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It was made by Sejong the Great, the 4th King of the Joseon Dynasty in 1443, and it is still used. When Hangeul was spreading out, King Sejong published Hunminjeong'eum Haeryebon (훈민정음 해례본) which was chosen 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 2 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 (천), earth (지) and human (인). 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 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 | change source]
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.
Those with two small lines are pronounced with an extra "y" first.
Consonants[change | change source]
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:
Blocks[change | change source]
The consonants and vowels are combined into blocks of syllables. A syllable means one vowel and a few consonants, like "han" and "gul".
The blocks look like these examples: 서울 한글 평양
Examples[change | change source]
|Seoul 서울||Hangul 한글||Pyongyang 평양|
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