About Korean

Currently taught at IU

Korean is the official and national language of the Republic of Korea as well as DPRK in the North of the Peninsula. It is also recognized as a minority language in China and Russia. In Japan, there are also communities of Korean-speaking people. In total, 77 million people use Korean as their first language.

Linguistically, Korean is not close to any living language or barely any ancient language then it is often classified as a language isolate.

Korean has adopted a unique alphabetical system, called "Hangul" that is used to read and write for the most of circumstances and Chinese characters are used in very rare situations as well, for example, people's names, ancient idioms and etc.

Korean alphabet

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Map of Korea

Learning Korean @ IU

Korean Language Program at IU offers all four levels of Korean from Elementary (First Year) to Advanced level (Fourth Year). In all levels, the four fundamental language skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing will be enhanced, although the lower levels (elementary and Intermediate) will gear more toward speaking and listening skills, and the upper levels (advanced-intermediate and advanced) will gear more toward reading and writing skills. The courses in the lower levels consist of lectures (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and drill sections (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). For the goals and purposes of each course, see Korean language courses.

History of IU Korean Program

Korean language courses at IU were first offered in 1962 when the department of East Asian Languages and Literatures was established. After a few years of experiment, Korean language instruction discontinued in the 70's.

Korean language instruction was resumed in 1981 with the financial support of the East Asian Studies Center and Korean language courses were offered in a limited capacity. Prof. Kenneth Wells (Korean History) began a full-fledged Korean language program in 1985.

In 1993, Prof. Hyo Sang Lee was hired as a tenure-line faculty for Korean language program. Prof. Lee was promoted to Associate Professor in 1999.

In 2005, Korean Conversation Club launched; weekly meetings for conversation practice, movies, TV dramas, and food.

Currently, four years of Korean language courses are offered along with courses on Korean language and culture as well as on Korean linguistics.

Learning Material

Recording Archive