Korean is a language spoken by about 75 million people, ranking just ahead of French in numbers of native speakers. The purpose of the Korean major at BYU is to help students develop competence in the language in the four major areas of language function—speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students in the major will learn language, language theory (linguistics), literature, history, and culture. The program aims to help students acquire sufficient competence to use the language as a primary tool in such areas as law and business; or to work for the government in translation or analysis; or to use the language as a secondary tool to support skills in business, legal, government, or other professional settings in Korea. In specific ways, the Korean major can be the primary tool for an employee in government or business, or in general ways, the major will help the student develop understanding and respect for Korea and Korean people. The program also supports the mission of Brigham Young University and its sponsoring institution, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by helping students develop academic skills and competencies in a faith-based setting which is also committed to the development of personal character and integrity.
Korean is a difficult language, and at BYU we emphasize reading and writing the language as well as speaking and listening. Basic course work emphasizes linguistic skill and the language’s literary value and tradition.