Korean Culture Part II

Korean society retains a strong Confucian tradition, which is clearly manifested in the strong devotion to the family and the emphasis on hierarchy and vertical relationships, although modified to adapt to modern conditions. This tradition combined with the passionate nature of Koreans can perhaps explain the strong loyalties felt between relatives, co-workers, classmates, and friends. For things deemed worthy -- family, friends, company, causes, etc. -- Koreans will give their utmost. They work hard, and enjoy life and entertainment with the same fervor.

Koreans all speak and write the same language, which has been a crucial factor in their strong national identity. There are several different dialects, but they are similar enough so that speakers have little trouble in understanding each other. The Korean language belongs to the Ural-Altaic group, which also includes Turkish, Hungarian, Finnish, Mongolian, and Japanese.

The written alphabet, Hangul, was developed by a group of scholars at the behest of King Sejong the Great (r.1418-1450), the fourth monarch of the Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910). Hangul consists of 10 vowels and 14 consonants, which can be combined to form numerous syllabic groupings. It is easy to learn and to write, factors which have greatly contributed to the high literacy rate of Koreans.

Article courtesy of the Korean Overseas Information Service.

  1. Part I
  2. Part II