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Perhaps you have heard of the term “pure Korean” before when talking to Korean people.  However, you may be wondering what that term actually means.  When the term “pure Korean” comes up, it is usually used for 2 different reasons.  In this article, we’ll briefly examine the first instance of pure Korean and see what the future holds for it.  

What is Pure Korean Language?

When speaking about language, speaking pure Korean refers to ability to have a Korean conversation using only the Korean version of Korean words.  What does that mean?  Take for instance the Korean word 닭.  닭 is the word for chicken.  닭고기 means chicken meat.  These are the terms you would use in you were speaking pure Korean.  However, if you look up the word chicken in many Korean dictionaries now, you will find the word 치킨.  This means chicken, but is the Korean way of saying the word in English.  While this is common for many young people, it is not considered to be pure Korean. 

What is the Future for Pure Korean?

While there is very good reason to learn as much pure Korean as possible, one must also learn more modern Korean to communicate with others in Korea.  Even in Korean American society where there are older ones who fight as hard as possible to hold onto as much Korean tradition as possible, such ones have a hard time speaking pure Korean.  Why are so few people unable, or unwilling to speak Korean in what is considered to be its purest form?  

Actually, it is almost impossible to speak pure Korean in some instances.  For example, there is no pure Korean word for something like the internet, a computer, an iPhone or iPad or even a TV.  The truth is as more and more things are invented and become more commonplace in our lives, the fewer pure Korean terms there will be that will come into play in our lives.  Does this mean that a Korean student shouldn’t try to learn pure Korean?  No.  Pure Korean can come in handy, especially if you are talking to an older person.  Pure Korean can be considered more respectful in some instances, which makes it very important to know and understand.

While some may get frustrated at the lack of pure Korean that is spoken among younger people, it is a reflection of society and how much Korea isn’t as isolated anymore from the rest of the world.  Still, one must remember that respect for ones elders and tradition is very important in Korean and Korean American society.  So while it may seem to be unnecessary or a waste of time to some, pure Korean still holds an important place with Korean people worldwide, and will do so for many years to come.  

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