Why Learning Korean as a Second Language

By OptiLingo

Korean may not be your immediate second language of choice, but it’s definitely worth exploring the benefits of learning. While it may not be the most popular or widely studied language in the world, there are a number of fantastic reasons to embrace Korean.

Korea is one of today’s world power players, as well as pop culture influencers. From Samsung to K-Pop, there are plenty of fun reasons why to learn Korean language.

With more and more people traveling and relocating to Korea, the Korean language is becoming more in-demand. And contrary to what you may think, it’s nowhere as difficult as many would warn.

 

Here are 6 reasons to consider learning Korean as a second language (though of course there are many, many more!)

 

1. A History To Back It Up

The Korean language is considered to have the most logical system of writing in the world, which is certainly a good starter basis for why should learn Korean. The alphabet, Hagul, was not slow to evolve like other alphabet systems, and was purposely crafted in its entirety with accessibility in mind. King Sejong, who ruled during the Joseon dynasty, is to thank for the current system; before it was introduced, Chinese characters were substituted for Korean.

Hagul has 24 letters (2 less than English), and are all spelled phonetically. Languages with words that are spelled phonetically are much easier to grasp, and the Hagul alphabet is no more difficult to learn than our own. For example, ㄴ, pronounced “ni-eun”, resembles the English letter N, and looks exactly the way your tongue would look forming the sound. For these reasons why to learn Korean is already much easier than you probably thought!

 

2. 70 Million And Counting

There are more than 70 million Korean speakers worldwide, which is reason enough why to learn Korean. What’s more, native Koreans are known for their patient and welcoming attitudes towards those who are new to the language. If you make an honest effort to converse, most Korean speakers will be more than enthusiastic about engaging. Most people, no matter the country, understand that learning a new language can be stressful, and Koreans are known for being particularly patient.

While Koreans are known for their hospitality, Korean has also incorporated certain English words and phrases into the language, in what is now referred to as “Konglish,” a hybrid between English and Korean. For example, when a Korean says 디카 (“dika”), that’s actually the shortened English word for “digital camera.” Another example is 셀카 (“selka”) which means–yep!–selfie. Remembering how Koreans truly make an effort to adapt to the culture of other languages is yet another reason why to learn Korean language.

It’s worth noting that the Korean system of addressing others, called “honorifics,” refers to how you address someone according to their sex, age, and social status. While a more formal language is reserved for one’s elders and bosses, a more informal language is spoken among friends and family. Make sure you remember to address any Korean elders or superiors the proper way, as it’s seen as bad manners to use the inappropriate informal!

 

3. Korea Should Definitely Be On Your Dream Destination List

If nothing else, when answering someone’s question as to “why I want to learn Korean”, just draw up one of many breathtaking Korean travelogues featuring stunning vistas and coastlines. Korea’s Jeju Island, located off the Korean Peninsula, was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature; on the manmade side of the spectrum, Korea boasts the world’s largest indoor amusement park, the world’s largest department store, and the world’s highest sky deck, reached by taking the world’s fastest elevator.

Those who visit and live in Korea will no doubt tell you that the rich and varied landscape, sophisticated metropolitan cities, and fast-moving pace are all cases for why should learn Korean. Being able to fully immerse yourself in the culture and landscape is one of the many reasons why to learn Korean, and will definitely set you apart from the standard tourist.

 

4. The Future Is Now

Korea has never been one to shy away from the future, and sits at the head of the technological table. Samsung, the largest company in the nation, is a steady competitor of Apple, and is now leading the smartphone market. If you’re a tech-savvy soul who prefers looking ahead and keeping up to date on the latest trends, gadgets, and developments, then that’s reason enough why to learn the Korean language.

Additionally, if you’re looking to make a career in the tech field, you might be interested to know that a Bloomberg report ranked Korea among the most innovative economies for 5 years in a row. With the economy growing and more jobs expanding, you may very well find yourself exploring opportunities abroad. Learning the Korean language may just be the resume booster you need to get to the next level, at home or abroad.

 

5. A Leader In World Affairs

Korea has been making headlines lately on the world platform, and taking its rightful place within the national community. For example, eighth UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon co-initiated The Paris Accords, which vowed to reduce future carbon emissions. Korea is an important US ally, despite the tense and ever-evolving developments between North and South Korean relations. The country continues to invest its own economic clout in the United States, making it a promising country to learn more about.

 

6. Get With The K(orean)-Pop Culture

Most Westerners instantly associate Korea with its K-Pop phenomena, but the country’s increasing export of movies, fashion, and cosmetics have put it more securely on the map. There’s even a word for it: “Hallyu,” or “The Korean Wave.” Many of Korea’s top celebrities have made the crossover into Western entertainment and advertisements, and you’ve likely seen some of their endorsements for your favorite products.

No one wants to be left out of the pop culture relevance loop, and with The Korean Wave coming in stronger than ever you’ll definitely want to experience it at peak level, which means learning the language.

The next time you find yourself asking “why I want to learn Korean?”, just pull up this list and get started on adding a few unique reasons of your own!