Hangeul (pronunciation - Han Gle) : Korean Alphabet

King Sejong and Hoon-Min-Jeong-Eum
The great king Sejong and Hoon-Min-Jeong-Eum

Most English speakers think Korean has thousands of characters, like Chinese, but it actually has a very simple and logical alphabet. Koreans call their alphabet Hangeul. Like English, the letters of the Hangeul alphabet represent individual sounds or phonemes.

Hangeul was invented by King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty, and introduced to the public in 1443 in Hun-Min-Jeong-Eum. King Sejong believed that Koreans needed an easy-to-learn system for writing their own language. Before King Sejong deigned the Hangeul, Koreans had either written in the Chinese language or had written Korean using Chinese characters to represent the Korean sounds in a complex system, Idu. The alphabet originally contained 28 letters composed of 11 vowels and 17 consonants.

 

Vowels and Consonants

hangeul_hexagrams
8 hexagrams

When the Great King Sejong invented Hangeul, he had in mind the two basic principles of the yin-yang cosmology of eastern philosophy. Vewels Graphemes The vowels were designed on the basis of The Three basic components of the universe which are Heaven( . ), Earth(ㅡ) , and Man(ㅣ). Heaven( . ) represents the circular shape of heaven, Earth(ㅡ) represents the flatness of the earth, and Man(ㅣ) expresses the standing position of a human being. The vowels were designed on the basis of of Eastern philosophy.

 

 

Consonants

King Sejong designed the HANGEUL consonant letters so that their shapes would reflect the place and manner of articulation of the consonant sounds. The shapes of five basic consonants suggest the five basic types of articulation, as follows. The other 14 consonant letters are derived from these by adding strokes.