quinta-feira, 17 de julho de 2008

The Hangul alphabet of Korea (Part 1 of 3)

This week's Feature by Jae-Joon Han is the first of three parts of an article originally published in TYPO, and has been republished with permission from the author.
Koreans did have their own language, however, for writing, they used signs borrowed from Chinese up until the 15th century. In 1444, their own alphabet was created, better suited to the needs of the local language and culture. Officially, it was published in 1446, and it was designed by Sejong the Great, a wise ruler of the Joseon Dynasty. "He was an idealist and perfectionist, at all times striving for the very best.
His credo was that everything needs to work in harmony with the Li principle, permeating the whole universe, the nature and the man." [1] The name of the script, Hunmin Jeongeum (訓民正音), which is same as the name of the document in which it was first published, mean literally "The Correct Sounds for the Instruction of the People", thus revealing the king's true intentions. Since the 1920s, the script has been called Hangul, meaning "the alphabet of the Han country"(韓), later, the syllable "han" begun to be interpreted as meaning "great" or "unique". [2]

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