Top ten reasons to study Korean


When most people think about learning an Asian language, they want to study Mandarin or Japanese, often overlooking Korean, the language of North Korea and South Korea. It is what’s termed a ‘language isolate’ – that is to say it has no relationship with other languages. There is, however, a wing of linguists who believe it to be part of the Altaic family (which includes Japanese and Turkish). So, here are ten of best reasons why you should consider learning Korean as a second (or third..!) language:

  1. South Korea is the fastest growing economy in northern Asia and is ranked thirteenth in the world with a GDP of $1.64 trillion. Some of the world´s biggest brands are based in Korea, like Hyundai, Samsung and LG. This translates to excellent opportunities for native English speakers with knowledge of the Korean language. As the economy continues to grow, so too will the demand for these foreign workers!
  2. Knowing such an unusual language will make you more employable. Most native English speakers can´t even speak any foreign language, so stand out from the crowd by being one of few who knows Korean. Even if you´re not applying for a job that requires Korean language skills, it still shows your ability to learn new things or could even just be a talking point at an interview!
  3. Contrary to popular belief, Korean is actually the easiest of the Asian languages. Unlike Chinese it is not tonal, and the language is based on an alphabetic system, so all you have to do is learn a new alphabet of eleven characters – simple!
  4. Once you have mastered Korean, you´ll be able to learn other Asian languages far more easily than before, since many of them share common vocabulary and grammatical structures.
  5. In many ways, Korean is actually simpler than European languages. What most westerners find tricky is the new alphabet system, but after that there are no verb endings to be changed or any difficulties with masculine and feminine nouns!
  6. The number of people that speak Korean is about 73 million, most located on the Korean peninsula. But there are significant Korean populations throughout the world, namely in North America and Japan. Just think, you´d be able to speak to 73 million more people than you can right now…
  7. Knowing Korean gives access to one of the oldest civilizations in the world a whole new culture, such as the intricacies of Korea´s system of respect or its famous World Heritage Site shrines, dotted around the country. You could also learn about Korea´s most famous sport: Taekwondo.
  8. See for yourself a greatly diverse nation. According to a 2010 census, some 31.6% of the population is Christian, whilst 24.2% is Buddhist – a little known fact!
  9. Korea´s capital – Seoul – is the largest city proper in the developed world, accommodating about half of the South Korean population. A survey by the United Nations placed Seoul´s quality of life higher than London, New York or Melbourne.
  10. Finally, research suggests that studying a language reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s. What´s more, the more challenging that language is, the more the risk is reduced. So with the disease being the sixth largest killer in the US in 2012, what better way to stop it than by learning Korean!

Comments are closed.