“History of Hangeul”


Hangul is the name of the Korea language.

It was created by king Sejong, the 4th ruler of the Chosun dynasty in1443. It is considered to be one of the most scientific and creative alphabets in the world by language experts. It was listed on the Memory of the World International Register of UNESCO on October in 1997.


Many people tried to make their own alphabet symbolizing their language. But there is no case as new and unique as Hangul created by a specific person for a given period.

The English Alphabet had been formed and transmitted by thousands of people for a long period of time and it was not invented. But Hangul was created by King Sejong with and obvious purpose and its system is so scientific and systematic that it is admired by language experts all over the world.


Well, why did he invent Hangul? Let’s find out!

There weren’t unique Korean letters at the time and Chinese characters known as ‘Hanja(한자)’ were used by the intellectuals of the country. But many common people had a lot of difficulties expressing their thoughts and feelings using Chinese characters.


King Sejong always deeply regretted the fact that they were not able to read and write in Chinese letters. Therefore he decided to create his own letters to learn easily for all people. He was a great king who loved his people. He also had a scientific mind and the spirit of an investigator.


Well, which characteristics make Hangul one of the most creative alphabets in the world?

First of all, let’s find out the principle of creation.

The vowels of Hangul are based on three letters; the dot(.) representing heaven, the horizontal line(-) signifying Earth, and the vertical line(l) representing man. All vowels are created by combining these words.


The consonants are based upon the position and shape of the vocal organs, like the mouth, tongue, and lip when they are pronounced. 28 letters of Hangul is not made separately, but made of basic letters first and then followed by the rest. Moreover the letters represent themselves as the characteristics of the sound value. For example, the letters such as ‘t’ and ‘n’ of English have their own sound values but they aren’t related to the shape of the vocal organs.


But ‘ㄴ’ (similar to ‘n’ of English) is modeled after the shape of the tongue touching the gums and ‘ㄷ’ (similar to ‘t’ of English) added a stroke on ‘ㄴ’ represents the sound in the same position of the mouth. Each of the letters of Hangul is based on the shape of the vocal organs in this way. No other language in the world has the most scientific principle as perfect as Hangul.


And it’s great that a Korean syllable is divided into three parts; Chosong(initial consonant), jungsong(peak vowel), and jonsong(final consonant). That’s the main reason why it is one of the most creative alphabets in the world.

King Sejong stated the Hangul can express any human sound and it also can be easily learned.

In fact Hangul has sound values and it can express all sounds of nature and humans. Besides it’s so scientific, systematic, and easy to be learned that we can use it without any difficulty in this age of society. Therefore, it is recognized as one of the most scientific and creative alphabets in the world.


Hangeul: Korean Alphabets and Characters


1. 한글이란(What is Hangeul)?

한글(Hangeul) is the alphabet used with the Korean language.

It was invented by Sejong the Great, the 4th King of the Joseon Dynasty in 1443 and it is still used widely. When Hangul was spread out, King Sejong published Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon(훈민정음 해례본) which was chosen as the Memory of the World by UNESCO in 1997. In this book, the principle of the invention of Hangul and information on its usage were recorded in detail.

The book Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon states the 2 principles of Hangul. The first one is that the consonants of Hangeul are patterned on vocal organs. The second one is that the vowels of Hangeul are based on Cheonjiin(천지인). Cheonjiin refers to the three elements of philosophy which are heaven(천), earth(지) and human(인). Due to this invention principle, Hangeul gained the international reputation of its scientific method.

2. 모음(Vowels)

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.

3. 자음(Consonants)

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: ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅆ ㅉ

4. 받침(Final consonants)

The 받침 is the final consonant (or consonant cluster) at the end of a Korean syllable. The 받침 is written in the bottom/final position. Conjugation rules will often depend on if there is a 받침 or not. The consonant in the 받침 position is said to be in the “final position.”

ㄱ/ㅋ/ㄲ [ㄱ]
ㄷ/ㅅ/ㅆ/ㅈ/ㅊ/ㅌ/ㅍ/ㅎ [ㄷ]