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Language Teacher in China Honored for Promoting Korean

Posted October. 10, 2009 07:50,   


Professor Choi Hee-su of Tianjin Foreign Studies University in China has great affection for the Korean language.

A second-generation Korean Chinese born in China, Choi, 67, has dedicated his life to researching the language of his motherland and published more than 20 textbooks on the subject. Even at his advanced age, he continues to teach Korean, saying, “Teaching the Korean alphabet and language is my mission.”

On the occasion of Hangeul Day yesterday, Choi received a cultural medal given to those who help spread and develop the Korean language.

Since graduating from the Korean language department at Yanbian University 39 years ago, Choi has studied and taught Korean to Han Chinese and ethnic Koreans in China.

He has also served as vice chairman and adviser to the Korean Language Education Society in China since 2002.

Upon receiving the medal, Choi said, “I’m really happy. It’s a great honor.”

“Korean language education began in the 1940s but failed to draw much attention before China’s reform and opening. With Korean pop culture growing more popular since the 1990s, the popularity of the Korean language has also soared. Recently, some freshmen know more about Korea than I do. The surging popularity of Korean TV miniseries can be one reason.”

He expressed regret, however, over the lack of close cooperation between scholars of Korean in Korea and those in other nations.

Citing the Korean Proficiency Test run by the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation, he said, “Those who take TOEFL or TOEIC can easily understand what words or grammar they should know to get a high score. But the three-level Korean Proficiency Test has no set standards. Accordingly, foreign students who study Korean using different textbooks feel perplexed when taking exams.”