Is Korean Easy to Learn and What Benefit is There of Learning the Language?
Last Updated On: June 6, 2022 by admin
The Korean language has something of an undeserved reputation of being a difficult language to learn. It’s hard to find any school for example anywhere outside of East Asia which has a Korean language option. And yet, Korean is nowhere near as difficult as might be thought and there are many advantages to learning this unique language. These unique attributes and benefits of learning Korean are explored briefly below.
Why learn Korean? Career opportunities
Korean is a unique language. It is only spoken on the Korean peninsula and half of that peninsula is effectively out of bounds to most foreigners. However, the southern half, not surprisingly called South Korea, is an economic and industrial powerhouse and there are enormous advantages if you want to work, do business or even study in South Korea. South Korea has had an almost insatiable appetite for English language teachers and teachers of many other international languages, too, so often the first introduction to Korea for many foreigners is as a language teacher. You could theoretically get by without knowing much Korean for a short time, but the benefit of learning the Korean language to communicate with Koreans is tremendous. If you do decide to stay on and develop your teaching career in Korea, then becoming fluent in Korean will be a necessity.
Korean is a useful language for business reasons
Korea, with nearly 80 million people and a sophisticated, advanced industrial economy, is an important business partner. This makes it a target for many foreign businesses and may necessitate learning some Korean if you intend to visit the country to do business. Koreans will not judge you on your ability to speak Korean well but will appreciate your attempts as much as they appreciate good manners and respect for their culture.
Korea has become a cultural icon
Many non-Koreans associate Korea with its K-Pop culture, as well as an increasing number of singers and actors on the world stage. Modern Korean movies, songs, fashion, and cosmetics are becoming as commonplace and recognizable as its cars and electronic products. There’s more to Korea and learning Korean than understanding the lyrics of a popular Korean song or the subtitles in a movie as Korea has a long and proud history which is worth exploring as a traveler once the pandemic allows risk-free international movement once again. Traveling around Korea you will notice the hospitality of the Korean people. They will be amazed to discover that you have taken the trouble to learn their language and you will certainly find that you will get the most out of your visit having learned the language.
Is Korean a difficult language to learn?
Korean has similarities with both Chinese and Japanese, but in many ways is easier to learn than either of these other two great East Asian languages. It does have a different writing system than the Latin or Cyrillic system used in Europe and many other parts of the world, it’s true, but the Hangul system, as the Korean alphabet is called, was purposely simplified to make it easy to learn for Koreans, and that helps everyone else, too!
The features of Korean that make it relatively easy to learn are that it doesn’t have as many letters in its alphabet as English. It is not tonal, like Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese (a tonal language can be a nightmare for new learners as each different tone has a different meaning, even if spelled the same). It doesn’t use genderized pronouns or adjectives like many European languages. It’s phonetic, so you pronounce Korean words the way they are written. This makes Korean easier in many ways for English speakers than it is for Koreans trying to make sense of English!