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Background Information About Korea

Background Information About Korea


AS SEEN from a satellite miles above, Korea is a picturesque peninsula in northeast Asia. It lies just west of the islands of Japan and is bordered on the north by China and the Russia. More than 3,000 islands dot the sea along its southern and western coast, although 2,600 are not inhabited. Korea’s size? Almost as large as Great Britain.
In a closer view, Korea changes into one of the hillier landscapes of the world, leaving about 20 percent of the land suitable for farming, with rice being the staple crop. Plains stretch along the western, northeastern, and southern coasts. Monsoons sweep across this country, first one way, then another, blowing in the cold, dry winters and hot, wet summers.

Night at Gangnam, Seoul

A face-to-face look reveals that most Koreans have physical characteristics similar to other Asians-broad face, straight black hair, olive-brown skin, and dark eyes. Yet, they are distinct in their culture, language, dress, and cuisine and lay claim to over 4,000 years of human history. Their language, belonging to the Altaic language family, is spoken today by over 60 million people.

 

Brief History

Because of Korea’s strategic location, nations more powerful, such as China and Japan, have long wielded a strong influence over its people. As a defense, the Korean people isolated themselves to become what has been called the hermit kingdom. In 1910 Japan imposed colonial rule over Korea that lasted until the end of World War II, at which time the peninsula was divided at the 38th parallel between the military forces of the United States in the south and the Soviet forces in the north. In 1948, by United Nations resolution, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) was formed in the south. In the same year the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) was formed in the north. Both governments claim to represent all of Korea.

On June 25, 1950, with the invasion of the south by the north, the three-year Korean War began. This resulted in a more permanently divided land separated by a demilitarized zone running east to west just 35 miles north of the city of Seoul.

Admiral Lee Statue at Gwanghwamun, Seoul

 

Language

Because of Korea’s strategic location, nations more powerful, such as China and Japan, have long wielded a strong influence over its people. As a defense, the Korean people isolated themselves to become what has been called the hermit kingdom. In 1910 Japan imposed colonial rule over Korea that lasted until the end of World War II, at which time the peninsula was divided at the 38th parallel between the military forces of the United States in the south and the Soviet forces in the north. In 1948, by United Nations resolution, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) was formed in the south. In the same year the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) was formed in the north. Both governments claim to represent all of Korea.

On June 25, 1950, with the invasion of the south by the north, the three-year Korean War began. This resulted in a more permanently divided land separated by a demilitarized zone running east to west just 35 miles north of the city of Seoul.

Consonants

  • Initial
g,k n d,t r,l m b,p s (indicates an initial vowel) j ch k t p h
kk tt pp ss jj
  • Final
g,k n d,t r,l m b,p s ng j ch k t p h
kk (A buildup before an explosion of sound from “ㄱ”) (nj) (lg) (bs) ss
(gs) (nh) (lm)
(lb)
 ㄽ
(ls)
 ㄾ
(lt)
(lp)
(lh)
  • Notes
  1. ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ are transcribed and pronounced as g, d, b respectively if they are followed by a vowel. If they are followed by a consonant or at the end of a word, then they are transcribed and pronounced as k, t, p.
  2. ㄹ is transcribed and pronounced as r if it is followed by a vowel. If it is followed by a consonant or appear at the end of a word, then it is transcribed and pronounced as l. When ㄹ in a row (as in 멀리서) it is transcribed as ll.
  3. Initial ㅇ is never pronounced and it is a convention to write the initial ㅇ when a syllable begins with a vowel, as to keep the square shape of the character.
  4. There is no hard and fast standard for transcription and pronunciation of double consonants ㄳ, ㄵ, ㄶ, ㄺ, ㄻ, ㄼ, ㄽ, ㄾ, ㄿ, ㅀ, ㅄ, and when they occur in a word or sentence, they are transcribed as they are pronounced in Korean (noted in bracket: for example, 신라[실라] or 않다[안타]).
  • Vowels
    There are 21 letters used to represent vowels, 10 of these are basic vowels, while the remainder 11 are diphthongs.
a ya eo yeo o yo u yu eu i
ae yae e ye oe wi ui
wa wo
wae we
Visit http://learnkorean.elanguageschool.net/ to more information for learning Korean.

 

 

Education

An old saying in Korea, “One should not step even on the shadow of one’s teacher” relays the degree of respect traditionally accorded to teachers. While there have been many changes to the Korean educational system since its adoption of modern teaching methods, much of the old tradition remains.

Koreans value education, their primary goal is entering nice high schools famous universities. Around 90% of high-school students continue onto university. However, once students receive their acceptance, they can relax and enjoy newfound freedoms. Korean universities let students choose their courses and attend lectures (or study at home) as they choose. Like Americans, most Koreans will tell you that university was the “best time of their life.”

Koreans value education, their primary goal is entering nice high schools famous universities.

The English education and those teach English in Korea is in high demand. Everyone, from kindergarteners to machinery workers, wants to learn English. Korea has two types of schools: private school (hagwan) and public school. The main difference between teaching in a private or public school is the schedule. Public schools start in February or March (with about 35 days for winter vacation and about 15 days spring break and 30 days for summer vacation), and private school classes run year round(except public holidays). Private schools usually hold classes in evening(sometimes in the early morning), so you would have your afternoons open for grading or personal time. Private school classes generally run 40 to 60 minutes, and public school classes run about 60 to 70 minutes. However, you can expect to work roughly the same number of hours whether you are working in a private or public school.

 

More?

For more information about Korea’s education, visit: http://www.asianinfo.org/asianinfo/korea/education.htm

 

 


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