The Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics does not offer a degree program or certificate of language proficiency but does offer language courses in Korean and courses on Korean culture and literature. The Korean language is the official language of both North and South Korea. The language is also spoken widely in neighbouring Yanbian, China. Worldwide, there are around 78 million Korean speakers, including large groups in the former Soviet Union, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan and more recently the Philippines. The Korean language offers you a window to a dynamic culture and history. Today, Korea is a vital and thriving economic, technological and industrial centre in Asia. Learning Korean is a unique linguistic experience. The Korean writing system, Hangul, has been referred to as "one of the great intellectual achievements of humankind." The York Korean program is developed on the basis of the instructional model that emphasizes communication and content learning. The program also aims to develop students' awareness of crucial linguistic characteristics of Korean. The Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics offers courses in Korean in three levels: Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Korean.