Within the last few years, several international groups (UNESCO, Ethnologue, and the Endangered Languages Project) have recognized that Jejueo, the variety of speech indigenous to Jeju Island, is an independent language, not a dialect of Korean.
Jejueo is critically endangered, with only a few thousand elderly fluent speakers, but efforts to preserve and revitalize it are underway. A new Web site (https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/jejueo/) presents up-to-date information on the language and on efforts to save it.
One of the most important revitalization projects has just reached a major milestone, with the publication on July 5 of the first volume in a projected four-volume textbook series for Korean-speaking learners of Jejueo. Jejueo 1 consists of fifteen chapters, each with practice exercises and an accompanying set of downloadable audio files. It can be obtained from the Kyobo Web site.
The volume was prepared by a committee of three authors: Changyong Yang, professor in the College of Education at Jeju National University; Sejung Yang, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; and William O’Grady, UH Mānoa professor of linguistics and a member of the Center for Korean Studies.
The work was supported by the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2015-OLU-2250005).