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Characteristics of Korean Language

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 7:00 PM


If we work on our projects without understanding the characteristics of foreign languages, we may end up having to redo the work.

In particular, Korean is very different from English. For English, verbal phrase comes right after the subject but for Korean, the verbal phrase comes at the end of the sentence. For example, “I have a Korean document translated into English” becomes “I a Korean document translated into English have,” in Korean.

It is difficult to do a word count in Korean. It has only been slightly more than 100 years that Korean language has begun to add space in between words. Starting from the 1443 when King Sejong created the Hangul, Korean characters to the end of the 19th century, there was no spacing in Korean written language.

Unlike English which spells out the words, Korean creates a block syllable with combination of consonants and vowels. Therefore, it is possible to understand the sentence without any spacing in between the words. In this way, because Korean doesn’t have clear spacing in between the words, it is important to understand that it is difficult to do a word count for Korean documents and there may be some differences in the final result.

This makes Korean language more unique than Chinese and Japanese languages, which have no spacing issue. In Chinese and Japanese, you can only think of the number of characters, but in Korean you have two ways to count the volume of Korean documents, which are based on the number of characters and words. The latter is caused by spacing.

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