Why Study Korean?

Korean is the sixteenth most widely spoken language in the world, spoken by more than 78 million people  The number of Korean language learners has remarkably grown in the past several decades beyond the Korean peninsula and overseas Korean communities, a growth due partly to South Korea’s increasingly visible roles in the world economy, technological innovation, and global popular culture.

The grammar and phonetics of Korean are quite different from those of most European languages. The Korean alphabet, Hangeul, was originally invented by King Sejong in the 15th century. Hangeul is a phonetic alphabet with 24 letters and is very easy to read and write. The Korean language has many other interesting linguistic and cultural features, such as multiple speech levels, honorific expressions, and different particles that indicate grammatical relations in a sentence.

The Korean program at Boston University offers four years of language study, including an accelerated course for heritage learners and an upper-level language course using film and media. While learning Korean, students are introduced to a broad range of aspects of Korean culture. There are also courses conducted in English about Korean film, literature, and culture. In these classes advanced students have the option to read in the original sources.