Is Korean A Language Isolate
Is Korean a language isolate? Yes Korean is a language isolate as it does not belong to any language family. Korean is the language spoken in both North and South Korean.
So What Is A Language Isolate
A language isolate is a language that doesn’t belong to a language family. So for example Spanish, French, Italian, Catalan and Romanian all belong to the Romantic language family and descend from Latin. Language families like Germanic and Romantic will belong to parent families like the Indo-European languages. A language isolate does not have this. It doesn’t share a heritage with any living languages.
Surely Chinese and Korean have some similarities?
Yes these two languages (though of course by ‘Chinese’ we mean the languages of China) do have a lot of similarities but this does not mean they belong to the same language family. As Korea and China share a border it is not surprise that some Chinese words have seeped into the Korean language but that doesn’t mean they are part of a language family. It’s like English using the Indian words shampoo and veranda.
What about Japanese and Korean?
Again even though they may share some words and the two countries are close to each other geographically they are not related.
Will Korean ever belong to a language family?
This is very possible. After the Korean war and the split of North and South Korea the two countries have started to speak more and more differently. Pronunciation is changing, new words are being added into each Korean. If this continues it could be very possible that instead of ‘Korean’ they are two varieties that are classed as two separate languages. If this was the case then Korean would no longer be a language isolate and instead would make up a very small language family of two.
So to answer your questions is Korean a language isolate? Yes it most definitely is. If you would be interested in learning Korean and want some resource recommendations then check out our article on best websites to learn Korean. Korean isn’t as difficult to learn as people think and there are lots of amazing free websites to help you (as well as ones you have to pay for).