Difference Between Korean and Chinese Language

Korean vs Chinese Language
 

Asian countries due to their proximity to one another share many things with each other and are often shaped, moulded and influenced by each other. Language is just one of such factors that had evolved overtime as a result of the close associations with each other; their languages too resemble one another to a certain extent. Korean and Chinese are two such languages that often get confused amongst those who are not familiar with the two languages.                    

Korean Language

The official language of the North and the South Korea and in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of China, Korean is a language that is spoken by approximately 80 million people worldwide. It was from the Chinese hanji characters that Korean was adapted and written for over a millennium until the 15th century when a Sejong the Great commissioned a writing system named hangul. However, it was in the 20th century that this came to widespread use.

Descended from Old Korean, Middle Korean, Old Korean to Modern Korean, some linguists consider Korean to belong to the controversial Altaic language family while others recognize it as a language isolate. It is similar to Altaic languages, yet it lacks in several grammatical elements such as articles, relative pronouns and fusional morphology. However, the Korean language is SOV in its syntax and agglutinative in its morphology.             

Chinese Language

The Chinese language, forming one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan language family, is consisted of a bouquet of mutually unintelligible language varieties. Some form of Chinese is spoken as the first language by about one fifth of the world’s population, and it is said that among 7 to 13 main regional groups of Chinese, it is Mandarin that is most spoken by far in the world.

Standard Chinese is based upon the Beijing dialect of Mandarin. It is also the official language of the Republic  of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China. Standard Chinese is also one of the official languages of Singapore and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

During the early and middle Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BCE), it was the old Chinese that was used while, during Song, Sui, and Tang dynasties (6th through 10th centuries CE) and Southern and Northern Dynasties, it was the Middle Chinese that was been used. However, until the mid-20th century, it is said that only the native local variety of Chinese was spoken by most southern Chinese.

Korean vs Chinese

Having derived from Chinese, it is impossible for the Korean language to not share so much of similarities with the Chinese language. However, there are many differences between the two languages which make them unique in their own way.

• Korean is the language spoken in North and the South Korea and one of the official languages in China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. Chinese is not an isolated language but a group of languages.

• Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. Korean is the 15th most spoken.

• Korean is believed to belong to the Altaic group of languages, whereas Chinese cannot be properly categorized into any such group.

In written Chinese, Chinese characters are used while in Korean, Hangeul characters are used.

 

  • Cesar Perez

    Korean most certainly did not derive from Chinese, as is evident when comparing the grammar, which is arguably the single most unique thing a language can have. In addition, the two languages are completely unintelligible, neither with grammar, nor with the borrowed words (for example, “rén” and “in” sound nothing alike, yet are both the same word 人 – 인).