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Are you familiar with the Korean script called, 한글 (Hangeul)? If you are interested in building fluency in Korean, especially in reading and writing, this series of posts will help you in understanding and learning the structure of 한글. This post will cover a brief history of 한글 and how to form syllables in Korean. The next series will cover several interesting facts and detailed explanations of Korean consonants and vowels.
The Korean alphabet, 한글 (Hangeul) was created by King Sejong in 1443. 한글 was originally called 훈민정음 (Hunminjeongeum), which stood for, “correct sounds to instruct the people.” Before the creation of 훈민정음, Koreans borrowed Chinese characters to transliterate Korean sounds, and this method was not always comparable. Thus, King Sejong wanted to invent an alphabet system that was suitable for the Korean language, and a system that people could learn to read and write easily.
How many letters are in 한글?
Currently, there are total of 19 consonants and 21 vowels in the Korean language. Generally speaking, you will learn the first14 consonants and 10 vowels in red and blue listed below. The next post will cover more detailed information on Korean consonants and their sounds.
ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ ㅐ ㅒ ㅔ ㅖ ㅘ ㅙ ㅚ ㅝ ㅞ ㅟ ㅢ
How do I structure a syllable in Korean?
A group of characters represent a single syllable, and each syllable has a squarish look. Like English you write from left to right. However unlike English, you always start a syllable with a consonant. There are two different combinations of syllables, either C (consonant) + V (vowel) or C (consonant) + V (vowel) + C (consonant) such as in the following examples:
C 수 : ㅅ (consonant)
V ㅜ (vowel)
C 국 : ㄱ (consonant)
V ㅜ (vowel)
C ㄱ (consonant)
Don’t forget to check out my next series of articles, which contains detailed information about Korean consonants and vowels.
I hope this article will help to guide you in your understanding of the Korean script, 한글. If you are interested in gaining a more in-depth knowledge of 한글, 국립한글박물관 (The National Hangeul Museum) would be an excellent place to visit. This article, “한글: The Journey of the Korean Script” has information on 국립한글박물관 (The National Hangeul Museum).
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