I previously said I was aiming to master at least one foreign language. Truthfully, my main goal was Nihonggo but the course schedule didn’t permit me to start at the time that I had. I searched for options. Since I already have vested my personal interest East Asia including Korea (Yep. Because of KPOP. I actually belong to one and only one fandom for 6 years and counting.), I decided to take my first, serious, foreign language study with Korea. I may have had a seemingly rocky reason to start but as I progressed with the lessons, I developed the love for the language. I also have a massive respect for language learning and the beauty of different languages as their culture is reflected on it.
The efficiency of the Koreans can be reflected in its unique alphabet called Hangeul. Hangeul was created by King Sejong during the Joseon Dynasty (1393-1910), In 1446, the first Korean alphabet was proclaimed under the original name HUNMINJEONGEUM which literally meant “the correct sounds for educating people”. King Sejong gathered a handful of smart blokes and formed what seemed like a royal research organization. They were named Jiphyeonjeon- Hall of Worthies. This team perfected the Hunminjeongeum, which was actually a manuscript for Hanguel (Its purpose, principles, usage, etc.).
Like most East Asian countries, Korea also once borrowed Chinese characters in their writing system. It was quite difficult to be poor those days (It ain’t better today though). Education was challenging for the common folks and they had difficulty expressing their thoughts in writing. Writing was restricted to the upper class. Therefore, King Sejong had the brilliant idea to create Hangeul for everyone.
Hangeul vowels were based on three shapes: ‘ᆞ, ᅳ , and ᅵ’ to symbolize sky, earth and human. The consonants were based after the voice organs (lips, tongue, throat, etc.). Hangeul originally had 14 consonants and 10 vowels totaling to 24 characters. Today, there are 40 characters in use- 19 consonants and 21 vowels.
The first and most important (at least for me) in ln earning the Korean language is mastering the Hangeul alphabet. Before I introduce the basic vowels and consonants, there are three rules to go by in forming the syllables. Note that ALL KOREAN WORDS ARE COMPOSED OF SYLLABLES. The first rule is that A SYLLABLE BEGINS WITH A CONSONANT, NO EXCEPTION. Secondly, A SYLLABLE HAS AT LEAST ONE CONSONANT AND ONE VOWEL. And the third rule is each syllable gets written in a square box.
There you go. Now I can begin. Fighting!