Korean language facts for kids
|Native to||South Korea
Japan (Koreans in Japan)
|Native speakers||76 million (2007)|
|Writing system||Hangul (primary)
Hanja (mixed script)
|Official language in|| South Korea
In South Korea, it is called han'gukmal or han'gugeo. In North Korea, however, it is called chosŏnmal or chosŏnŏ. They are named differently because the common names for North and South Korea are different. In additional, Koreans usually call their language, "our language" or "our country's language".
The Korean language uses two different writing systems. The first is Hangul, the main alphabet. In North Korea, only Hangeul (Known as Chosǒngǔl in North Korea) is used by law. In South Korea, only Hangeul should be used in most public areas like education, but the second system, Hanja, is still used in some newspapers and professional areas.
Hanja is the system of Chinese characters that are used in Korean. Hanja was the only way to write Korean before the creation of Hangeul in the 15th century, and it was common in novels before the 19th century.
Despite the fact that King Sejong the Great led the development of Hangeul in order to allow literacy to spread among common people and to create a writing system that more accurately represented the Korean language than Hanja, it was not adopted by the upper classes of Koreans, and therefore Hanja would continue to be the official writing system util the late 19th century.
Despite it being rejected by the elite classes, Hangeul was used often by lower classes as a way to write down Korean literature and for lower classes to communicate with each other.
Images for kids
The Latin alphabet used for auxiliar purposes in South Korea
Korean language Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.