Korean language

Template:Infobox language

The Korean language (Korean), is spoken mainly in North and South Korea. It is spoken by more than 78 million people (most of whom are North or South Koreans).

In South Korea, it is called hangukmal (한국말) or hangugeo (Hangeul: 한국어, Hanja: 韓國語). In North Korea, however, it is called choseonmal (조선말) or choseoneo (조선어, 朝鮮語). They are named differently because the common names for North and South Korea are different. In additional, Koreans usually call their language urimal (Hangeul: 우리말) or urinara mal (Hangeul: 우리나라 말) meaning "our language" or "our country's language".


The Korean language uses two different writing systems. The first is Hangul, the main alphabet. In North Korea, only Hangeul (Known as Choseongeul in North Korea) is used by law. In South Korea, only Hangeul should be used in most public areas like education, but the second system, Hanja, is still used in some newspapers and professional areas. Hanja is the system of Chinese characters that are used in Korean. Hanja was the only way to write Korean before the creation of Hangeul in the 15th century, and it was common in novels before the 19th century. Despite the fact that King Sejong the Great led the development of Hangeul in order to allow literacy to spread among common people and to create a writing system that more accurately represented the Korean language than Hanja, it was not adopted by the upper classes of Koreans, and therefore Hanja would continue to be the official writing system util the late 19th century. Despite it being rejected by the elite classes, Hangeul was used often by lower classes as a way to write down Korean literature and for lower classes to communicate with each other.