Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Korean language is not pictographic but has 40 written Hangul characters which are said to cover the phonetics very effectively and date from the 15th century when devised by King Sejong. Written Chinese characters were used prior to that time. Consonant and vowel are typically joined to form a syllable. The text is probably read from left to right.
The word order is of subject object verb with the verb put strictly at the end of a sentence.
Various means of expressing respect are important and many forms are used according to the age and social status of the speaker and of the addressee or when speaking about the elder.
Only 250 Korean family surnames are used but within which finer categories are identified. Brides do not necessarily adopt the groom's name and introductions or arranged marriages are probably the done thing when consideration is given to the role of the clan (or so I believe, disadvantaged by not understanding Korean, as it is fairly difficult to understand very much about a society at all unless one can speak the language).

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