Archive for the ‘South Korea’ Category

Jeju Language – Carrier of Unique Korean Culture

24 January 2011

To the south of the Korean Peninsula in the Korea Strait is the island of Jeju, often spelled as Cheju.

The largest island in Korea (1845 square kilometers), Jeju’s relative isolation has resulted in a culture with many features distinct from mainstream Korea, including a matriarchal family structure, cuisine primarily based on non-rice grains, and many unique myths and legends. It is also home to Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, which is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The language is unique as well.

According to an article posted on the UNESCO site last August, Jeju has been added to UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger as a critically endangered language, spoken by no more than 10,000 people—Wikipedia cites an island population of 565,000.

This blog post was inspired by an article in the online edition of the Korea Times, titled “Jeju dialect needs protection,” which notes that the Jeju provincial government is launching an ad-hoc committee net month to develop a preservation plan.