SATURDAY IRRELEVANCE ONE – HANGUL

Annyeong Haseyo.

564 years ago today the Hangul alphabet was first published in Korea. In my year in South Korea I learned it and to this day my crap party trick is to write your name in Korean.  Linguistically the language and alphabet are  extremely interesting and the Koreans are very proud of it and will tell you, given a chance, that it is the most phonetically perfect alphabet in the world.

People often think Korean must be something like Japanese or Chinese and words are represented with little pictures but that isn’t the case at all. It is a proper alphabet which you can learn quite quickly and therefore you can read anything in Korean in a phonetically perfect way even if you don’t have the slightest idea what it means. The way that the language works however is that you write in syllabic boxes which read from left to right and then down. I have also listened to a lecture on the subject of Korean as a language which strangely said that it has more in common with Mongolian and Turkish than it does with Japanese and Chinese.

 

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