Korean is the official language in both North Korea and South Korea. It is also the official language in the Yanbian region of China. Korean is spoken by more than 76 million people worldwide and that makes it the 17th most spoken language in the world.
Outside of the Korean peninsula, the cities with the most Koreans in them are Beijing, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Osaka, Atlanta, and Sydney.
Korean is commonly classified as a language isolate, which means it shows no significant link to any other existing language on Earth. But due to the historical connections between the Chinese and Koreans, up to 60% of Korean words are of Chinese origin. About 35% are purely Korean, and 5% are loanwords from various other languages.
Korean has its own script called Hangul. King Sejong the Great invented Hangul in the 15th century. Before then, Koreans wrote with Chinese characters, called Hanja. But these were difficult to learn without spending years in school, and that put literacy out of reach for most commoners. So, the king created the Hangul script to encourage literacy amongst his subjects. Hangul was designed specifically for Korean, and it was also created to be easy to learn and use. Hangul is an alphabet, with each symbol corresponding to a sound. The are 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Letters are grouped together into syllable blocks. Hangul may be one of the youngest alphabets in the world, but it’s also the most well-designed.
TOPIK test has two levels: TOPIK-I and TOPIK-II. TOPIK-I is the beginner level and has two sublevels 1 & 2 while TOPIK-II which is the Intermediate-Advanced level, has 4 sublevels – 3, 4, 5 & 6.
Test takers who meet the requirements will be issued a formal certificate with one of six possible grades: low beginner (level 1), high beginner (level 2), low intermediate (level 3), high intermediate (level 4), low advanced (level 5), and high advanced (level 6).
- Levels 1 and 2 – Beginner Level
- Levels 3 and 4 – Intermediate Level
- Levels 5 and 6 – Advanced Level
TOPIK-I (Level 1-2) has just two sections; Reading and Listening.
TOPIK II (Level 3-6), which is the combined Intermediate-Advanced test, has 3 sections – Reading, Listening and Writing.
Each section is graded out of 100 points with a possible total of 200 points for the Beginner and 300 points for Intermediate-Advanced level.