U.S. Flag   State Department Seal   A Program of the U.S. Department of State

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

Gwangju, South Korea
Chonnam National University
Jun 29, 2020 - Aug 21, 2020

Previous Institutes

Featured Alumni Profiles

Paula Zhang
Korean 2017
Gwangju, South Korea
Sonia Kim
Korean 2016
Gwangju, South Korea
Darlene Janice Nieves Cruz
Korean 2019
Busan, South Korea

Korean Stories

The 2021 Summer Application is Now Available!

We are pleased to announce that the application for the 2021 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is now open! We welcome your students to apply now to learn a critical foreign language next summer on a fully-funded study abroad program.

The application is now live and available...

Read more

Posted August 27, 2020


David Fields

David Fields became interested in Korea when he learned of opportunities to teach English after earning his undergraduate degree. After teaching English in South Korea for two years, he began studying United States and East Asian relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and participated...

Read more

Posted June 15, 2020


Announcing the CLS Virtual Institutes for Summer 2020

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is pleased to announce CLS Virtual Institutes in six critical languages in summer 2020 for a limited number of participants. CLS Virtual Institutes will provide remote language instruction and cultural learning in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean,...

Read more

Posted May 29, 2020