Korean 101

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Korean (한국어/조선말, see below) is the official language of both North and South Korea. The language is also one of the two official languages (the other is Standard Mandarin) in neighbouring Yanbian, China. Worldwide, there are around 80 million Korean speakers, including large groups in the former Soviet Union, China, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan, and more recently, South Africa and the Philippines.

The genealogical classification of Korean is debated. Many linguists place it in the Altaic language family; some others consider it to be a language isolate. Korean is agglutinative in its morphology and SOV in its syntax. Like Japanese and Vietnamese, Korean has borrowed much vocabulary from Chinese or created vocabulary on Chinese models.

This article is mainly about the spoken Korean language. See Hangul for details on the native Korean writing system.

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