native alphabet of the Korean language

Hangeul (Korean: 한글) (formerly Hangul 한굴) is the alphabet (or alphabetic syllabary) used for the Korean language.[1][2]

It was made by Sejong the Great, the 4th King of the Joseon Dynasty in 1443. It is still being used now. When Hangeul was spreading, King Sejong published Hunminjeong'eum Haeryebon (훈민정음 해례본). It was picked as the 'Memory of the World' by UNESCO in 1997.

In this book, the design ideas of Hangeul and information about its use were written down in detail. The book Hunminjeong'eum Haeryebon states the two design ideas of Hangeul. The first one is that the consonants of Hangeul look like vocal organs. The second one is that the vowels of Hangeul are based on Cheonji'in (천지인). Cheonji'in refers to the three elements of philosophy which are sky (), earth () and human (). Because of these ideas, Hangeul is well known for being easy to learn.

Although it was only used by the lower classes at first, Hangeul became the official writing script of Korea in the late 19th century. Today it is the most used writing system of both North Korea and South Korea. North Korea abolished the use of Hanja, and today North Koreans write only in Hangeul. In South Korea, people write mostly in Hangeul, but sometimes Hanja is still used.

Vowels change

Vowels are letters like A, E, O and so on

There are 21 letters for vowels in Hangul.

  • 10 simple ones, ㅏㅓㅣㅑㅕ and ㅗㅜㅡㅛㅠ.
  • 11 more complicated combinations: ㅐㅒㅔㅖ and ㅘㅙㅚㅝㅞㅟㅢ.


a eo i ya yeo o u eu yo yu ae yae e ye wa wae oe wo we wi eui

Those with two small lines are pronounced with an extra "y" first.

Consonants change

Consonants are letters like B, G, L, M, N, S and so on.
There are 14 simple consonants: ㄱㄴㄷㄹㅁㅂㅅㅇㅈㅊㅋㅌㅍㅎ
They can be written two next to each other. Meaning:

letter sound
g k
d t
r l
b p
s t
- ng
j t
ch t
h t
kk k
tt t
pp p
ss t
jj t

The consonants the Korean language uses written in Latin letters are: B, D, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, W, Y.

Blocks change

The consonants and vowels are combined into blocks of syllables. A syllable means one vowel and a few consonants, like "han" and "geul".

The blocks look like these examples: 서울 한글 평양

Examples change

The word Hangeul (한글) written in Hangul
Seoul 서울   Hangeul 한글   Pyongyang 평양
s eo - u l h a n g eu l p yeo ng - ya ng

References change

  1. Kolers, Paul A. (1979). Processing of Visible Language. Merald E. Wrolstad, Herman Bouma. Boston, MA: Springer US. pp. 67–82. ISBN 978-1-4684-0994-9. OCLC 851828930.
  2. Pae, Hye K. (1 January 2011). "Is Korean a syllabic alphabet or an alphabetic syllabary". Writing Systems Research. 3 (2): 103–115. doi:10.1093/wsr/wsr002. ISSN 1758-6801. Retrieved 17 October 2017.

Other websites change

  •   Media related to Hangul at Wikimedia Commons