Korean and Japanese are two of the most spoken languages in the world. Though they may be similar in some ways, there are also many differences between the two.
In this blog, we examine the similarities and contrasts between these two fascinating languages.
Table of Contents
Introducing the Korean language
Korean is spoken by about 80 million people worldwide. It is the official language of both North and South Korea.
The Korean language is believed to have originated from the Altaic language family. It is thought to have first been spoken in the region that is now known as Manchuria and North Korea. Over time, it spread to other parts of East Asia.
Korean has been written in both Hangul and Hanja scripts. Hangul is a phonetic alphabet that was developed in the 15th century. Hanja are Chinese characters that were used to write Korean until the 20th century.
Introducing the Japanese language
Japanese is also spoken by about 80 million people worldwide. It is the official language of Japan. The Japanese alphabet consists of 50 letters, of which 45 are considered to be basic.
The Japanese language is believed to have originated from the Austro-Asiatic language family. It is thought to have first been spoken in the region that is now known as Japan. Over time, it spread to other parts of East Asia.
Japanese has been written in both Hiragana and Kanji scripts. Hiragana is a phonetic alphabet that was developed in the 9th century. Kanji are Chinese characters that were used to write Japanese until the 18th century.
What’s the same between Korean and Japanese?
One of the main similarities between Korean and Japanese is that they both use subject-object-verb word order. This means that the subject of a sentence comes before the object and the verb comes last.
Another similarity between Korean and Japanese is that both languages use honorifics when speaking to someone. This is a form of polite language used in order to show respect.
Lastly, Korean and Japanese both have numerous loanwords from Chinese. These words are often borrowed in the same way and retain much of the same meaning.
What are the differences between Korean and Japanese?
There are also many differences between the two languages. One of the most notable is that Korean is a head-final language, while Japanese is a head-initial language. This means that in Korean, the verb typically comes at the end of the sentence, while in Japanese it typically comes at the beginning.
Another difference is that Korean has more vowel sounds than Japanese. Korean also has a distinction between formal and informal speech, while Japanese does not.
Finally, Korean and Japanese have different writing systems. While both languages use Chinese characters, they also each use their own phonetic alphabets. In addition, while Korean is written in blocks, Japanese is written in a grid-like pattern.
Though Korean and Japanese are two very different languages, there are also many similarities between them. By understanding the differences and similarities between the two, we can better appreciate the beauty of both.