SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Topics in the History and Structure of the Korean Language

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The aim of this module is to provide students taking Masters programme in Korean Studies with a clear understanding of the history and structure of Korean language. Students who take the module will be expected to develop advanced analytical skills in the understanding of Korean linguistics and the historical development of Korean language. Students who successfully complete the module will be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the grammatical structure of Korean language.


Total of 20 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 2 hour lecture.  In addition there will be a one hour tutorial fortnightly.

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introductions: Language and Linguistics
  2. The structural characteristics of Korean
  3. The Origin of Korean: Altaic Theory
  4. History of Korean Language: Old Korean, Middle Korean, Modern Korean, Contemporary Korean
  5. Romanization of Korean
  6. Korean writing (I): Hangul
  7. Korean Writing (II): Hyangchal, Idu, Kugyol
  8. Linguistic Divergence between North and South Korean
  9. The Modern Dialects
  10. Phonetics and Phonology
  11. Words and Parts of Speech, Word Formation
  12. Phrase Structure
  13. Syntax
  14. Honorifics and Speech Styles
  15. Korean Grammatical Constructions (I)
  16. Korean Grammatical constructions (II)
  17. Korean Grammatical constructions (III)
  18. Comparative studies on Korean and Japanese Morpho-syntax
  19. Topics in Korean Language Teaching (I)
  20. Topics in Korean Language Teaching (II)

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (60%); essay of 1500 words (15%); essay of 1500 words (15%); presentation (10%).

Suggested reading

A reading list will be given to students at the beginning of the module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules