Korean is spoken by roughly 80 million users around the world, and is also considered the official language of both South Korea and North Korea. Korean is often considered to be a language isolate, meaning it has no genealogy in any other language, while others consider it to be part of the Altaic family of languages. Linguists today still debate how Korean can be classified, as some feel that it takes part of its language from Japanese, while others propose ancient languages similar to Korean.
The language has several dialects, but the standard language uses the dialect around Seoul and Pyongyang, for each of their respective countries. While most of the dialects are somewhat intelligible to other Korean speakers, the dialect called Jeju, of Jeju Island, is offset enough that some consider it to be a different language.
The Korean alphabet is called Hangul, and uses 24 consonant and vowel letters. These letters are grouped into blocks when written, and each block is a syllable. Each block will contain anywhere from 2 to 6 letters, with one vowel and one consonant at the minimum. The alphabet was created in 1443, and became widespread in the 20th century, replacing the older system of including Chinese characters.
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