Korea, Republic of (ROK) - Languages

The Korean language is usually held to be a member of the Altaic family; there are only slight differences between the various dialects. Korean is written in a largely phonetic alphabet called Han'gul , created in 1443. 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. ROK governments have launched several "language beautification" drives designed to purge Korean of borrowings from Japanese and other languages, but more than half of the vocabulary consists of words derived from Chinese.

English is widely taught in junior high and high school.

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