SOUTH KOREA: Hangugo
Hangugo, the Korean language is made up of both “pure Korean” and Chinese, along with a sizable number of words borrowed from Japanese and English. The alphabet, created by a team of scholars in the 1400s at the behest of King Sejong is called Hangul 한글.
A highly stratified social structure and a refined system of etiquette among socio-economic groups of people, led to the development of several different levels of language. The highest six levels are generally grouped together as jondaenmal (존댓말), while the lowest level (haeche, 해체) is called banmal (반말) or “half-words” in Korean.
Nowadays, it is common to see younger people talk to their older relatives with banmal (반말). This is not out of disrespect, rather it shows a close connection between the two speakers.
Do you have any experiences of South Korean traditions that you can share?
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