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The Korean Language Landscape
Population of South Korea: 49,232,844 (July 2008 est.)
Population of North Korea: 23,479,089 (July 2008 est.)
Internet country code (South Korea): .kr
Internet country code (North Korea): .kp
Internet users (South Korea): 34.12 million (2006)
Internet users (North Korea): not available
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Korean is the official language of North Korea and South Korea. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China. There are about 80 million Korean speakers, with large groups in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, the United States, CIS (post-Soviet states), and more recently the Philippines.
The classification of the modern Korean language is uncertain, and due to the lack of any one generally accepted theory, it is sometimes described conservatively as a language isolate. Like Japanese, the Korean language was influenced by the Chinese language in the form of Sino-Korean words. Native Korean words account for about 35% of the Korean vocabulary, while about 60% of the Korean vocabulary consists of Sino-Korean words. The remaining 5% comes from loan words from other languages, 90% of which are from English.
Hangul is the native alphabet of the Korean language, as distinguished from the logographic Sino-Korean hanja system. It is the official script of North Korea, South Korea and the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of China.
Hangul is a phonemic alphabet organized into syllabic blocks. Each block consists of at least two of the 24 Hangul letters (jamo), with at least one each of the 14 consonants and 10 vowels. These syllabic blocks can be written horizontally from left to right as well as vertically from top to bottom in columns from right to left.
Sources: CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia – Content available under GNU Free Documentation License Related Article: The Global Language Landscape – Languages in Use on the Internet
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