The Korean alphabet – an overview

JaeHo Song
5/30/2022 9:39:38 AM
The Korean alphabet – an overview The Korean alphabet or Hangul consists of 24 basic letters: 14 consonants (ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㅇ ㅈ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ) and 10 vowels (ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ). Additionally, as you’ll dive into it, you’ll discover that there are in fact 19 complex letters with 5 tense consonants (ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅉ ㅆ) and 11 complex vowels (ㅢ ㅚ ㅐ ㅟ ㅔ ㅒ ㅖ ㅘ ㅝ ㅙ ㅞ) formed by combining the basic letters. The name “Hangeul” combines the Korean word han (한) – meaning “great” – and geul (글) – meaning “script”. However, the word han is also used to refer to Korea in general, so the name can also translate to “Korean script”. Unlike Chinese or Japanese which have hundreds or even thousands of characters – each with 10, 15, or even more strokes – the most complex Korean letter (or character) has only five strokes. Besides, Hangul is a very scientific alphabet. Once you manage to understand the logic behind it, the learning journey becomes easier. Korean letters are called jamo (자모) and they are written in syllabic blocks arranged in two dimensions. One such block always has exactly one syllable. For example, to write “honeybee” in Korean (kkulbeol), you’ll write 꿀벌, not ㄲㅜㄹㅂㅓㄹ. Today, Korean texts are typically written from left to write with spaces between words and western-style punctuation. As mentioned earlier, Hangul is a featural writing system. This means that the letters mimic the shape the mouth made when the corresponding sound is created. Absolutely fascinating! Let’s go into a little more detail and see how to pronounce the letters of the Korean alphabet.
Mohammed Abubakar
6/5/2022 4:47:27 AM
that's wonderful, very pedagogical