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Old 08-01-2017, 08:27 AM
 
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Would you say Mandarin or English is more widely spoken/understood in Seoul? I'm asking because of the huge influx of Maindland tourists.

Also, do you think Mandarin will replace English as the mandatory second language in Korean middle/high schools?
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Old 08-01-2017, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
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I can't answer your question directly. But when I was in Seoul, what impressed me was how much English there was. The road signs are bilingual in English and Korean, as are the subway announcements. Many shop signs had English lettering, including quite a few that were in English only, without any Korean. Most people I interacted with were able to converse in English, at least well enough that I could make myself understood. (Which was great for me, because my Korean is very limited!)

By contrast, I saw very little Chinese or Japanese signage there. Where it existed at all, it was mainly in areas that would be frequented by a lot of tourists, such as Incheon Airport or train stations.

I asked someone about this, and they said that English is preferred because it is the world's most common second language. While it's true that there are many millions of Mandarin speakers, there aren't all that many who speak it as a second language, comparatively. But lots and lots of people can speak at least some English, in addition to their native tongue.
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:14 PM
 
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I don't think Mandarin will replace English in schools or as a second language. Mandarin will become more influential, but English is pretty well entrenched as the second language. Like the above poster said, it's on a lot of signage and used in many public announcements alongside Korean.

The same is true in Japan and China. English is the second language. Go to Shanghai or Tokyo and English is the second language.

Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans are all learning English as a second language, and that's why I don't see English being replaced in a national level.

Some places will have more Mandarin signs and speakers, like Jeju island. Or NE China will have more Korean language then English. Go to Harbin and there is more Russian then English. But overall, English won't be replaced in any of those countries as a second language, at least in our lifetime. The number of people learning English as a second language continues to increase every year.
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Manhattan, NYC
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If you're trying to shop, chances are you have Chinese people or Chinese with Korean origins working there and speaking Mandarin. Otherwise, you have to assume English will be de facto the foreign language Koreans will be able to use with you.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:04 PM
 
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Engish is by far the most common second language in South Korea. Probably there are more Japanese speakers than Chinese speakers.

However, I also noticed many Korean students in China speak much better Chinese than English, eve though they have not lived in China long. Therefore, they always speak Chinese to other foreign students, which is different from students from most countries (they use English).
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Old 08-01-2017, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
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When I was in Seoul I occasionally heard a bit of Mandarin from shopkeepers trying to sell me stuff (I'm Chinese). But I heard way more English. Just my anecdote, hardly scientific.
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Old 08-01-2017, 07:10 PM
 
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Also, do mainland Chinese tourists communicate with local people in English, or in Mandarin even if the others don't know chinese
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:36 PM
 
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South Koreans don't use "Mainland tourists", this is only used in HK and Macau, maybe Taiwan.
They use "Chinese tourists".


English is still more widely understood in South Korea. All South Koreans students learn English, can be very fluent or not fluent. Mandarin is not learnt by all, but increasing learnt by South Koreans.


Mandarin is more widely spoken in South Korea. In the airports and in Seoul, Mandarin is much more heard than English, Japanese and Cantonese. Many businesses in tourist areas have Mandarin speaking Chinese or Korean staff. If you tell these staff you are from Hong Kong in English, they will usually reply back and starting talking a lot in Mandarin to you. These staff usually speak Mandarin fluently and less fluent in English and other languages.


South Koreans are more hard working and interested in learning foreign languages than the Japanese and Mainland Chinese.


Most South Koreans cant speak fluent Mandarin. But people from China is the largest group of foreigners living in and visiting South Korea. Many Chinese living in South Korea are ethnic Koreans and lived in China for a few generations and holding Chinese passports. They speak fluent Mandarin and Korean.


I am from Hong Kong and when in South Korea, most Hong Kong tourists speak English and speak Mandarin only if someone speak fluent Mandarin to them. Most HK people, especially the older generations, cannot speak fluent English and Mandarin.

Last edited by HSrights; 08-01-2017 at 11:46 PM..
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:01 AM
 
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oistrakh12 View Post
Would you say Mandarin or English is more widely spoken/understood in Seoul? I'm asking because of the huge influx of Maindland tourists.

Also, do you think Mandarin will replace English as the mandatory second language in Korean middle/high schools?
English >> Mandarin

No.
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:19 AM
 
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South Korea has the third highest usage of English+Mandarin together after Singapore and Hong Kong.
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