What motivates people to learn Korean?
Korean, Hangugeo in South Korean; and Chosŏnmal in North Korean, written in Hanguel, is an East Asian language (Altaic/Koreanic language family) spoken by about 82 million people.
Modern Korean, the language we now know, is an honorific language that evolved around the 15th century, in order from Middle Korean, Old Korean, and finally the Original – Proto-Koreanic language, that believed to have its linguistic homeland somewhere in Manchuria. The study suggests that the proto-Koreans, already present in northern Korea, expanded into the southern part of the Korean Peninsula at around 300 BC and coexisted or merged with the descendants of the homogeneous Japonic Mumun cultivators (or assimilated them); both had an influence on each other and a later founder effect diminished the internal variety of both language families leading to the evolution of a single language during the unification of the sixth to the fourteenth century. Due to the ambiguity of the relationship between Korean and other languages, it is believed to be a member of the Altaic family or language isolate. Together with Korean and the Jeju language (spoken in the Jeju Province and considered somewhat distinct) form the Koreanic language family. Grammatically Korean is very similar to Japanese and about 70% of its vocabulary comes from Chinese. It is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each country, also recognised as a minority language in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin Province, China. It is also spoken in parts of Sakhalin, Russia and Central Asia.
Besides the Korean peninsula, there are many native Korean speakers living abroad. The regions with the biggest Korean populations are in the United States, China, Japan, Canada, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Russia, Australia, and Kazakhstan, of whom 51.6 million live in South Korea, 25.6 million in North Korea, more than 2.7 million in China, approximately 2 million in the United States, and about 800,000 in Japan.
Let’s now see what are the common motivators that motivate people to learn the Korean language
Korean is much easier to learn than the other South Asian languages.
The Korean language can be considered as the easiest language to learn for English speakers, in comparison with another Asian language, even though it is similar to Chinese and Korean in many ways such as politeness rules, structure and vocabulary etcetera. It has a significantly easier writing system Hangeul that can be mastered in a few hours with dedicated learning and practise.
Learning a second language
There are many benefits attached to learning a second, third or fourth foreign language such as, Improving your attention span, memory, hearing, creativity & your ability to multitask, improve your cognitive abilities and understand your mother tongue better, increase the volume and density of grey matter in your brain & your perceptual sensitivity, make better decisions, Increase your self-confidence and happiness, delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s, faster stroke recovery, delay the ageing process, perform better in mathematics, pave way for your academic growth, secure an edge over others when trying to learn any next Asian language and keep your brain active. All of these benefits are awarded in Korean as with any other language. Besides the Korean language shares a lot of similarities with Japanese grammar and Chinese writing. And not to miss you can impress your relatives, friends and earn brownie points with their Korean better half.
Experience a better Travel escapade
While travel is restricted in North Korea, is quite restricted in terms of traveling, travellers can treat themselves to scenic beauty of South Korea. South Korea undoubtedly is a very vibrant tourist destination full of beautiful historical and artistic sites of interest. This country is a common tourist destination, full of interesting historical and artistic places that may interest many. Generally, most people in South Korea can talk English, but if you are a wanderlust in search of places not on the tourist map or you wish to experience the lesser travelled destinations or speak with random people for travel needs or directions, you would need to know Korean. It would not only be helpful but you would be received with warmth and appreciation. Another advantage a Korean learner-speaker gains is to learn to order food in Korean!
You would never have to translate or hunt for subtitles when watching, KDrama or KPop songs
Knowing an original language is so much of a relief trust me! I have spent hours looking for several KDramas and KMovies that do not have a sub even after 3-5 years! Korean music can be one more reason for you to be interested in studying Korean. While the internet is flooded with translations, trying to figure out the meaning of each word is a serious dampener. So if you are a true fan of K-pop, it is definitely important to understand the original language in order to enjoy it fully.
Learning Korean opens the door for multiple Business and Career opportunities
Unlike English and other European languages, there is a lack of reliable Korean translation tools and software online. So when the demand for Korean specialists is staggering high, and the competition is relatively low due to the complexity of the language, the scope automatically becomes immense. Learners can pursue career streams such as translation in a specialised domain (law, science, medicine, education) or work as an interpreter, with at least two spoken languages. Learners can also explore job possibilities in the Travel & Tourism sector for language experts, tour guides or start their own travel agency or tour operator. Further Korean learners can opt for proofreading jobs, working in conjunction with a translator, work as a freelance Korean language editor, get accepted as Flight attendants on long-haul international flights, seize the chance to work in hospitality positions available at Casinos, resorts or at top-ranked, star hotels from the receptionist to manager, depending on your qualifications and prior experience. Korean language learners can also opt to work at consulates and embassies as administrative staff. If Korean is an add on to an existing, competitive, appropriate qualification you could apply for a Consul, Ambassador or Diplomat positions.
Korean learners with stellar C1/C2 performance can opt to become a Korean teacher in schools, colleges and universities or become a corporate trainer in their country of residence or choose to be an ESL teacher, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in any Korean -speaking country with great translation and proficiency skills. Other than these there are opportunities available in a specialised KPO, BPO as a chat, voice or email support, or to extend support as a voice-over artist to dubbing movies, for commercials and cartoons, and to be an RJ or a KPop singer! Learners of the Korean language could also look at picking up roles such as being a content writer, curriculum designer, instructional coordinators, subject matter expert, a researcher in a variety of domains like social policy, economics, military, technology, culture and export and import houses!
South Korea economy is currently 13th largest in the world, so there is a high chance that the company you are employed with wishes to expand to this large market of buyers. This is especially beneficial if you work with a Korean company and/or have Korean clients. Korean language will enable you to communicate with clients or business partners more effectively, which in turn can help to clinch better deals. Learning Korean can give you a large advantage when seeking for a job in global Korean companies such as Hyundai, Samsung, LG and others.
There’s an amazing new way to learn Korean! Want to see what everyone’s talking about!