Excellence of Hangul Reveals the True Value of Korean
Excellence of Hangul Reveals the True Value of Korean
  • Reporter Park Tae-yoon
  • 승인 2013.09.25 15:19
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One example of true value of Korea is Hangul. There are no records in history of a king who made a language system for the benefit of the common people except in Korea. As the King launched forth into making a language system directly, the purpose of Hangul was clear. Therefore, its usefulness cannot be compared with other languages. For example, as Chinese characters are representative ideograms, each has a meaning and those who use Chinese to communicate have to memorize all of them. However, Hangul is easy to learn and be communicated as it is a set of phonograms.
Hangul is a true alphabet of 14 consonants and 10 vowels. However, instead of being written sequentially like the letters of the Latin alphabet, Hangul letters are grouped into blocks, such as 한 “han”, each of which transcribes a syllable. That is, although the syllable 한 “han” may look like a single character, it is actually composed of three letters: ㅎh, ㅏa, and ㄴn. Each syllabic block consists of two to five letters, including at least one consonant and one vowel. These blocks are then arranged horizontally from left to right or vertically from top to bottom. The number of mathematically possible blocks is 11,172, but far fewer possible syllables are allowed by Korean phonotactics. Not all possible syllables occur in actual Korean words, but it is possible to write each sound.
After the creation of Hangul, it continued to be developed. Ju Sigyeong, who coined the term “Hangul” in 1912, established the Korean Language Research Society, which further reformed the orthography with the Standardized System of Hangul in 1933. The principal change was to make Hangul as morphophonemic as practical given the existing letters. A system for transliterating foreign orthographies was published in 1940. The significance of the Standardized System of Hangul is that it was the first set of criteria for orthography standardization in Korean history. This helped Korean people keep their racial spirit in the Japanese colonial period. In addition, it was a scientific and reasonable orthography based on the morphophonological principle, which is a structural characteristic of Hangul. Those who made efforts to form the Standardized System of Hangul devoted their lives to the study of Hangul. As the research about it progressed as the result of serious studies and meditations, the Standardized System of Hangul was eventually formed and has been received a lot of attention from academia.
Hangul stands proudly among world languages now. The Hunminjeongeum Society in Seoul started attempting to spread the use of Hangul to unwritten languages of Asia in 2009. Hangul was unofficially adopted by the town of Bau-Bau, in Sulawesi, Indonesia, to write the Cia-Cia language. In addition, Hangul has been chosen as a foreign language in some universities in the United States and Australia.
Hangul has made Korean reading and writing without any problems. Statistically, the American literacy rate is only 79% but the Korean literacy rate is near the 100% percent mark thanks to Hangul. Koreans use it with loving care!