English Reading Practice
South Korea is a country located in Asia on the Korean
Peninsula. A "peninsula" is a piece of land that has water on three
sides. It shares this peninsula with another country, North Korea.
Scientists have found evidence that people have lived on the Korean
Peninsula for 2.5 million years. "Evidence" mean proof or signs that
something is true. The country that today we call the Republic of Korea
or South Korea was created in 1948.
Even though it is a young country, it has many very old traditions. One
of the most important and beautiful traditions is that of Korean
Confucianism is a belief system or religion that originally came from
China. It is based on the teachings of the Chinese philosopher
Confucianism came to Korea around the year 1400. Before that,
After Confucianism arrived, many Confucian schools were
built. These schools had big libraries and were places to learn about
the Confucian belief.
One of the most important parts of Confucian belief is ethics. "Ethics"
means the rules you live by and how you treat yourself and other
people. In Confucianism, it is important to be ethical and to
treat others nicely and in the way that they should be treated.
Another important element (part) of Confucian belief is altruism.
"Altruism" means selflessness or helping other people without wanting
anything in return. Confucius taught that altruism was critical for a
society to improve and become better. "Critical" means very important.
It is also important to study and acquire (get) knowledge about the
world and about your culture. Confucians believe that having knowledge
and learning about new things allows you to live a good life and avoid
bad things. "Avoid" means stay away from.
Rituals are another important element of Confucianism. A
"ritual" is something you do the same way every time. Some rituals
practiced in Confucianism have to do with drinking tea, arranging
flowers, talking to people and with parts of the marriage ceremony.
These beliefs don't only apply to individual people. They are also
important for the government. Confucians believe that the government
should also be ethical and knowledgable. The members of government
should know a lot about the country and should always act in the best
interest of the citizens.
Even today, Korean Confucianism is very important to many South
Koreans. It influences people's relationships with each other, their
relationships with their government, and the way that they live their
Teachers and elders (older people) are highly respected in
Korean society in part because of Korean Confucianism. Confucian
beliefs are also visible in many forms of Korean art. "Visible" means
that it can be seen easily.
Even though Korean society has changed, Confucianism remains an
important part of many South Koreans' lives. Elements like altruism,
ethics, and learning are still very highly valued in South Korea. They
are seen as important to maintaining peace in South Korean society and
as important guides for government, the law, and individual people.
And now, practice:
South Korea - Exercises
1. What does "peninsula" mean?
a) an island
b) land that has water on 3 sides
c) land that has no water around it
d) land that has many mountains
2. What does "evidence" mean?
that something is true
b) a definition
c) signs that something is not true
d) an explanation
3. What does "elders" mean?
a) young people
b) old people
1. Even though it is _________ young country, it has contributed many
things to the world.
2. Confucianism is a belief system or religion that originally
_________ from China.
c) had come
d) will come
3. Some rituals practiced __________ Confucianism have to do with
drinking tea, arranging flowers,
1. What country does South Korean share the Korean Peninsula with?
2. What country did Confucianism come from?
3. What are four important elements or parts of Confucianism?