CLS Korean 한국어

The Korean Language

The Korean language, spoken by an estimated 73 million people on the Korean Peninsula, is a complex mixture of Chinese lexical influences and a unique native word and sentence structure. While Korean grammar shares many similarities with Japanese, Turkish and other agglutinative languages, no definitive genetic link has been established between Korean and other languages in the world, and the language's origin remains a heated topic of academic debate. Korean boasts the most scientific script in the world, Hangeul, which was designed by a team of royal linguists by order of the Korean king in the 1440s.

Following a period of unprecedented economic growth, South Korea today has emerged as one of Asia's powerhouse economies. Korea's advanced modern business landscape boasts some of the most widely recognized brands in the world, and the country remains at the forefront of international developments in science and technology. Korea also boasts a rich popular culture that has become an export commodity of its own right in the form of food, popular music, and film.

Program Sites


Featured Alumni Profiles

Paula Zhang
Korean 2017
Gwangju, South Korea
Akshayaa Chittibabu
Korean 2017
Gwangju, South Korea
Sonia Kim
Korean 2016
Gwangju, South Korea
Marlena McDaniel
Korean 2016
Gwangju, South Korea

Korean Stories

CLS 2017 Application Launches!

We are pleased to announce the opening of the competition for the U.S. Department of State 2017 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in fourteen critical foreign languages. The CLS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State... Read more

Supporting Diverse Learners of Korean: Kirstin Johnson

Kirstin Johnson (CLS 2015 and 2014 Korean) returned from Korea concerned about how to progress with her language learning. Her university offers neither courses in Korean nor any study abroad opportunities in Korea. She realized that teaching what sh... Read more

Announcing the 2016 CLS Application!

We are pleased to announce the opening of the competition for the U.S. Department of State 2016 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in fourteen critical foreign languages. The CLS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau ... Read more