Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (DPRK) - Languages





The Korean language is usually acknowledged to be a member of the Altaic family and is clearly related to other agglutinative tongues like Turkish, Mongolian, and Japanese. Linguistic unification of the Korean Peninsula apparently followed political unification in the 7th century AD , and today the dialect differences are comparatively slight.

Korean is written with a largely phonetic alphabet called Han'gul. Created in 1443 under the great King Sejong, the Korean alphabet originally consisted of 14 consonants and 10 vowels; since then, 5 consonants and 11 vowels have been added. Han'gul letters are combined into syllables by clustering, in imitation of Chinese characters. Before the invention of Han'gul, Koreans wrote in Chinese, which continued to be both the official language and the language of most literature until the beginning of the 20th century. With the beginning of the Japanese colonial administration in 1910, Japanese became the official language, and the use of Korean was restricted.

Since 1949, the DPRK has used only Han'gul (calling it Choson Muntcha) for writing. North Korean linguists have studied Han'gul extensively, publishing comprehensive dictionaries in 1963 and 1969. In 1964, Kim Il Sung called for purification of Korean by replacing borrowings from English and Japanese with native Korean or familiar Chinese terms. The traditional honorifics of polite language remain in use, though in simplified forms, and have been sanctioned by the government.

Some Chinese (Mandarin dialect) and Russian are spoken in border areas.

User Contributions:

Hyeonsuk
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Mar 10, 2009 @ 3:03 am
The sentence: Han'gul letters are combined into syllables by clustering, in imitation of Chinese characters. is not correct.

Hangeul is unique Korean alphabet. It was invented by King Sejong, the 4th King of the Joseon Dynasty in 1443 and it is still used widely. When Hangeul was promulgated, King Sejong published Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon which was designated as the Memory of the World by UNESCO in 1997. In this book, the principle of the invention of Hangeul and information on its usage were recorded in detail.

Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon says that the consonants of Hangeul patterned on vocal organs vowels of Hangeul are based on Cheonjiin. Cheonjiin refers to the three elements of philosophy which are heaven, earth and human. Due to this invention principle, Hangeul gained the international reputation of its scientific method.
CHOI
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Apr 3, 2009 @ 11:23 pm
Hunminjeongeum Manuscript published by Sejong the Great, the fourth king of Joseon Dynasty(reigned 1418-1450). This manuscript contains the reason why King Sejong invented Korean writing system, Hangeul and its development methods. According to this manuscript, Hangeul was developed in two basic principles. First, the shape of consonants imitated from the vocal organs and vowels are from Samjae, Sky, Earth and Human, which is traditional thought. Second, there are 5 basic letters in consonants and 3 basic letters in vowels. Other letters later developed and those were based on basic letters.
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Jun 11, 2011 @ 4:04 am
False statements are a little bit.
Hangul and Chinese characters and is not relevant.
When Hangul by King Sejong of the Joseon Korea was independently invented.

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