Hangeul / Han’gŭl Day 한글날

Hangeul / Han'gŭl Day 한글날

Today is Hangeul Day (한글날) in South Korea, the day when they celebrate their alphabet. This year is the 563rd anniversary of the promulgation of Hangeul by King Sejong the Great in 1446.

According to The Korea Herald, the Korean government is keen to encourage people all over the world to learn Korean and plans to increase the number of Sejong Hakdang, centres teaching Korean, to 500 by 2015. At the moment there 16 Sejong Hakdang in China, Japan, Russia, USA and a couple of other countries, and there are plans to open a Korean language centre in Sri Lanka.

Korean is also apparently taught in hundreds of universities in some 60 countries, and increasing numbers of courses are offered in Asian countries such as China, Thailand, India and Japan. Also, some Korean companies with operations in China are offering incentives, such as promotions and business trips to Korea, to Chinese workers who become fluent Korean.

By the way, here’s a useful site that transliterates from Hangeul in Romanization and vice versa.

4 thoughts on “Hangeul / Han’gŭl Day 한글날

  1. Hangeul is aesthetically pleasing, and easy to learn sure! However, IMHO the Latin script is more important as it has the ability to be adapted to almost any language, to represent sounds not available in Hangeul etc. I think that Hangeul Day is nothing more than a celebration for Koreans than anything else. Just my 2 cents!

  2. I kind of agree with Imbecillica about the Latin alphabet. Except that there’s nothing special about the particular letters or shapes of letters. Any other alphabet could serve the same purpose: Armenian and Cyrillic both code for more phonemes and would probably require fewer combinations of letters to represent non-IE sounds.

    Having learned Arabic script (and some Arabic) and many other scripts, I’ve become a true believer in the simple alphabet. Other scripts like abjads contain ambiguities without introducing any offsetting benefits.

    Syllabaries are hard to adapt to foreign tongues because they’re usually limited in consonants. Plus there are a lot more characters to memorize.

    Logographic scripts are just plain cumbersome. Teaching a child several thousand logograms is time and effort taken from teaching other things (NOT that Japanese or Chinese kids seem to be adversely affected!)

    Suffice it to say, I think the Koreans were shrewd to invent their alphabet. Thanks to this post, I wished my co-worker a Happy Hangul today, much to his surprise. 🙂 He said that they probably don’t celebrate it in Korea anymore due to too many holidays in October.

  3. Imbecilica

    There’s no reason why Hangeul cannot be adapted to other languages. After all, the Latin alphabet was invented by the Romans from the Etruscan script for the Latin language, but has since been adopted by many different languages with a load of sounds that were not found in Latin. ANY script can be adopted from one language to another, perhaps with adding new letters, assigning different sounds to existing letters, or adding diacritics. All that’s needed is a bit of imagination and working out the possibilities.

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