Why study Korean
Learn Korean at the Institute and enjoy the challenge of discovering one of the world’s oldest living languages. Although the origins of the language are vague, scholars have proposed that Korean is a distant relative of the Ural-Altaic family of languages which includes Mongolian, Finnish and Hungarian. Linguistically, Korean is unrelated to Chinese and is similar to but distinct from Japanese; interestingly, Korean is linked to the Tibetan, Dravidian and Indo-European languages.
Korean is spoken by more than 72 million people living on the Korean peninsula. Although it differs slightly in spelling, alphabet, and vocabulary between the two regions, Korean is the official language of both South Korea and North Korea. About two million people in mainland China speak Korean as their first language. There are another two million Korean speakers in the United States of America, a further 700,000 in Japan, and 500,000 in the Russian regions of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
The Korean language
The Korean language has five major dialects in South Korea and one in North Korea. Despite the geographical and socio-political dialect differences, Korean is relatively homogeneous, being mutually understandable among speakers from different areas.
The Korean language has changed throughout the centuries, mainly throughout the seventh, tenth and fourteenth centuries due to changes from the Silla, Koryo and Kaesong dynasties.
The language spoken in modern-day Korea is called Hanguk-mal, literally "Korean speech." The Korean language has adopted many words from the Chinese over the centuries and although it seems to resemble Japanese grammatically, its phonetic system differs completely. Korean is not a tonal language like Chinese and Vietnamese, where tonal inflection can change the meaning of words. In Korean, the form and meaning of root words remains essentially unchanged regardless of the tone of speech. There is little variation in accent and pitch. When speaking Korean, the general rule is to evenly stress phrases and sentences. When reading or speaking questions, the inflection is upward at end of the sentence, just as in English.
Areas of study:
* Introductions, greetings, leave-taking etc
* Giving personal details such as address, phone/fax number, occupation
* Small talk, weather, health etc
* Basic telephone skills, ordering food and drinks
* Catching a taxi and using public transport
* Asking for and understanding directions
* Prices, quantification, booking a hotel
* Inviting guests home, dates, months etc
* General knowledge of common practices and customs
* The etiquette of social and formal functions
* Cross-cultural awareness skills
Level 1A 0-20 hours of prior study
For students with very little or no previous knowledge of the language. You will learn to talk about yourself: name, professions, likes and dislikes, your family, your home and your daily activities.
Level 1B approx. 20 –30 hours of prior study
For students who have immediate survival skills and who can ask questions or make simple statements using short memorised language. You will learn more complex verb structures: what you can do, what to do and must do, as well as describing people, places and objects.
Level 2 40-50 hrs of prior study
For learners who have immediate survival skills and who can ask questions or make simple statements. You will learn to talk about actions and situations in the past and the future and conduct simple discussions on topics such as transport, tourism, hobbies, cinema and the media.
Level 3 50-70 hrs of prior study
You will develop your skills in expressing your opinion and build up your fluency in speaking. You will have the chance to consolidate your vocabulary so you can feel more confident in talking about your own day-to-day activities and interests, as well as conduct simple discussions on general current affairs subjects.
Level 4 70-80 hours of prior study
For students who can ask and answer general questions, initiate and respond to general statements, maintain conversation and express their own opinion on a range of issues. You will explore a wider range of resources in the language - texts, songs, film clips, news reports etc. to increase your vocabulary and your familiarity with contemporary life in the target country. You will cover more complex grammatical points to improve your comprehension and fluency.
Level 5 80-90 hrs of prior study
For students who can express their opinions with confidence and with considerable control, in situations including current events, work, family and personal information, hypothetical issues etc. You will be able to understand more complex written texts, improve your comprehension of spoken language in films, documentaries and the media and consolidate your fluency in spoken language, as well as revising problematic grammatical points.
Level 6 100-120 hrs of prior study
For students who feel confident with expressing themselves in the language across a wide range of situations and who wish to extend their competency and accuracy. You will have the opportunity to focus on specific skills, such as extending your vocabulary in given areas, improving your written language for different contexts, developing a better understanding of particular cultural and social issues in the target country.
Level 7 Conversation and Grammar
100-150 hrs of prior study
This course offers students the opportunity to revise some of the more problematic aspects of grammar and to become confident with expressing themselves in the appropriate register to use in everyday situations. The topics covered may be adapted to reflect the specific interests of the students in the class.
Level 8 Advanced Conversation
200+ hours of prior study
For relatively fluent speakers of the language. You will have the opportunity to participate in discussions covering a broad range of subjects which are chosen in accordance with the specific interests of the group. Typically, these subjects range from traditional practices to contemporary political and social issues and you will also be encouraged to share your own special areas of interest or expertise with the other members of the class.