Hangeul (한글) is a unique alphabet and is considered, by language specialists from around the globe, the most efficient alphabet in the world!
Its history is fascinating so we’ve prepared some facts to share with you!
- King Sejong (세종), the fourth king of the Joseon Dysnasty, invented an alphabet made up of 28 letters in the “fervent hope that they improve the quality of life of all people”.
- Hangeul was originally called Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음) and this translates to ‘The Correct/Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People’, after the document that described the new script.
- Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음) is a form of hieroglyph.
- Out of the original 28 characters, only 24 are in use today (14 consonants and 10 vowels)
- The consonants (the initial sound characters) resemble a person’s speech organs and the shape of each character is based on the form of different the different sounds each character makes;ㄱㄴㄷㄹㅁㅂㅅㅇㅈㅊㅋㅌㅍㅎ
- The vowels, on the other hand, are based on the shapes of the sky, land and man; ㅏㅑㅓㅕㅗㅛㅜㅠㅡㅣare basic vowels, ㅐㅒㅔㅖㅘㅙㅚㅝㅞㅟㅢ are combo vowels
- Within the Hangeul alphabet there are also ‘double letters’; ㄲㄸㅃㅆㅉ
- The first novel published in Hangeul was Honggildongjeon (홍길동 or ‘Tales of Hong Gil-dong’) and it attacked the elite members of Joseon (조선)since they mistreated people with either little or no wealth.
- King Sejong and the scholars of Jiphyeonjeon (지전전 – the royal research institute set up by King Sejong) believed that human sounds were based on ‘eum-yang’ (음 양) or ‘ying-yang’
- As well as ohaeng (오행) the five main elements which are water, fire, earth, metal and wood
- Many scholars were upset with this new writing system, because they had spent years mastering the Chinese language
- And to many ‘educated’ nobles, Hangeul didn’t seem worthy enough to be learnt.
- Those who were opposed to Hangeul called it ‘Amgeul’ (암글 ) or ‘women’s’ characters
- As well as ‘Achim’ (아침) or ‘morning’ characters, since it was ‘so easy it could be learnt in one morning.’
- It was King Sejong’s goal to unite his people so he could enrich the lives of either scholars or farmers.
Hangeul remains to be the cornerstone of modern Korean culture and has helped preserved the country’s independence and identity. As well as unite people all around the world~
Featured Image Source ©DSCF9741, 20.09.2017