Basic Korean Alphabets


A famous sentence says that :”To learn a nation very well, someone should learn its language.

This also works for us to understand South Korea. We should learn its language in order to fully understand a lot of information about this North Korea’s neighbour. Basically, Korean alphabets are created to symbolize their language. Before they have their own alphabets, once they used Chinese alphabet to represent their language, but it was very hard for middle and low-level citizens who do not know the complex Chinese. Therefore, King Sejong created Korean own alphabet by assigning a group of scholars in 1446.

The result was they have an alphabetic system whose consonants are 14 and vowels are 10.

1. Vowels (모 음)

The basic shapes of Korean Alphabet (Hangul) vowels are only 3: ‘ . ‘, ‘ _ ‘, and ‘ |’, whereas the other are just combinations of those three basic shapes whose consequtively represent ‘heaven’, ‘earth’, and ‘human’. From those three letters, the combination of current alphabet is created.

Here are those vowels:

NO VOWEL SOUNDS AS IN
1 A /MARKET/FATHER/
2 YA /YARD/YUMMY/
3 O /CALL/MOCK/
4 YO /YOUNG/
5 O /STRONG/BOY/
6 YO /YOGURT/
7 /PULL/FULL/
8 YU /YOU/
9 E /MATTER/PROBLEM/
10 I /BEE/KNEE/

2. CONSONANTS
After dealing with the wovels, now we are going to discuss about the consonants in Hangul (Korean alphabet). Basically, consonant symbols are used to represent the shape of mouth, tongue, lips, and teeth while sounding the words. Therefore, some consonants are pretty easy to be recognized since they have very close relationship with their sounds.

NO CONSONANTS SOUNDS AS IN
1 K/G /KING/GOD/
2 N /NEW/
3 T/D /TICK/DOCK/
4 R/L /REAL/LEAVE/
5 M /MURDER/MAN/
6 B/P /BOB/PAP/
7 S /SKIRT/SOON/
8 VOICELESS/NG /GANG/RING/
9 J/C /JOB/CHARLY/
10 CH /CHIDAR/CHOPSTICK/
11 KH /CRAB/CRISPY/
12 TH /TISSUE/TIPS/
13 PH /PINK/
14 H /HIKE/HILL/

It might be very simple but it’s what the fundamental knowledge of Korean Literature. Hope it can share some basic understanding to Korean Literature.
~nasikun

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