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Korean language

Nativename ,  
Hangugeo, Chosŏnmal
ImagecaptionHangugeo, Chosŏnmal (Korean) written in Hangul, Chosŏn'gŭl
StatesSouth Korea, North Korea, People's Republic of China, Japan
Speakers78 million (1999 est.)
FamilyDebated (see the classification)
ScriptExclusive use of Hangul (Both Koreas), mix of Hangul and hanja (some professional scripts in S. Korea), or Cyrillic alphabet (lesser used in Goryeomal)
NationNorth Korea
South Korea
PRC Yanbian, People's Republic of China
AgencySouth Korea:
The National Institute of the Korean Language
  North Korea:
Sahoe Kwahagwon Ŏhak Yŏnguso
MapcaptionCountries with native Korean-speaking populations

     Home | Language | Korean language

Korean ( , see below) is the official language of Korea, both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing system was commissioned by Sejong the Great, the system being currently called Hangul. Prior to the development of Hangul, Koreans had used Hanja and phonetic systems like Hyangchal, Gugyeol and Idu extensively for over a millennium.

The genealogical classification of the Korean language is debated by a number of historical linguists. Most classify it as a language isolate while a few consider it to be in the Altaic language family. The Korean language is agglutinative in its morphology and SOV in its syntax.

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