Koreanic languages

Korea, Northeast China, Manchuria
Linguistic classification: One of the world's primary language families
Glottolog: kore1284[1]


The Koreanic languages

The Koreanic languages are a language family consisting of the modern Korean language together with extinct ancient relatives closer to it than to any proposed links with Mongolic, Turkic, Tungusic, or Japanese. Among extant languages, Korean is considered by most linguists to be a language isolate and by others as part of the widely rejected Altaic family or the Dravido-Korean languages.[2] Some even suggest an Austronesian languages connection.[2] Alexander Vovin, an expert on North-East-Asian languages, suspects, through his research, that the origin of Koreanic is not Altaic origin but Paleosiberian.[3] He supports the inclusion of Korean in the Paleosiberian languages family. The Jeju language of Jeju Island, considered by some as a dialect of modern Korean, is distinct enough to be considered a language in its own right by other authorities. Some consider that rather than being a language isolate, Korean forms a small language family, together with Jeju.


The periodization of the historical stages of Korean is as follows:

Ancient Koreanic languages

Further information: Buyeo languages and Old Korean

Several ancient languages of the Korean peninsula—Silla, Buyeo, Goguryeo, Dongye, Okjeo, Baekje, Gojoseon and Ye-Maek—may have been ancestral to, related to, or part of Old Korean. Two branches are sometimes posited, Buyeo and Han.[4]

Modern Koreanic languages

Further information: Korean dialects and Jeju language

Modern Korean is traditionally considered a single language. However, Jeju (Cheju) is sometimes classified as a distinct language, for example in the UNESCO atlas on endangered languages. If that is accepted, there are two modern Koreanic languages, Jeju and Korean proper.[5]


See also


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Koreanic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. 1 2 "ORIGIN THEORIES". linguistics.byu.edu. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  3. "Korean as a Paleosiberian Language (English version of 원시시베리아 언어로서의 한국어)". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  4. Young Kyun Oh, 2005. Old Chinese and Old Sino-Korean
  5. Janhunen, Juha, 1996. Manchuria: an ethnic history
  6. 1 2 Lee & Ramsey, 2000. The Korean language
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