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The Origin of The Korean Language

Updated on January 17, 2022
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Nyamweya is a global researcher with many years of experience on practical research on a diversity of topics

Korean is the authorized language that is common in both the North and the Southern Korea. It is also among the official languages in China’s Yanbian Korean self-ruling region. The language is spoken by more than 80 million people globally. For many years, Koreans have used Chinese characters in their writings, which are identified as the Hanja and these are complimented by the phonetic systems such as the idu, the guareol and the hyangchal. In historical sense, Korean has been linguistically classified as the language isolate, which is a conception that Korean belongs to the family of Altaic. In its morphology, the language is agglutinative while its syntax has SOV. The language emanates from the Old, Middle and Proto Korean. From the time of the Korean War, there have been inherent language differences between the South and North Koreans, which have developed to become the standard Korea. These include in areas of vocabulary use, pronunciation, and verb inflection.

In essence, the Korean uses language names which are based on Korean names that are utilized in South and North Korea. In South Korea, the language is mostly identified as the Hangungmal and consists of the mal, which means speech, and Hanguk a name used in South Korea to mean Korea. In Northern region of Korea, and the Yanbian Korea, the language is mostly referred as the Chisonmal or Chosono, which is its formal name.

To a large extent the Korean vocabularies originate from the indigenous Korean words. An outstanding fraction of the vocabulary, especially words that signify non-figurative concepts are both coined in Korea or Japan by utilizing Chinese characters or rented directly from the written Chinese. The actual proportion of the Korean-Sino Vocabulary has been a matter of concern for many scholars. For instance, Sohn (2006) claimed this to be 60%. However, another study undertaken by the same author went on to find that the estimate was even higher at 65%. Jaeld-do, one of the scholars who helped in compiling the dictionary Urimal Keun Sajeon argued that the proportion of the Korean and Sino vocabulary was not so high. According to this author, the Korean dictionaries that had been compiled during the colonial period consisted of many Sino-Korean words that had not been used. He estimated the proportion of the native Korean vocabulary in the Korean Language to be 70%.


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