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제목 [No. 223 Special] Brilliant Hangul (Korean alphabet)
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Brilliant Hangul (Korean alphabet)

 

Cheongdae Times Editor-in-Chief Gyeong-Im Bok

 

Korea's influence in the world is growing. People are particularly enthusiastic about the Korean Wave. Representatively, K-movies, K-dramas, and K-singers belong to the Korean Wave. The Squid Game, which recently topped Netflix’s popularity list is a drama made in Korea.

 

Although there is English dialogue in the middle, most of the dialogues are Korean. The main character is also a Korean actor. BTS who topped the Billboard charts is also an idol group consisting of all Koreans. BTS is short for the Korean name ‘Bang-tan-so-nyeon-dan.’

 

In this special, I will cover Korean. First, look at the history of Korean language. Korean is based on Hangul. According to the Encyclopedia of Korean National Culture, ‘Hangul is Korea's unique letter created and promulgated under the name of Hun-min-jeong-eum by Se-Jong the fourth king of the early Joseon Dynasty.’

 

UNESCO(https://heritage.unesco.or.kr)

 

King Se-Jong was very sad that the people were disadvantaged by difficult Chinese characters. So, he created letters with scholars that could perfectly express our language, that is Hangul. Hun-min-jeong-eum was the name of Hangul during the reign of King Se-Jong and it is a book with a Korean interpretation. The word means 'the right sound to teach the people.’

 

Hun-min-jeong-eum was created in 1443 of the lunar calendars. In Korea, on September 10th of the lunar calendar (October 9th of the solar calendar) the day of distribution of Hun-min-jeong-eum was designated as Hangeul Day. They are steadily commemorating the creation of Hangeul until now. The origin of Hun-min-jeong-eum is very diverse.

 

There are the hieroglyphics in pronunciation origin theory, classical origin theory, Indian origin theory, and Mongolian origin theory. Among the theory, the hieroglyphics in pronunciation origin theory is most supported.

 

The principle of Hun-min-jeong-eum is “The initial consonants are 17 letters, The molar sound ‘’ imitates the shape of the tongue root blocks the throat, The tongue sound ‘’ imitates the shape of the tongue sticks to the upper gums, The lip sound ‘’ imitates the shape of the lip, The teeth sound ‘’ imitates the shape of the teeth, The neck sound ‘’ imitates the shape of the neck.”

 

There is various principle, I could not handle them all because there are many types. You can see that Hangul is easy to speak and learn just by looking at the principle. In September 2021, 26 new Korean words were published in the Oxford Dictionary in the UK. Let's know examples of Korean through the words in the dictionary. The words below are listed in the dictionary, and I introduce only a few of them.

 

[aegyo, banchan, bulgogi, chimaek, daebak, dongchimi, fighting, galbi, hallyu, hanbok, japchae, K-comb, K-drama, kimbam, konglish, Korean wave, manhwa, mukbang, noona, oppa, PC bang, samgyeopsal, skinship, tang soo do, trot, unni]

 

-Chimaek : In South Korea and Korean-style restaurants: fried chicken served with beer.

-samgyeopsal : A Korean dish of thinly sliced pork belly, usually served raw to be cooked by the diner on a tabletop grill.

-Hallyu : The increase in international interest in South Korea and its popular culture, esp. as represented by the global success of South Korean music, film, television, fashion, and food. Also: South Korean popular culture and entertainment itself. Frequently as a modifier, as in hallyu craze, hallyu fan, hallyu star, etc.

-K- comb : Forming nouns relating to South Korea and its (popular) culture, as K-beauty, K-culture, K-food, K-style, etc.

-hanbok : A traditional Korean costume consisting of a long-sleeved jacket or blouse and a long, high-waisted skirt for women or loose-fitting trousers for men, typically worn on formal or ceremonial occasions.

Oxford English Dictionary(https://www.oed.com)

 

Oxford Dictionary Press said, “We are all riding the crest of the Korean wave, and this can be felt not only in film, music, or fashion but also in our language.” What should we know to follow with the Korean Wave that continues to be popular? It is Korean.

 

If you do not know Korean, you cannot enjoy the Korean Wave properly. If you can directly understand the Korean dialogue, you will feel the vividness that cannot be conveyed through subtitles. I hope you also will be interested in the Korean language ‘Hangul’, as much as you are interested in the Korean Wave.

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