Which foreign languages are learned in Korean (Seoul) high schools?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More numbers from an article here in Korean for those that like to keep track of which languages are being learned where.

The gist of the article is that Korean high schools concentrate "too much" on Japanese and Chinese in comparison with other languages. English is a given here so it doesn't even get included. There are a total of 222 high schools in Seoul, and out of those:

196 schools (88.3%) offer Japanese,
176 schools (79.3%) offer Chinese,

and after that it drops precipitously. After Japanese and Chinese we have:

French: 41 schools (18.5%)
German: 27 schools (12.2%)
Spanish: 6 schools (2.7%)

Arabic and Russian: zero!

So yes, other languages are definitely being neglected here. Spanish is probably the greatest example, but Russia is another one. Then again, the only large Russian city near Korea is Vladivostok and it has a reputation as an unsafe drug smuggler hangout, plus tickets there aren't cheap either. As a result, Koreans simply don't visit there. The place where they do have the strongest connection to is Sakhalin, which has a lot of ethnic Koreans and was also ruled by the Japanese for a while so it's an interesting place to visit (so I hear) for those interested in Japan's colonial history. Most of the government buildings in Korea were destroyed during the Korean War so there is not much to see, but Taiwan, Sakhalin etc. have a lot of them in good condition.

One also wonders how much Brazil has to grow before Portuguese gets any respect. It's now in seventh place and will be in fifth in a few years...but yeah, that probably won't change anything. The only change I see in Korea in the next while is maybe some more Spanish, and Vietnamese.


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