Korean is the official language of South Korea and North Korea, and about 78 million people speak Korean worldwide. For over a millennium, Korean was written with adapted Chinese characters called hanja and complemented by different phonetic systems. A national writing system called hangul was commissioned in the 15th centry, but it only came into widespread use recently in the 20th century.
Korean Fun Facts
Seoul, the capital of South Korea, just means “the capital” in Korean.
Like it spicy? Kimchi is the most popular banchan, or side dish, in Korean cuisine. There are hundreds of varieties, but essentially it is pickled and fermented vegetables (most often cabbage), with a mix of spices.
Korean sometimes prefers the word “our” to “my.” To Koreans, saying my country, my mother and my husband/wife can sound too self-centered. It sounds better to say our country, our mother and, strangely to non-Korean ears, our husband/wife.
Korean and the Livemocha Community
- Koreans are learning English on Livemocha more than any other language, though large numbers of Koreans are also learning Japanese and Spanish
- Most Korean speakers on Livemocha are Korean but there are also large populations of Korean speakers from the US, China, Canada, and Australia
- Almost 2x more Chinese Livemocha members are learning Korean than people from any other country, though people from the US and the Philippines are also learning Korean in large numbers.