR/MR) North (Hangul) South (RR/MR) South (Hangul)
넓다 wide neoptta (nŏpta) 넙따 neoltta (nŏlta) 널따
읽고 to read
(continuative form)
ilkko (ilko) 일꼬 ilkko (ilko) 일꼬
압록강 Amnok River amrokgang (amrokkang) 암록깡 amnokkang (amnokkang) 암녹깡
독립 independence dongrip (tongrip) 동립 dongnip (tongnip) 동닙
관념 idea / sense / conception gwallyeom (kwallyŏm) 괄렴 gwannyeom (kwannyŏm) 관념
혁신적* innovative hyeoksinjjeok (hyŏksintchŏk) 혁씬쩍 hyeoksinjeok (hyŏksinjŏk) 혁씬적

* Similar pronunciation is used in the North whenever the hanja "的" is attached to a Sino-Korean word ending in ㄴ, ㅁ or ㅇ. (In the South, this rule only applies when it is attached to any single-character Sino-Korean word.)

[edit] Spelling

Some words are spelled differently by the North and the South, but the pronunciations are the same.

Word spelling Meaning Pronunciation (RR/MR) Remarks
North South
해빛 햇빛 sunshine haeppit (haepit) The "sai siot" ('ㅅ' used for indicating sound change) is almost never written out in the North.
벗꽃 벚꽃 cherry blossom beotkkot (pŏtkkot)
못읽다 못 읽다 cannot read monnikda (monnikta) Spacing.
한나산 한라산 Hallasan hallasan (hallasan) When a ㄴ-ㄴ combination is pronounced as ll, the original Hangul spelling is kept in the North, while the Hangul is changed in the South.
규률 규율 rules gyuyul (kyuyul) In words where the original hanja is spelt "렬" or "률" and follows a vowel, the initial ㄹ is not pronounced in the North, making the pronunciation identical with that in the South where the ㄹ is dropped in the spelling.

[edit] Spelling and pronunciation

Some words have different spellings and pronunciations in the North and the South, some of which were given in the "Phonology" section above:

Word Meaning Remarks
North spelling North pronun. South spelling South pronun.
력량 ryeongryang (ryŏngryang) 역량 yeongnyang (yŏngnyang) strength Korean words originally starting in r or n have their r or n dropped in the South Korean version if the sound following it is an i or y sound.
로동 rodong (rodong) 노동 nodong (nodong) work Korean words originally starting in r have their r changed to n in the South Korean version if the sound following it is a sound other than i or y.
원쑤 wonssu (wŏnssu) 원수 wonsu (wŏnsu) mortal enemy "Mortal enemy" and "head of state" are homophones in the South. Possibly to avoid referring to Kim Il-sung / Kim Jong-il as the enemy, the second syllable of "enemy" is written and pronounced 쑤 in the North.
라지오 rajio (rajio) 라디오 radio (radio) radio
u (u) wi (wi) on; above
안해 anhae (anhae) 아내 anae (anae) wife
꾸바 kkuba (kkuba) 쿠바 kuba (k'uba) Cuba When transcribing foreign words from languages that do not have contrasts between aspirated and unaspirated stops, North Koreans generally use tensed stops for the unaspirated ones while South Koreans use aspirated stops in both cases.
pe (p'e) pye (p'ye), pe (p'e) lungs All hanja pronounced as pye (p'ye) or pe (p'e) in the South are pronounced as pe (p'e) in the North. The spelling is also accordingly different.

In general, when transcribing place names, North Korea tends to use the pronunciation in the original language more than South Korea, which often uses the pronunciation in English. For example:

Original name North Korea transliteration English name South Korea transliteration
Spelling Pronunciation Spelling Pronunciaton
Ulaanbaatar 울란바따르 ullanbattareu (ullanbattarŭ) Ulan Bator 울란바토르 ullanbatoreu (ullanbat'orŭ)
København 쾨뻰하븐 koeppenhabeun (k'oeppenhabŭn) Copenhagen 코펜하겐 kopenhagen (k'op'enhagen)
al-Qāhirah 까히라 kkahira (kkahira) Cairo 카이로 kairo (k'airo)

[edit] Grammar

Some grammatical constructions are also different:

Word Meaning Remarks
North spelling North pronun. South spelling South pronun.
되였다 doeyeotda (toeyŏtta) 되었다 doeeotda (toeŏtta) past tense of 되다 (doeda/toeda), "to become" All similar grammar forms of verbs or adjectives that end in ㅣ in the stem (i.e. ㅣ, ㅐ, ㅔ, ㅚ, ㅟ and ㅢ) in the North use 여 instead of the South's 어.
고마와요 gomawayo (komawayo) 고마워요 gomawoyo (komawŏyo) thanks ㅂ-irregular verbs in the North use 와 (wa) for all those with a positive ending vowel; this only happens in the South if the verb stem has only one syllable.
할가요 halgayo (halkayo) 할까요 halkkayo (halkkayo) Shall we do? Although the Hangul differ, the pronunciations are the same (i.e. with the tensed ㄲ sound).

[edit] Vocabulary

Some vocabulary is different between the North and the South:

Word Meaning Remarks
North spelling North pronun. South spelling South pronun.
문화주택 munhwajutaek (munhwajut'aek) 아파트 apateu (ap'at'ŭ) Apartment 아빠트 (appateu/appat'ŭ) is also used in the North.
조선말 joseonmal (chosŏnmal) 한국어 han-gugeo(han'gugeo) Korean language
곽밥 gwakbap (kwakpap) 도시락 dosirak (tosirak) lunch box

[edit] Others

In the North, guillemets and are the symbols used for quotes; in the South, quotation marks equivalent to the English ones, “ and ”, are standard, although 『 』 and 「 」 are sometimes used in popular novels.

[edit] Study by non-native speakers

The United States' Defense Language Institute classifies Korean alongside Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese as a Category IV language, meaning that 63 weeks of instruction (as compared to just 25 weeks for French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian) are required to bring an English-speaking student to a limited working level of proficiency in which he or she has "sufficient capability to meet routine social demands and limited job requirements" and "can deal with concrete topics in past, present, and future tense."[10] As a result, the study of the Korean language in the United States is dominated by Korean American heritage language students; they are estimated to form over 80% of all students of the language at non-military universities.[11]

However, Korean is considerably easier for speakers of certain other languages, such as Japanese, Mongolian and Turkic languages; in Japan, it is more widely studied by non-heritage learners.[12] The Korean Language Proficiency Test, an examination aimed at assessing non-native speakers' competence in Korean, was instituted in 1997; 17,000 people applied for the 2005 sitting of the examination.[13]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Korean". Ethnologue, 14th ed.. http://www.ethnologue.com/14/show_iso639.asp?code=kor. Retrieved on 2008-09-25. 
  2. ^ Vinokurova, Nadya (1999-04-08) (Microsoft Word). The Typology of Adverbial Agreement. http://mercury.hau.ac.kr/kggc/Monthly/ReadingMaterial/Typology.doc. Retrieved on 2007-01-15. 
  3. ^ Sergei Starostin. Altaiskaya problema i proishozhdeniye yaponskogo yazika (The Altaic Problem and the Origins of the Japanese Language). http://www.alib.ru/findp.php4?author=%D1%F2%E0%F0%EE%F1%F2%E8%ED&title=%C0%EB%F2%E0%E9%F1%EA%E0%FF+%EF%F0%EE%E1%EB%E5%EC%E0+%E8+%EF%F0%EE%E8%F1%F5%EE%E6%E4%E5%ED%E8%E5+%FF%EF%EE%ED%F1%EA%EE%E3%EE+%FF%E7%FB%EA%E0+. 
  4. ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2004). Koguryo, The Language Of Japan's Continental Relatives: the language of Japan's continental. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9004139494. 
  5. ^ Roy Andrew Miller. Old Japanese Phonology and the Korean-Japanese Relationship. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0097-8507(196703)43%3A1%3C278%3AOJPATK%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y. 
  6. ^ Hulbert, Homer (1900). "Korea's Geographical Significance". Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 32 (4): 322–327. doi:10.2307/197061. 
  7. ^ Sohn, Ho-Min. The Korean Language (Section 1.5.3 "Korean vocabulary", p.12-13), Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0521369436
  8. ^ Sohn, Ho-Min. The Korean Language (Section 1.5.3 "Korean vocabulary", p.12-13), Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0521369436
  9. ^ Kanno, Hiroomi (ed.) / Society for Korean Linguistics in Japan (1987). Chōsengo o manabō (『朝鮮語を学ぼう』), Sanshūsha, Tokyo. ISBN 4-384-01506-2
  10. ^ Raugh, Harold E.. "The Origins of the Transformation of the Defense Language Program". Applied Language Learning 16 (2): 1–12. http://www.dliflc.edu/academics/academic_materials/all/ALLissues/all16two.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-01-09. 
  11. ^ Lee, Saekyun H.; HyunJoo Han. "Issues of Validity of SAT Subject Test Korea with Listening". Applied Language Learning 17 (1): 33–56. http://www.dliflc.edu/academics/academic_materials/all/ALLissues/ALL17.pdf. 
  12. ^ Fujita-Round, Sachiyo; John C. Maher (2007). "Language Education Policy in Japan". United States: Springer. pp. 393–404. ISBN 978-0-387-32875-1. 
  13. ^ "Korea Marks 558th Hangul Day". The Chosun Ilbo. 2004-10-10. http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200410/200410100002.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-09. 

[edit] Bibliography

  • Chang, Suk-jin (1996). Korean. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 1556197284.  (Volume 4 of the London Oriental and African Language Library).
  • Hulbert, Homer B. (1905). A Comparative Grammar of the Korean Language and the Dravidian Dialects in India. Seoul.
  • Sohn, H.-M. (1999). The Korean Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Song, J.J. (2005). The Korean Language: Structure, Use and Context. London: Routledge.

[edit] External links

Korean language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Personal tools