History of Hangul - Part III

When first proclaimed by King Sejong, Hunmin chong-um had 28 letters in all, of which only 24 are in use today.

A Korean syllable is divided into three parts: Ch'osong (initial consonant), chungsong (peak vowel), and chongsong (final consonant). This is the basic framework that King Sejong and the Chiphyonjon scholars adhered to when creating the letters. Chongsong was not separately created and was a repetition of the ch'osong. Therefore, Hangul is the consonants and vowels.

The Korean language has a well-developed and expansive vocabulary, and therefore, it is very difficult to express fully in foreign letter.

Because of its simplicity and the rather small number of letters, Hangul is very easy to learn even by children and foreigners.

It is no coincidence that by the time they reach the age of two or three, most Korean children are already capable of expressing their feelings and thoughts, albeit in primitive form. By the time they reach school age, most exhibit mastery of Hangul, which is indeed a rare phenomena throughout the world. This fact clearly attests to the easy learnability and accessibility of the Korean alphabet.

Throughout history, Hangul has been at the root of the Korean culture, helping to preserve its national identity and independence.

Illiteracy is virtually nonexistent in Korea. This is another fact that attests to the easy learnability of Hangul. It is not uncommon for a foreigner to gain a working knowledge of Hangul after one or two hours of intensive studying. In addition, because of its scientific design, Hangul lends itself to easy mechanization. In this age of computers, many people now are able to incorporate computers into their lives without difficulties, thanks to a large number of programs written in Hangul.

Article courtesy of the Korean Overseas Information Service.

  1. Part I
  2. Part II
  3. Part III