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南韩 - 民族 South Korea - People

Hello again and welcome to Window on the World. Each week we find out interesting things about different countries around the world. Today we will learn about the people from the Republic of Korea which is also known as South Korea. About one-quarter of all South Koreans live in the capital, Seoul. A small group of Chinese people do live in South Korea but the rest of the population is made up of Koreans. The population is about 45 million people. The main language is Korean. The language uses numerous Chinese words. Older people may also speak Japanese as a second language. English is taught in the schools, and many people have a good understanding of it.

Family is very important in South Korea. The family is bound together by a strong sense of duty and obligation among its members. The father is the head of the family; he and the eldest son receive the greatest respect. The elderly members of a family are also shown great respect. Sons are expected to take care of their aging parents.

When you meet someone from South Korea, you will receive the traditional greeting, a gentle nod. A slight bow would show respect, too. Sometimes a nod is often followed by a handshake. The left hand may support or rest under the right forearm during the handshake to show respect. Women shake hands less often than men. Young children bow or nod when greeting adults. A common greeting is Annyong haseyo?, which means "Are you at peace?". Young children often greet each other with a simple Annyong?

If you are invited into a home in South Korea, you should remove your shoes upon entering. You might find that in traditional Korean homes guests are seated on cushions on floors that are heated from below. Men sit cross-legged and women tuck their legs to one side behind them. The guest receives the warmest or best position. Guests invited for a meal or party usually bring a small gift in appreciation, often something that can be served at the gathering. Refreshments are usually served, and it is impolite to refuse them.

The South Korean people do enjoy sports. Soccer and baseball are the most popular spectator sports. Koreans also enjoy boxing, basketball, golf, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. Walking is a popular activity, and the mountains provide opportunities for skiing and mountain climbing. The national sport is the martial art tae kwon do.

We must close our Window on the World for today. Listen next week to find out about the foods our South Korean friends enjoy. Farewell for now friends.

- updated every Wednesday afternoon -


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