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The Korean-speaking world is generally limited to North and South Korea, although there are pockets of people in China, Japan, the US, and Russia that also speak Korean. Learning Korean is easier for people who speak a similar language, such as Japan. Korean is a much more difficult topic to study for people who speak languages such as English. For example, people studying the Korean language in Japan are usually not from a Korean heritage, whereas in the United States, over 80 percent of the people studying Korean are heritage students.
The Korean language today uses a writing system called hangul, although the origins of the language appear in the form of Chinese characters and script adapted to the language. This was called the hanja, and at the time most of the country was illiterate. In the 15th century, the hangul was introduced as a way to spread literacy in Korea. The new method worked to increase literacy and is now the official writing system of both North and South Korea.
The Korean language uses a number of honorifics and levels of speech to indicate how formal a situation is or to indicate one’s superiority. Older relatives or strangers, employers, teachers, and customers are examples of people who might be given an honorific in speech. People who might be thought of as inferior could be a student, employee, or younger family member. In the past, the Korean language has had an even more structured honorific system but the language has become more simplified over time.