Should You Learn?
Should I learn the language? Yes, and no. A little. To survive.
Travel to any foreign country and you’ll realize that some things don’t need language. Context communicates 90%.
Fingers show amounts. Gestures replace words.
So should you learn the language? This is the “no” answer. Don’t let your inability to communicate verbally hold you back.
English in Korea
How about the second question? How much English is in Korea?
English is a global language.
- 370 million folks are native speakers.
- 978 million employ it as a second language.
- That makes 1.35 billion total users, surpassing all other languages.
The language’s universality doesn’t just benefit native English speakers. It facilitates business around the world.
- Indian developers communicate with German architects in English.
- Japanese car manufacturers use it when calling up their Mexican parts suppliers.
This motivates Korea, like many nations, to pour time and money into English education.
- Hagwons (학원), or private academies, teach millions of students after public school lets out every day.
- Schools fly over and pay the rent for native English speakers to teach elementary students.
- Korea’s college entrance exam (대학수학능력시험; CSAT), a test that determines the socioeconomic outcomes of 18-year-olds, includes English as one of its primary subjects.
Korea was once an insular nation. During the Joseon Dynasty, because of past invasions and imperialism, they barred the doors to the outside world shut. And for much of the 20th century, the Korean War and its decimation limited the nation’s international exposure.
However, after a miraculous economic turnaround (1961~1997), Koreans sought recognition on the world stage by hosting high-profile events.
- 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul (서울시).
- 17th FIFA World Cup in 2002 (shared with Japan).
- 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (평창군)
The international events forced Korea to rearrange the decor to accommodate the peoples of the world. That included reprinting all signage with at least one second language beneath.
Guess which subtitle language they chose? English.
The Benefits of Hangul
Should I learn the language? Yes.
Three simple reasons.
English has limits.
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