Understanding Korea materials - Hangeul: 1. Korean Language and Hangeul in East Asia

Cefia (토론 | 기여) 사용자의 2016년 12월 13일 (화) 17:01 판

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 Hangeul: 1. Korean Language and Hangeul in East Asia

1. Korean Language and Hangeul in East Asia

There are three countries in East Asia: Korea (South Korea and North Korea), China and Japan. Historically, these three neighboring countries have maintained an extremely close relationship, and that intimacy extends to the present, encompassing politics, economics and culture.

<Figure 1> Korea, China, and Japan (by Google Map)
However, each one of these three countries possesses distinctive, native language and writing systems. The official spoken languages for Korea, China and Japan are Korean, Mandarin and Japanese, respectively.1 As described in , these three languages belong to different linguistic families and genuses and use different alphabets.2 <Figure 2>, <Figure 3-1>, <Figure 3-2>, and <Figure 4> attest to this fact.
Languages and Writing Systems of Korea, China and Japan
Country Language Family/Genus Writing System
Korea Korean language Korean/Korean Hangeul
China Mandarin Sino-Tibetan/Chinese Hanzi
Japan Japanese language Japanese/Japanese Hiragana, Katakana
<Figure 2> Korean Family (by WALS online)
<Figure 3-1> Sino-Tibetan Family (by WALS online)
<Figure 3-2> Mandarin Family (by WALS online)
<Figure 4> Japanese Family (by WALS online)

Comparing language characteristics,3 Korean is similar to Japanese but considerably different from Chinese. From a morphological point of view, these languages are categorized as follows: Korean and Japanese are agglutinative languages, since most of the words are created by combining morphemes, whereas Chinese is an isolating language, in which each word is composed of a single morpheme.