This is an old article, but apparently Korean University professors have scientifically proved Korean to be the worlds “most superior” language. I don’t know how they were able to show this “scientifically” but I guess we should all learn it if we want to learn the best language.
The bigger question: How is is that any language can be more superior to another?
I half expected this to be coming from the North given a title like that
“Sohn worked on creating a 19-volume set of Korean language text books” - yikes!
Well, the good thing is at least he’s not biased… oh wait. Honestly, I was curious what his evidence would be. I hope one day to study some Korean, but the article didn’t provide any argument. Oh well. haha. Thanks for the post though.
After the big title of “Korean scientifically superior”, the part that comes closest to “scientific” is "The Korean language’s method of making sound through a combination of vowels and consonants is very scientific and economical, even,”. But is there any Korean learner who didn’t know that?
The article is a pathetic space filler with near zero information content.
Korean does have its strengths (and weaknesses too of course).
For one, it is very expressive at the level of connecting common components.
For example, there’s the common example of marker particles (this characteristic is shared with Japanese)
- 돈이 없는 남자 - a guy who has no money.
- 돈은 없는 남자 - a guy who has no money (but who might have other things).
- 돈만 없는 남자 - a guy who has everything but money.
- 돈도 없는 남자 - a guy who doesn’t even have money
- 돈까지 없는 남자 - a guy who doesn’t have money in addition to everything else.
On top of that there are highly developed mimetic/onomatopoeic words which come handy for direct and vivid description. These features make it amazingly expressive in everyday language.
Secondly, “hanja” (kanji - Chinese characters) makes it versatile for making conceptual words by recombining the characters with ease, but I suppose Chinese should take credit for this feature.
Korean’s biggest weakness seems to be its limited ability to coin new words, especially with its non-hanja vocabulary.
it’s in part the fault of the speakers. Korean academia as well as the media and the government are not so active in translating new foreign words (mostly from English) to Korean. The result is that English words are so pervasive in Korean nowadays even though it’s such a jarringly different language linguistically.
This begs the obvious question. If Korean is so superior as Sohn says, why is it so dominated by English?
“If Korean is so superior as Sohn says, why is it so dominated by English?”
Because Korea is inferior.
I wouldn’t say any language is superior to another. Everyone has love for their own language, and the fact that is wrote by a native Korean and Korean professors makes it even more biased.
There are certainly powerful languages in the world, yes, but has nothing to do with structure of the language, but moreso to do with the country where it’s spoke.
“Because Korea is inferior.”
What an asinine statement!
I guess you mean Korea is much smaller than the English speaking countries (especially if combined).
That’s certainly one important reason but I suspect that might not be all.
There might be a more intrinsic reason for English being so dominant in Asia.
It’s a subject I find interesting: Is there some linguistic feature that makes English (and others in the same family) superior to Korean or the CJK languages? If so, then what is it?
I don’t believe this is so. A lot of Asian countries, even though they do learn English in school, fail to really grasp a good level where they can communicate.
If you want to look at it, Chinese could probably get around most places Asia, and Russian in Eastern Europe.
I don’t believe it has to do with native speakers either, it usually has to do with power. Look at Napoleons France, or the Roman Empire. The language was either 1.) forced, or 2.) required to be able to get an education, work, etc.
Timing and simplicity. English happened to be the language of the imperial power at the time of the industrial revolution. Also, it’s relatively simple compared to others.
Here is my question: If Hangul is so brilliant, why is it’s pronunciation so damned inconsistent? is at M, P, or B sound? Things change when they are in the bat chim position?
What gives Korean?
Of course it’s just power! I always find it very puzzling that people try to look for supposingly “superior” grammatical features of whatever language happens to be popular as a lingua franca in a given moment or area.
There’s a very funny French treatise, from XVIII-XIX century I believe, which endeavours to “prove” that French is a superior language. One of the reasons is the clear use of position in the sentence to show word function instead of declension, etc. That should make Chinese be much superior )
I’ve heard similarly “asinine” (to recover the word from a previous comment) about the “superiority” of English. The statement that is “simple” is a mild example of this, there are much worse examples.
Bottomline: time and again people argue about the advantages of such and such piece of grammar, happily oblivious to the curious coincidence that the speakers of the popular, “superior” languages always happen to own the largest cannons.
I have heard russians, french, and chinese all argue to me that their language was the best.
Well I can help you out here:
My language is actually the best. I know this because it feels natural and expressive to me
You’re right. Simplicity is probably one very important factor.
The second person “you” is the prime example for me. It’s like a divine blessing when compared with Korean which practically has no equivalent to “you” for adults and thus often forces you to expend some mental energy to figure out how to refer to the other side.
English seems like it’s light years ahead of most other languages in this regard.
How about Chinese for simplicity?
“I love her. She loves me.” – Each word changes form.
“Wo ai ta. Ta ai wo.” – Only word order changes.
I agree the pronunciation gets really tricky, much worse than English in my opinion.
So I don’t agree with people who say Korean has a neat one-to-one mapping between writing and pronunciation (and there are countless such claims). There are lots of inconsistencies.
And it gets even worse. Some characters even change not only in pronunciation but in spelling according to their position in a word. For example, 리 in 합리 and 순리 is the same character (same Chinese character and same meaning) as 이 in 이성, but just because it comes in the beginning, it is 이 instead of 리. Likewise, there’s 녀 vs 여, as in 남녀 and 여자 (This is only in South Korea).
Korean’s symbol-to-sound mapping is neat only if we exclude all the weirdness the native speakers are not keenly aware of because they never get to think about them. For new learners, there are wild inconsistencies and hellish complexities.
Korean’s strength, if it can be called that, is with its expressiveness and its script (한글). Pronunciation is probably its weakest area.
So I agree with you. Korean might be brilliant in certain aspects, but it’s also pathetically clunkier in many others.
I agree Chinese grammar is simple. Maybe even the simplest from what I’ve seen.
But we all know the script is rather complex, so overall I doubt we can say Chinese is as simple as English.
Plus, it seems Chinese have too many difficult idioms based on historical anecdotes which are regularly used in daily conversation. If so, that may be another big challenge for learners, although I don’t really know enough to say one way or the other with authority.