This ad for courses in Korean says that Korean is an official language in South Korea (and North Korea inter alia), and the English language edition of Wikipedia also states that, but doesn't have any citations for that. It also mentions the National Institute of Korean Language, which doesn't have any citations, apart from a link to the institute.

By contrast, Politifact states that South Korea (and North Korea inter alia) don't have an official language.

Is Korean an official language in South Korea?

Note that an official language is different from a national language.

  • This question isn't meant as April Fool's. I came across the claim of it being an official language while booking my course, and I'd previously come across Politifact's claim about which countries do and don't have official languages.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 3:56

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer (or language lawyer).

According to the Official Language wiki page you linked (emphasis mine):

An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction.

In that regards, South Korea passed 한글전용에관한법률 (Law Concerning Exclusive Use of Hangul) in 1948, shortly after the nation was founded:


대한민국의 공용 문서는 한글로 쓴다. 다만, 얼마 동안 필요한 때에는 한자를 병용할 수 있다.

(That's the entirety of the law.)

In 2005, this law was superseded by 국어기본법 (National Language Law?), which starts with:

제1조(목적) 이 법은 국어 사용을 촉진하고 국어의 발전과 보전의 기반을 마련하여 국민의 창조적 사고력의 증진을 도모함으로써 국민의 문화적 삶의 질을 향상하고 민족문화의 발전에 이바지함을 목적으로 한다.

So, I think these laws qualify Korean as the "Official Language" of South Korea.

For more information, see articles 한글전용, 국어기본법 in 나무위키.

  • How popular is namu wiki compared to the Korean edition of Wikipedia?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 5:00
  • 1
    I think they have different strengths, but I found that Namu wiki has more in-depth contents on a lot of topics. Especially true for Korean internet subculture: Wikipedia has virtually zero information in that area. On the other hand, I think Namu wiki doesn't even pretend to be impartial, so you have to always keep in mind that the article might have been written by an idiot or someone pushing an agenda. (There was a big controversy last year about their coverage of feminism-related topics, which became a part of giant shit-show spanning the whole Korean internet, as far as I could tell.)
    – jick
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 5:34
  • @jick Yeah gotta pay attention to those strike-through words lol Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 2:12
  • I also think this fully answers the question thus be selected. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 2:14

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