Languages 101: Introducing Korean

An introduction to Korean: your gateway to some of the best food and pop-songs in the world, and one of Chatterbox's signature languages.

What: Linguistically, Korean is unrelated to Chinese and is similar to, but distinct from Japanese. It’s written form is created using the Hangul alphabet, which came to fruition during the Joseon Dynasty in 1443 by King Sejong the Great. In the last 70 years since the Korean war, the vocabulary and pronunciation of some words in the North and South have evolved separately.

Where: North Korea, South Korea, and it’s an official language in two Chinese provinces – Yanbian and Changbai.

Who: Approximately 80 million people worldwide speak Korean, making it the 13th most popular language in the world.

How to say hello in Korean: Annyeong! 안녕

What to watch: 2014’s The Admiral: Roaring Currents, also known as 명량 or Myeongryan, is a 14th century naval war film. It’s easily the best performing Korean film of all time (and snatched the title of the top-grossing film in South Korea from Avatar).

Did you know? Korean food favourites, kimchi 김치, bibimbap 비빔밥, and bulgogi 불고기 have all made it into the Merriam Webster and Oxford English dictionaries! Delicious.

Bibimbap means "mixed rice". Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul and gochujang, soy sauce, or doenjang.

Bibimbap means "mixed rice". Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul and gochujang, soy sauce, or doenjang.

Want to learn Korean? Get started with learning the Hangul, the Korean alphabet. It’s made up of 19 consonant and 21 vowel letters that are conjoined to form syllables. From there, it’s time to memorise some simple vocabulary and learn to count.

Once you have a good collection of words and phrases under your belt, you can focus on pronunciation. It’s been proven that conversing with a native speaker is one of the fastest routes to achieving fluency, and that’s where our Chatterbox conversation practice sessions will help! Speaking one-to-one will help develop your confidence, language skills, and cultural understanding.