Recently, Hangul was nominated as a UNESCO Record Cultural Heritage. As with this news, people are used to hearing about the superiority of Hangul. However, people might have trouble listing aspects of its superiority. October is known as the month of Hangul. To celebrate Hangul Day, let’s talk about the truth of Hangul specifically.
Whereas a Chinese character stands for a meaning, making it an ideogram, each Hangul character represents a sound, acting as a phonogram. Also, unlike English, Hangul is a syllabic writing, so each sound takes only one alphabet character in Hangul. For instance, the letter ‘e’ sounds different in ‘equal’ and ‘essence’ in English, but each alphabet character in Hangul sounds identical in every word in which it is used. Therefore, numerous words can be formed and pronounced easily, combining consonants and vowels in Hangul.
When Hangul was invented, there were 28 letters, but now there are 24 since four letters,‘ㆍㆆㅿㆁ’, are not used anymore. Even though sounds represented by those four disappeared letters still exist, they stopped being written naturally as time went by because they were not important. Basically, Hangul now consists of 14 consonants and ten vowels. However, 16 more characters can be made through combining basic consonants and vowels, meaning 40 letters are used when people actually write in Korean.
King Sejong the Great created Hangul originally. Most languages used nowadays around the world have gone through complicated changes over a long time, so some of their origins are hard to find. In other cases, some languages are rooted in another. For example, many European languages such as Spanish and Italian come from Latin. On the other hand, Hangul was invented originally by King Sejong the Great and has kept its originality as well.
You can clearly find out the purpose of this lettering by examining the context. Originally, Hangul was made to realize cultural independence. Koreans used to communicate with Chinese characters, so common people had trouble using it. For these people, King Sejong the Great tried to give convenience by making a new lettering. Another reason is that a new alphabet could help to realize an easier life.
Hangul has another intriguing feature in that it is coming from the shape of the vocal organs. Due to this feature, People regard it as a scientific lettering. That is to say, the consonants are grounded in the shape of the vocal organs when people sound out the letter. Moreover, the vowels are made of the form of an earth (ㅡ), a sky(•), and a human(ㅣ). It is based on the regular and systematic principle of the derived law.
Hangul can help people to write a wide range of things. According to the Hyrea version, a book of Hunminjeongeum, “Hangul might express everything people hear.” Furthermore, it can write foreign language as it sounds. Hangul writes a variety of kinds of sounds in the world, and this is the unique feature of Hangul.
ToKing Sejong the Great
Hi, King Sejong the Great? Thank you for your great invention. I love you. Because you are so smart, I also envyyou. Thanks to your invention, we can learn language easily and more clearly than others. I had a chance to visit another country and teach Hangul to children who live in that country. The people in the group said that Hangul seemed easy compared to the alphabets that they had learned. Every word could be written easily even if they were beginners. When I explained the origin, they could easily acquire the lettering simply. I was so proud of your invention. Everybody will use this Hangul gratefullyand preserve it preciously.
From, a fifteen-year-old student
Publically, Hangul has become popular. However, people actually wonder why Hangul is great and unique. For these reasons, one should know and learn about it carefully. Let’s use Hangul gratefully, following its beauty.