Hangul
Overview
 
Hangul,Pronounced icon or ˈ; Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl haːn.ɡɯl (in South Korea) or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul tɕosʌnɡɯl (in North Korea)
the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

 of the Korean language
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

. It is a separate script from Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

, the logographic
Logogram
A logogram, or logograph, is a grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme . This stands in contrast to phonograms, which represent phonemes or combinations of phonemes, and determinatives, which mark semantic categories.Logograms are often commonly known also as "ideograms"...

 Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean. It was created in the mid-15th century, and is now the official script
Writing system
A writing system is a symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language.-General properties:Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that the reader must usually understand something of the associated spoken language to...

 of both North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 and is co-official in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture
Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture
Yanbian is a Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province, in Northeastern China, above the border with North Korea. Yanbian is bordered to the north by Heilongjiang, on the west by Baishan City and Jilin City, on the south by North Hamgyong Province of North Korea, and on the east by Primorsky...

 of Jilin
Jilin
Jilin , is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west...

 Province, People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

.

Hangul is a true alphabet of 24 consonant and vowel letters.
Encyclopedia
Hangul,Pronounced icon or ˈ; Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl haːn.ɡɯl (in South Korea) or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul tɕosʌnɡɯl (in North Korea)
the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

 of the Korean language
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

. It is a separate script from Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

, the logographic
Logogram
A logogram, or logograph, is a grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme . This stands in contrast to phonograms, which represent phonemes or combinations of phonemes, and determinatives, which mark semantic categories.Logograms are often commonly known also as "ideograms"...

 Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean. It was created in the mid-15th century, and is now the official script
Writing system
A writing system is a symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language.-General properties:Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that the reader must usually understand something of the associated spoken language to...

 of both North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 and is co-official in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture
Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture
Yanbian is a Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province, in Northeastern China, above the border with North Korea. Yanbian is bordered to the north by Heilongjiang, on the west by Baishan City and Jilin City, on the south by North Hamgyong Province of North Korea, and on the east by Primorsky...

 of Jilin
Jilin
Jilin , is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west...

 Province, People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

.

Hangul is a true alphabet of 24 consonant and vowel letters. However, instead of being written sequentially like the letters of the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

, Hangul letters are grouped into blocks, such as 한 han; each of these blocks transcribes a syllable
Syllable
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

. That is, although 한 may look like a single character, it is composed of three distinct letters: ㅎ h, ㅏ a, and ㄴ n. Each Hangul block consists of two to five letters, including at least one consonant
Consonant
In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the tongue; , pronounced in the throat; and ,...

 and one vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

. These blocks are then arranged either horizontally from left to right or vertically from top to bottom. The theoretical total number of different blocks is calculated as 11,172, though far fewer are actually in regular use. For a phonological description, see Korean phonology
Korean phonology
This article is a technical description of the phonetics and phonology of Korean.Korean has many allophones, so it is important here to distinguish morphophonemics from corresponding phonemes and allophones .-Consonants:The following are phonemic transcriptions of Korean consonants.# are voiced ...

.

Official names

  • The modern name Hangul was coined by Ju Sigyeong
    Ju Sigyeong
    Ju Si-gyeong was one of the founders of modern Korean linguistics. He was born in Bongsan County , Hwanghae Province. He and his students helped standardize the Korean language, based spelling and grammar of the vernacular.He studied the Classical Chinese from his childhood...

     in 1912. Han meant "great" in archaic Korean, while geul is the native Korean word for "script". Han could also be understood as the Sino-Korean word 韓 "Korean", so that the name can be read "Korean script" as well as "great script". is pronounced hanɡɯl and has been romanized in the following ways:
    • Hangeul or han-geul in the Revised Romanization of Korean
      Revised Romanization of Korean
      The Revised Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea proclaimed by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, replacing the older McCune–Reischauer system...

      , which the South Korea
      South Korea
      The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

      n government uses in all English publications and encourages for all purposes.
    • Han'gŭl in the McCune–Reischauer system. When used as an English word, it is often rendered without the diacritic
      Diacritic
      A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

      s: hangul, often capitalized as Hangul. This is how it appears in many English dictionaries.
    • Hankul in Yale Romanization
      Yale Romanization
      The Yale romanizations are four systems created at Yale University for romanizing the four East Asian languages of Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Japanese...

      , a system recommended for technical linguistic studies.
  • North Korea
    North Korea
    The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

    ns prefer to call it Chosŏn'gŭl , for reasons related to the different names of Korea
    Names of Korea
    There are various names of Korea in use today, derived from ancient kingdoms and dynasties. The modern English name Korea is an exonym derived from the Goryeo period and is used by both North Korea and South Korea in international contexts...

    .
  • The original name was Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음; 訓民正音; see history). Due to objections to the names Hangeul, Chosŏn'gŭl, and urigeul (우리글) (see below) by Koreans in China, the otherwise uncommon short form jeongeum may be used as a neutral name in some international contexts.

Other names

Until the early twentieth century, Hangeul was denigrated as vulgar by the literate elite who preferred the traditional hanja writing system. They gave it such names as:
  • Achimgeul (아침글 "writing you can learn within a morning")
  • Gungmun (Hangul: 국문, hanja: "national script")
  • Eonmun (Hangul: 언문, hanja: "vernacular script")
  • Amgeul (암글 "women's script"; also written Amkeul 암클). Am (암) is a prefix that signifies a noun is feminine
  • Ahaetgeul or Ahaegeul (아햇글 or 아해글 "children's script")


However, these names are now archaic, as the use of hanja in writing has become very rare in South Korea and completely phased out in North Korea.

History

Hangul was promulgated by Sejong the Great, the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty
Joseon Dynasty
Joseon , was a Korean state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Goryeo at what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul...

. The Hall of Worthies
Hall of Worthies
The Hall of Worthies or Jiphyeonjeon ' was set up by Sejong the Great of the Korean Joseon Dynasty in 1420. It consisted of scholars selected by the king....

 (Jiphyeonjeon, 집현전) is often credited for the work.

The project was completed in late December 1443 or January 1444, and described in 1446 in a document titled Hunmin Jeongeum
Hunmin Jeongeum
Hunminjeongeum is a document describing an entirely new and native script for the Korean language. The script was initially named after the publication, but later came to be known as hangul...

("The Proper Sounds for the Education of the People"), after which the alphabet itself was named. The publication date of the Hunmin Jeong-eum, October 9, became Hangul Day
Hangul Day
Hangul Day — also called Hangul Proclamation Day or Korean Alphabet Day — is a Korean national commemorative day marking the invention and the proclamation of hangul , the native alphabet of the Korean language, by King Sejong the Great. It is observed on October 9 in South Korea and on...

 in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

. Its North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n equivalent is on January 15.

Various speculations about the creation process were put to rest by the discovery in 1940 of the 1446 Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye
Hunmin Jeongeum Haerye
Hunminjeongeum Haerye , also called the Haerye Edition of Hunminjeongeum or simply The Haerye, is a commentary on the Hunminjeongeum, the original promulgation of hangul.It was written by scholars from the Jiphyeonjeon , commissioned by King Sejong the...

("Hunmin Jeong-eum Explanation and Examples"). This document explains the design of the consonant letters according to articulatory phonetics
Articulatory phonetics
The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics. In studying articulation, phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of different physiological structures....

 and the vowel letters according to the principles of yin and yang
Yin and yang
In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang , which is often referred to in the West as "yin and yang", is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only...

 and vowel harmony
Vowel harmony
Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels that occurs in some languages. In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other....

.

In explaining the need for the new script, King Sejong explained that the Korean language was fundamentally different from Chinese; using Chinese characters (known as hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

) to write was so difficult for the common people that only privileged aristocrats (yangban
Yangban
The yangban were part of the traditional ruling class or nobles of dynastic Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The yangban were either landed or unlanded aristocracy who comprised the Korean Confucian idea of a "scholarly official." In reality, they were basically administrators and bureaucrats who...

)
, usually male, could read and write fluently. The majority of Koreans were effectively illiterate before the invention of Hangul.

Hangul was designed so that even a commoner could learn to read and write; the Haerye says "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days."

Hangul faced opposition by the literary elite, such as Choe Manri
Choe Manri
Choe Manri was a deputy minister for education in the Hall of Worthies who spoke against the creation of hangul together with other Confucian scholars in 1444. He made the following submission that year to King Sejong against hangul:-His protest against Hangul:-References:...

 and other Korean Confucian scholars in the 1440s, who believed hanja to be the only legitimate writing system, and perhaps saw hangul as a threat to their status. However, it entered popular culture as Sejong had intended, being used especially by women and writers of popular fiction. It was effective enough at disseminating information among the uneducated that Yeonsangun
Yeonsangun of Joseon
Yeonsan-gun , born Yi Yung, was the 10th king of Korea's Joseon Dynasty. He was the eldest son of Seongjong by his second wife, Lady Yoon. He is often considered the worst tyrant in Joseon Dynasty, notorious for launching two bloody purges of the seonbi elite...

, the paranoid tenth king, forbade the study or use of Hangul and banned Hangul documents in 1504,
and King Jungjong
Jungjong of Joseon
Jungjong of Joseon , born Yi Yeok, ruled during the 16th century in what is now Korea. He succeeded his half-brother, Yeonsangun, because of the latter's tyranical misrule, which culminated in a coup placing Jungjong on the throne.-Jo Gwang-jo's reforms:On the day Yeonsangun was deposed, soldiers...

 abolished the Ministry of Eonmun (언문청 諺文廳, governmental institution related to Hangul research) in 1506.

The late 16th century, however, saw a revival of Hangul, with gasa
Gasa (poetry)
Gasa was a form of poetry popular during the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. They were commonly sung, and were popular among yangban women. Jeong Cheol, a poet of the 16th century, is regarded as having perfected the form, which consisted of parallel lines, each broken into two four-syllable units...

literature and later sijo
Sijo
Sijo is a Korean poetic form. Bucolic, metaphysical and cosmological themes are often explored. The three lines average 14-16 syllables, for a total of 44-46: theme ; elaboration ; counter-theme and completion [Ibid., Rutt, pp. 10 ff]...

flourishing. In the 17th century, Hangul novels became a major genre. By this point spelling had become quite irregular.

The first book using hangul in the West was brought to Europe by Isaac Titsingh
Isaac Titsingh
Isaac Titsingh FRS was a Dutch surgeon, scholar, merchant-trader and ambassador.During a long career in East Asia, Titsingh was a senior official of the Dutch East India Company . He represented the European trading company in exclusive official contact with Tokugawa Japan...

 in 1796. His small library included by Hayashi Shihei
Hayashi Shihei
was a Japanese military scholar and a retainer of the Sendai Domain.His name is sometimes misread as Rin Shihei....

. This book, which was published in Japan in 1785, described the Joseon Kingdom and hangul. In 1832, the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland supported the posthumous abridged publication of Titsingh's French translation.

Due to growing Korean nationalism
Korean nationalism
Korean nationalism refers to nationalism among the Korean people. In the Korean context, this encompasses various of movements throughout history to maintain the Korean cultural identity, history, and ethnicity.-History:...

 in the 19th century, Japan's attempt to sever Korea from China's sphere of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

, and the Gabo Reform
Gabo Reform
The Gabo Reform describes a series of sweeping reforms introduced in Joseon Dynasty Korea beginning in 1894 and ending in 1896, during the reign of King Gojong, in response to the Donghak Peasant Revolution. Historians debate the degree of Japanese influence in this program, as well as its effect...

ists' push, Hangul was adopted in official documents for the first time in 1894. Elementary school texts began using Hangul in 1895, and the Dongnip Sinmun, established in 1896, was the first newspaper printed in both Hangul and English. Still, the literary elites continued to use Chinese characters, and the majority of Koreans remained illiterate at this period.

During Colonial Rule
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....

 in 1910, Japanese became the official language. However, Hangul was taught in the Korean-established schools of colonial Korea built after the annexation, and Korean was written in a mixed Hanja-Hangul script, where most lexical roots were written in Hanja and grammatical forms in Hangul. Japan had banned earlier Korean literature, and public schooling became mandatory for children. For the majority of Koreans in those times, this was their first time learning Hangul. The orthography was partially standardized in 1912, with arae a restricted to Sino-Korean, the emphatic consonants written ㅺ sg,sd,sb,ss,sj, and final consonants restricted to ㄱ g,n,l,m,b,s,ng,lg,lm,lb (no ㄷ d, as it was replaced by s). Long vowels were marked by a diacritic dot to the left of the syllable, but this was dropped in 1921.

A second colonial reform occurred in 1930. Arae a was abolished; the emphatic consonants were changed to ㄲ gg,dd,bb,ss,jj; more final consonants (ㄷㅈㅌㅊㅍㄲㄳㄵㄾㄿㅄ) were allowed, making the orthography more morphophonemic; ㅆ ss was written alone (without a vowel) when it occurred between nouns; and the nominative particle 가 ga was introduced after vowels, replacing ㅣ i. (ㅣ i had been written without an ㅇ iung. The nominative particle had been unvarying i in Sejong's day, and perhaps up to the eighteenth or nineteenth century.)

Ju Sigyeong
Ju Sigyeong
Ju Si-gyeong was one of the founders of modern Korean linguistics. He was born in Bongsan County , Hwanghae Province. He and his students helped standardize the Korean language, based spelling and grammar of the vernacular.He studied the Classical Chinese from his childhood...

, who had coined the term Hangul "great script" to replace eonmun "vulgar script" in 1912, established the Korean Language Research Society (朝鮮語研究會; later renamed Hangul Society, 한글學會) which further reformed orthography with Standardized System of Hangul (한글 맞춤법 통일안) in 1933. The principal change was to make Hangul as morphophonemic as practical given the existing letters. A system for transliterating foreign orthographies was published in 1940.

However, the Korean language was banned from schools in 1938 as part of a policy of cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

, and all Korean-language publications were outlawed in 1941.

The definitive modern orthography was published in 1946, just after independence from colonial rule. In 1948 North Korea attempted to make the script perfectly morphophonemic through the addition of new letters, and in 1953 Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee or Yi Seungman was the first president of South Korea. His presidency, from August 1948 to April 1960, remains controversial, affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere. Rhee was regarded as an anti-Communist and a strongman, and he led South Korea through the...

 in South Korea attempted to simplify the orthography by returning to the colonial orthography of 1921, but both reforms were abandoned after only a few years.

Both Koreas have used Hangul or mixed Hangul as their sole official writing system, with ever-decreasing use of hanja. Since the 1950s, it has become uncommon to find hanja in commercial or unofficial writing in the South, with some South Korean newspapers only using hanja as abbreviations or disambiguation of homonyms. There has been widespread debate as to the future of hanja in South Korea. North Korea instated Hangul as its exclusive writing system in 1949, and banned the use of hanja completely.

The Hunminjeongeum Society in Seoul attempts to spread the use of Hangul to unwritten languages of Asia. In 2009, Hangul was unofficially adopted by the town of Bau-Bau
Bau-Bau
Bau-Bau or Bau-bau is the main city on Buton island, Indonesia. Bau-Bau reached the city status on 21 June 2001, based on the Indonesian law number 13, year 2001...

, in Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, to write the Cia-Cia language
Cia-Cia language
The Cia-Cia language , also known as South Buton, is an Austronesian language spoken principally around the town of Bau-Bau on the southern tip of Buton Island off the southeast coast of Sulawesi in Indonesia....

. A number of Indonesian Cia-Cia speakers who visited Seoul generated large media attention in South Korea, and they were greeted on their arrival by Oh Se-hoon
Oh Se-hoon
Oh Se-hoon was the Mayor of Seoul between 2006 and August 26, 2011. On June 3, 2010, Oh was reelected as the Mayor of Seoul but resigned after losing a referendum on the Seoul Free Lunch Referendum.. Oh is a member of the Grand National Party.-Personal history:Oh was born in Seongdong-gu...

, the mayor of Seoul
Mayor of Seoul
The mayor of Seoul is the head of government for Seoul, the capital and largest city of South Korea. The position is traditionally considered one of the most powerful in the country. Many Seoul mayors have gone on to hold ministerial office...

.

Letters

Hangul letters and digraph
Digraph
Digraph may refer to:* Digraph , a pair of characters used together to represent a single sound, such as "sh" in English* Typographical ligature, the joining of two letters as a single glyph, such as "æ"...

s are called jamo (자모; 字母
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

) or natsori (낱소리).Ja means letter or character, and mo means mother, so the name suggests that the jamo are the building-blocks of the script. There are 24 letters and 27 digraphs (and sometimes trigraph
Trigraph
A trigraph is a group of three symbols, most commonly letters.Trigraph can mean:-Computing:* Digraphs and trigraphs, groups of characters used to symbolise one character...

s) formed from these letters in the modern alphabet. Of the letters, fourteen are consonants (ja-eum 자음, 子音 "child sounds") and ten are vowels (mo-eum 모음, 母音 "mother sounds"). Five of the consonants are doubled to form the five "tense" (faucalized
Faucalized voice
Faucalized voice, also called hollow or yawny voice, is the production of speech sounds with an expanded laryngeal cavity. It contrasts with harsh voice, in which the larynx is compressed....

) consonants of Korean (see below), while another eleven sequences are formed of two different consonants. The ten vowel letters are combined into eleven sequences for diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s.

The following letters and sequences are found:
  • 14 consonant letters: 1. ㄱ (g); 2. ㄴ (n); 3. ㄷ (d); 4. ㄹ (l/r); 5. ㅁ (m); 6. ㅂ (b); 7. ㅅ (s); 8. ㅇ (-/ng); 9. ㅈ (j); 10. ㅊ (ch); 11. ㅋ (k); 12. ㅌ (t); 13.ㅍ (p); 14. ㅎ (h).


There are also 13 obsolete consonants: ᄛ, ㅱ, ㅸ, ᄼ, ᄾ, ㅿ (alveolar), ㆁ (velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

), ᅎ, ᅐ, ᅔ, ᅕ, ㆄ, ㆆ.
  • 5 double ("tense") consonants: 1. ㄲ (kk); 2. ㄸ (tt); 3. ㅃ (pp); 4. ㅆ (ss); 5. ㅉ (jj).


In addition, there are 10 obsolete double consonants: ㅥ, ᄙ, ㅹ, ᄽ, ᄿ, ᅇ, ᇮ, ᅏ, ᅑ, ㆅ.
  • 11 consonant cluster
    Consonant cluster
    In linguistics, a consonant cluster is a group of consonants which have no intervening vowel. In English, for example, the groups and are consonant clusters in the word splits....

    s: 1. ㄳ (gs); 2. ㄵ (nj); 3. ㄶ (nh); 4. ㄺ (lg); 5. ㄻ (lm); 6. ㄼ (lb); 7. ㄽ (ls); 8. ㄾ (lt); 9. ㄿ (lp); 10. ㅀ (lh); 11. ㅄ (bs).


There are also 66 obsolete clusters of two consonants: ᇃ, ᄓ, ㅦ, ᄖ, ㅧ, ㅨ, ᇉ, ᄗ, ᇋ, ᄘ, ㅪ, ㅬ, ᇘ, ㅭ, ᇚ, ᇛ, ㅮ, ㅯ, ㅰ, ᇠ, ᇡ, ㅲ, ᄟ, ㅳ, ᇣ, ㅶ, ᄨ, ㅷ, ᄪ, ᇥ, ㅺ, ㅻ, ㅼ, ᄰ, ᄱ, ㅽ, ᄵ, ㅾ, ᄷ, ᄸ, ᄹ, ᄺ, ᄻ, ᅁ, ᅂ, ᅃ, ᅄ, ᅅ, ᅆ, ᅈ, ᅉ, ᅊ, ᅋ, ᇬ, ᇭ, ㆂ, ㆃ, ᇯ, ᅍ, ᅒ, ᅓ, ᅖ, ᇵ, ᇶ, ᇷ, ᇸ,
and 17 of three consonants: ᇄ, ㅩ, ᇏ, ᇑ, ᇒ, ㅫ, ᇔ, ᇕ, ᇖ, ᇞ, ㅴ, ㅵ, ᄤ, ᄥ, ᄦ, ᄳ, ᄴ.
  • 6 vowel letters: 1. ㅏ (a); 2. ㅓ (eo); 3. ㅗ (o); 4. ㅜ (u); 5. ㅡ (eu); 6. ㅣ (i)

plus obsolete ㆍ
  • 4 iotized
    Iotation
    Iotation is a linguistic phenomenon very characteristic of the Slavic languages. It should not be confused with palatalization, which is an entirely different process....

     vowel letters (semivowel–vowel): 1. ㅑ (ya); 2. ㅕ (yeo); 3. ㅛ (yo); 4. ㅠ (yu)

plus obsolete ᆜ, ᆝ, ᆢ
  • 11 diphthongs: 1. ㅐ (ae); 2. ㅒ (yae); 3. ㅔ (e); 4. ㅖ (ye); 5. ㅘ (wa); 6. ㅙ (wae); 7. ㅚ (oe); 8. ㅝ (wo); 9. ㅞ (we); 10. ㅟ (wi); 11. ㅢ (yi).


There are also 41 obsolete diphthongs: ᅷ, ᅸ, ᅹ, ᅺ, ᅻ, ᅼ, ᅽ, ᅾ, ᅿ, ᆀ, ᆁ, ᆂ, ᆃ, ㆇ, ㆈ, ᆆ, ᆇ, ㆉ, ᆉ, ᆊ, ᆋ, ᆌ, ᆍ, ᆎ, ᆏ, ᆐ, ㆊ, ㆋ, ᆓ, ㆌ, ᆕ, ᆖ, ᆗ, ᆘ, ᆙ, ᆚ, ᆛ, ᆟ, ᆠ, ㆎ.

Notes:
  • The four iotated vowels are derived by adding a short stroke to the basic vowel. They are counted as part of the 24 letters of the alphabet because the iotating stroke is not a letter on its own. In fact, there is no letter for y in Hangul.
  • Of the consonants, ㅊ chieut,kieuk,tieut, and ㅍ pieup are aspirated
    Aspiration (phonetics)
    In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin ...

     derivatives of ㅈ zieut,giyeok,digeut, and ㅂ bieup, respectively, formed by adding an extra stroke to the unaspirated letters. These are also counted as separate letters of the alphabet, as the aspirating stroke is not a letter on its own.
  • The doubled consonants, which are used in South Korea, are also counted as separate letters of the alphabet. In North Korea, their sounds are written by combining ㅅ s with the basic consonant: ㅺ, ㅼ, ㅽ, ㅆ, ㅾ

Stroke order

All hangul letters follow the rules of Korean and Chinese calligraphy. ㅇ and ㅎ use a circle, which is not used in printed Chinese characters, but is found in cursive styles.
For the iotized vowels, which are not shown, the short stroke is simply doubled.

Letter design

Numerous linguists have praised Hangul for its featural design, describing it as "remarkable", "the most perfect phonetic system devised", and "brilliant, so deliberately does it fit the language like a glove." The principal reason Hangul has attracted this praise is its partially featural
Featural alphabet
A featural alphabet is an alphabet wherein the shapes of the letters are not arbitrary, but encode phonological features of the phonemes they represent. The term featural was introduced by Geoffrey Sampson to describe Hangul and Pitman Shorthand...

 design: The shapes of the letters are related to the features of the sounds they represent: The letters for consonants pronounced in the same place in the mouth are built on the same underlying shape. In addition, vowels are made from vertical or horizontal lines so that they are easily distinguishable from consonants.

Scripts may transcribe languages at the level of morpheme
Morpheme
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...

s (logographic scripts
Logogram
A logogram, or logograph, is a grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme . This stands in contrast to phonograms, which represent phonemes or combinations of phonemes, and determinatives, which mark semantic categories.Logograms are often commonly known also as "ideograms"...

 like hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

),
of syllable
Syllable
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

s (syllabic scripts like kana
Kana
Kana are the syllabic Japanese scripts, as opposed to the logographic Chinese characters known in Japan as kanji and the Roman alphabet known as rōmaji...

),
or of segment
Segment (linguistics)
In linguistics , the term segment may be defined as "any discrete unit that can be identified, either physically or auditorily, in the stream of speech."- Classifying speech units :...

s (alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

ic scripts like the Roman alphabet used to write English and many other languages.). Hangul goes one step further in some cases, using distinct strokes to indicate distinctive feature
Distinctive feature
In linguistics, a distinctive feature is the most basic unit of phonological structure that may be analyzed in phonological theory.Distinctive features are grouped into categories according to the natural classes of segments they describe: major class features, laryngeal features, manner features,...

s such as place of articulation
Place of articulation
In articulatory phonetics, the place of articulation of a consonant is the point of contact where an obstruction occurs in the vocal tract between an articulatory gesture, an active articulator , and a passive location...

 (labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

, coronal
Coronal consonant
Coronal consonants are consonants articulated with the flexible front part of the tongue. Only the coronal consonants can be divided into apical , laminal , domed , or subapical , as well as a few rarer orientations, because only the front of the tongue has such...

, velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

, or glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

) and manner of articulation
Manner of articulation
In linguistics, manner of articulation describes how the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs are involved in making a sound. Often the concept is only used for the production of consonants, even though the movement of the articulars will also greatly alter the resonant properties of the...

 (plosive, nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

, sibilant
Sibilant consonant
A sibilant is a manner of articulation of fricative and affricate consonants, made by directing a stream of air with the tongue towards the sharp edge of the teeth, which are held close together. Examples of sibilants are the consonants at the beginning of the English words sip, zip, ship, chip,...

, aspiration
Aspiration (phonetics)
In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin ...

) for consonants, and iotation
Iotation
Iotation is a linguistic phenomenon very characteristic of the Slavic languages. It should not be confused with palatalization, which is an entirely different process....

 (a preceding i- sound), harmonic class
Vowel harmony
Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels that occurs in some languages. In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other....

, and I-mutation
I-mutation
I-mutation is an important type of sound change, more precisely a category of regressive metaphony, in which a back vowel is fronted, and/or a front vowel is raised, if the following syllable contains /i/, /ī/ or /j/ I-mutation (also known as umlaut, front mutation, i-umlaut, i/j-mutation or...

 for vowels.

For instance, the consonant ㅌ t [tʰ] is composed of three strokes, each one meaningful: the top stroke indicates ㅌ is a plosive, like ㆆ ’,g,d,j, which have the same stroke (the last is an affricate
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

, a plosive–fricative sequence); the middle stroke indicates that ㅌ is aspirated, like ㅎ h,k,ch, which also have this stroke; and the curved bottom stroke indicates that ㅌ is alveolar, like ㄴ n,d, and ㄹ l. (This element is said to represent the shape of the tongue when pronouncing coronal consonants, though this is not certain.) Two consonants, ㆁ and ㅱ, have dual pronunciations, and appear to be composed of two elements corresponding to these two pronunciations: [ŋ]~silence for ㆁ and [m]~[w] for obsolete ㅱ.

With vowel letters, a short stroke connected to the main line of the letter indicates that this is one of the vowels that can be iotated; this stroke is then doubled when the vowel is iotated. The position of the stroke indicates which harmonic class the vowel belongs to, "light"
Yin and yang
In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang , which is often referred to in the West as "yin and yang", is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only...

 (top or right) or "dark"
Yin and yang
In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang , which is often referred to in the West as "yin and yang", is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only...

 (bottom or left). In the modern alphabet, an additional vertical stroke indicates i-mutation
I-mutation
I-mutation is an important type of sound change, more precisely a category of regressive metaphony, in which a back vowel is fronted, and/or a front vowel is raised, if the following syllable contains /i/, /ī/ or /j/ I-mutation (also known as umlaut, front mutation, i-umlaut, i/j-mutation or...

, deriving ㅐ [ɛ], ㅔ [e], ㅚ [ø], and ㅟ [y] from ㅏ [a], ㅓ [ʌ], ㅗ [o], and ㅜ [u]. However, this is not part of the intentional design of the script, but rather a natural development from what were originally diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s ending in the vowel ㅣ [i]. Indeed, in many Korean dialects, including the standard dialect of Seoul
Seoul dialect
The Seoul dialect is the basis of the standard language of Korean in South Korea. It is spoken in the Seoul National Capital Area, which includes Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi. The dialect does not merely mean 'a standard accent'. The exact form of the South Korea's standard accent is that of...

, some of these may still be diphthongs.

Although the design of the script may be featural, for all practical purposes it behaves as an alphabet. The letter ㅌ isn't read as three letters alveolar aspirated plosive, for instance, but as a single consonant t. Likewise, the former diphthong ㅔ is read as a single vowel e.

Beside the letters, Hangul originally employed diacritic marks to indicate pitch accent
Pitch accent
Pitch accent is a linguistic term of convenience for a variety of restricted tone systems that use variations in pitch to give prominence to a syllable or mora within a word. The placement of this tone or the way it is realized can give different meanings to otherwise similar words...

. A syllable with a high pitch (거성) was marked with a dot (ჿᅠᆧ〮) to the left of it (when writing vertically); a syllable with a rising pitch (상성) was marked with a double dot, like a colon (ჿᅠᆧ〯). These are no longer used. Although vowel length
Vowel length
In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. Often the chroneme, or the "longness", acts like a consonant, and may etymologically be one, such as in Australian English. While not distinctive in most dialects of English, vowel length is an important phonemic factor in...

 is still phonemic in Korean, it is no longer written.

Although some aspects of Hangul reflect a shared history with the Phagspa script
Phagspa script
The Phags-pa script was an alphabet designed by the Tibetan Lama 'Gro-mgon Chos-rgyal 'Phags-pa for Yuan emperor Kublai Khan, as a unified script for the literary languages of the Yuan Dynasty....

, and thus Indic
Brahmic family
The Brahmic or Indic scripts are a family of abugida writing systems. They are used throughout South Asia , Southeast Asia, and parts of Central and East Asia, and are descended from the Brāhmī script of the ancient Indian subcontinent...

 phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

, such as the relationships among the homorganic letters and the alphabetic principle
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

 itself, other aspects such as organization of letters into syllabic blocks, and which Phagspa letters were chosen to be basic to the system, reflect the influence of Chinese writing and phonology (see below).

Consonant design

The consonant letters fall into five homorganic groups, each with a basic shape, and one or more letters derived from this shape by means of additional strokes. In the Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye account, the basic shapes iconically represent the articulations the tongue
Tongue
The tongue is a muscular hydrostat on the floors of the mouths of most vertebrates which manipulates food for mastication. It is the primary organ of taste , as much of the upper surface of the tongue is covered in papillae and taste buds. It is sensitive and kept moist by saliva, and is richly...

, palate
Palate
The palate is the roof of the mouth in humans and other mammals. It separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. A similar structure is found in crocodilians, but, in most other tetrapods, the oral and nasal cavities are not truly separate. The palate is divided into two parts, the anterior...

, teeth, and throat
Throat
In vertebrate anatomy, the throat is the anterior part of the neck, in front of the vertebral column. It consists of the pharynx and larynx...

 take when making these sounds.
Simple Aspirated Tense
palatal
velar
coronal
bilabial
fricatives

The Korean names for the groups are taken from Chinese phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

:
  • Velar consonant
    Velar consonant
    Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

    s (아음, 牙音 a-eum "molar sounds")
    • g [k], ㅋ k [kʰ]
    • Basic shape: ㄱ is a side view of the back of the tongue raised toward the velum (soft palate). (For illustration, access the external link below.) ㅋ is derived from ㄱ with a stroke for the burst of aspiration.
  • Coronal consonant
    Coronal consonant
    Coronal consonants are consonants articulated with the flexible front part of the tongue. Only the coronal consonants can be divided into apical , laminal , domed , or subapical , as well as a few rarer orientations, because only the front of the tongue has such...

    s (설음, 舌音 seoreum "lingual sounds"):
    • n [n], ㄷ d [t], ㅌ t [tʰ], ㄹ r [ɾ, l]
    • Basic shape: ㄴ is a side view of the tip of the tongue raised toward the alveolar ridge
      Alveolar ridge
      An alveolar ridge is one of the two jaw ridges either on the roof of the mouth between the upper teeth and the hard palate or on the bottom of the mouth behind the lower teeth. The alveolar ridges contain the sockets of the teeth....

       (gum ridge). The letters derived from ㄴ are pronounced with the same basic articulation. The line topping ㄷ represents firm contact with the roof of the mouth. The middle stroke of ㅌ represents the burst of aspiration. The top of ㄹ represents a flap
      Flap consonant
      In phonetics, a flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, which is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator is thrown against another.-Contrast with stops and trills:...

       of the tongue.
  • Bilabial consonant
    Bilabial consonant
    In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. The bilabial consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

    s (순음, 唇音 suneum "labial sounds"):
    • m [m], ㅂ b [p], ㅍ p [pʰ]
    • Basic shape: ㅁ represents the outline of the lips in contact with each other. The top of ㅂ represents the release burst of the b. The top stroke of ㅍ is for the burst of aspiration.
  • Sibilant consonant
    Sibilant consonant
    A sibilant is a manner of articulation of fricative and affricate consonants, made by directing a stream of air with the tongue towards the sharp edge of the teeth, which are held close together. Examples of sibilants are the consonants at the beginning of the English words sip, zip, ship, chip,...

    s (치음, 齒音 chieum "dental sounds"):
    • ㅅ s [s], ㅈ z/j [tɕ], ㅊ ch [tɕʰ]
    • Basic shape: ㅅ was originally shaped like a wedge , without the serif
      Serif
      In typography, serifs are semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface . A typeface without serifs is called sans serif or sans-serif, from the French sans, meaning “without”...

       on top. It represents a side view of the teeth. The line topping ㅈ represents firm contact with the roof of the mouth. The stroke topping ㅊ represents an additional burst of aspiration.
  • Dorsal consonant
    Dorsal consonant
    Dorsal consonants are articulated with the mid body of the tongue . They contrast with coronal consonants articulated with the flexible front of the tongue, and radical consonants articulated with the root of the tongue.-Function:...

    s (후음, 喉音 hueum "throat sounds"):
    • ng [ʔ, ŋ], ㅎ h [h]
    • Basic shape: ㅇ is an outline of the throat. Originally ㅇ was two letters, a simple circle for silence (null consonant), and a circle topped by a vertical line, ㆁ, for the nasal ng. A now obsolete letter, ㆆ, represented a glottal stop
      Glottal stop
      The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English, the feature is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or [[ʻokina]] in Hawaii among those using a preservative pronunciation of...

      , which is pronounced in the throat and had closure represented by the top line, like ㄱㄷㅈ. Derived from ㆆ is ㅎ, in which the extra stroke represents a burst of aspiration.


The phonetic theory inherent in the derivation of glottal stop ㆆ and aspirate ㅎ from the null ㅇ may be more accurate than Chinese phonetics or modern IPA usage. In Chinese theory and in the IPA, the glottal consonants are posited as having a specific "glottal" place of articulation. However, recent phonetic theory has come to view the glottal stop and [h] to be isolated features of 'stop' and 'aspiration' without an inherent place of articulation, just as their Hangul representations based on the null symbol assume.

Vowel design

Vowel letters are based on three elements:
  • A horizontal line representing the flat Earth, the essence of yin
    Yin and yang
    In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang , which is often referred to in the West as "yin and yang", is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only...

    .
  • A point for the Sun in the heavens, the essence of yang
    Yin and yang
    In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang , which is often referred to in the West as "yin and yang", is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only...

    . (This becomes a short stroke when written with a brush.)
  • A vertical line for the upright Human, the neutral mediator between the Heaven and Earth.


Short strokes (dots in the earliest documents) were added to these three basic elements to derive the vowel letter:
Simple vowels
  • Horizontal letters: these are mid-high back vowels.
    • bright ㅗ o
    • dark ㅜ u
    • neutral ㅡ eu (ŭ)
  • Vertical letters: these were once low vowels.
    • bright ㅏ a
    • dark ㅓ eo (ŏ)
    • neutral ㅣ i

Compound vowels: Hangul never had a w, except for Sino-Korean etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

. Since an o or u before an a or eo became a [w] sound, and [w] occurred nowhere else, [w] could always be analyzed as a phonemic
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

 o or u, and no letter for [w] was needed. However, vowel harmony is observed: "dark" ㅜ u with "dark" ㅓ eo for ㅝ wo; "bright" ㅗ o with "bright ㅏ a for ㅘ wa:
  • ㅘ wa = ㅗ o + ㅏ a
  • ㅝ wo = ㅜ u + ㅓ eo
  • ㅙ wae = ㅗ o + ㅐ ae
  • ㅞ we = ㅜ u + ㅔ e


The compound vowels ending in ㅣ i were originally diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s. However, several have since evolved into pure vowels:
  • ㅐ ae = ㅏ a + ㅣ i
  • ㅔ e = ㅓ eo + ㅣ i
  • ㅙ wae = ㅘ wa + ㅣ i
  • ㅚ oe = ㅗ o + ㅣ i (formerly pronounced [ø], see Korean phonology)
  • ㅞ we = ㅝ wo + ㅣ i
  • ㅟ wi = ㅜ u + ㅣ i (formerly pronounced [y], see Korean phonology)
  • ㅢ ui = ㅡ eu + ㅣ i


Iotized
Iotation
Iotation is a linguistic phenomenon very characteristic of the Slavic languages. It should not be confused with palatalization, which is an entirely different process....

 vowels: There is no letter for y. Instead, this sound is indicated by doubling the stroke attached to the base line of the vowel letter. Of the seven basic vowels, four could be preceded by a y sound, and these four were written as a dot next to a line. (Through the influence of Chinese calligraphy, the dots soon became connected to the line: ㅓㅏㅜㅗ.) A preceding y sound, called "iotation", was indicated by doubling this dot: ㅕㅑㅠㅛ yeo, ya, yu, yo. The three vowels that could not be iotated were written with a single stroke: ㅡㆍㅣ eu, (arae a), i.
Simple Iotized

The simple iotated vowels are,
  • ㅑ ya from ㅏ  a
  • ㅕ yeo from ㅓ  eo
  • ㅛ yo from ㅗ  o
  • ㅠ yu from ㅜ  u

There are also two iotated diphthongs,
  • ㅒ yae from ㅐ  ae
  • ㅖ ye from ㅔ  e


The Korean language of the 15th century had vowel harmony
Vowel harmony
Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels that occurs in some languages. In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other....

 to a greater extent than it does today. Vowels in grammatical morpheme
Morpheme
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...

s changed according to their environment, falling into groups that "harmonized" with each other. This affected the morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 of the language, and Korean phonology described it in terms of yin and yang: If a root word had yang ('bright') vowels, then most suffixes attached to it also had to have yang vowels; conversely, if the root had yin ('dark') vowels, the suffixes needed to be yin as well. There was a third harmonic group called "mediating" ('neutral' in Western terminology) that could coexist with either yin or yang vowels.

The Korean neutral vowel was ㅣ i. The yin vowels were ㅡㅜㅓ eu, u, eo; the dots are in the yin directions of 'down' and 'left'. The yang vowels were ㆍㅗㅏ ə, o, a, with the dots in the yang directions of 'up' and 'right'. The Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye states that the shapes of the non-dotted letters ㅡㆍㅣ were chosen to represent the concepts of yin, yang, and mediation: Earth, Heaven, and Human. (The letter ㆍ ə is now obsolete except in the Jeju dialect
Jeju dialect
Jeju dialect or Jeju language is the dialect used on the island of Jeju in Korea, with the exception of Chuja in the former Bukjeju County area of Jeju City. It differs greatly from the dialects of the mainland, and preserves many archaic words which have since been lost in other Korean dialects...

.)

There was yet a third parameter in designing the vowel letters, namely, choosing ㅡ as the graphic base of ㅜ and ㅗ, and ㅣ as the graphic base of ㅓ and ㅏ. A full understanding of what these horizontal and vertical groups had in common would require knowing the exact sound values these vowels had in the 15th century.

Our uncertainty is primarily with the three letters ㆍㅓㅏ. Some linguists reconstruct these as *a, *ɤ, *e, respectively; others as *ə, *e, *a. A third reconstruction is to make them all middle vowels as *ʌ, *ɤ, *a. With the third reconstruction, Middle Korean vowels actually line up in a tidy vowel harmony pattern, albeit with only one front vowel and four middle vowels:
 ㅣ *i  ㅡ *ɯ  ㅜ *u
 ㅓ *ɤ
 ㆍ *ʌ  ㅗ *o
 ㅏ *a


However, the horizontal letters ㅡㅜㅗ eu, u, o do all appear to have been mid to high back vowel
Back vowel
A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...

s, [*ɯ, *u, *o], and thus to have formed a coherent group phonetically in every reconstruction.

Traditional account

The generally accepted accountThe explanation of the origin of the shapes of the letters is provided within a section of Hunminjeongeum itself, 훈민정음 해례본 제자해 (Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon Jajahae or Hunminjeongeum, Chapter: Paraphrases and Examples, Section: Making of Letters), which states: 牙音ㄱ 象舌根閉喉之形. (아음(어금니 소리) ㄱ은 혀뿌리가 목구멍을 막는 모양을 본뜨고), 舌音ㄴ 象舌附上腭之形 ( 설음(혓 소리) ㄴ은 혀(끝)가 윗 잇몸에 붙는 모양을 본뜨고), 脣音ㅁ 象口形. ( 순음(입술소리) ㅁ은 입모양을 본뜨고), 齒音ㅅ 象齒形. ( 치음(잇 소리) ㅅ은 이빨 모양을 본뜨고) 象齒形. 喉音ㅇ. 象喉形 (목구멍 소리ㅇ은 목구멍의 꼴을 본뜬 것이다). ㅋ比ㄱ. 聲出稍 . 故加 . ㄴ而ㄷ. ㄷ而ㅌ. ㅁ而ㅂ. ㅂ而ㅍ. ㅅ而ㅈ. ㅈ而ㅊ. ㅇ而ㅡ. ㅡ而ㅎ. 其因聲加 之義皆同. 而唯 爲異 (ㅋ은ㄱ에 견주어 소리 남이 조금 세므로 획을 더한 것이고, ㄴ에서 ㄷ으로, ㄷ에서 ㅌ으로 함과, ㅁ에서 ㅂ으로 ㅂ에서 ㅍ으로 함과, ㅅ에서 ㅈ으로 ㅈ에서 ㅊ으로 함과, ㅇ에서 ㅡ으로 ㅡ에서 ㅎ으로 함도, 그 소리를 따라 획을 더한 뜻이 같다 . 오직 ㅇ자는 다르다.) 半舌音ㄹ. 半齒音. 亦象舌齒之形而異其體. (반혓소리ㄹ과, 반잇소리 '세모자'는 또한 혀와 이의 꼴을 본뜨되, 그 본을 달리하여 획을 더하는 뜻이 없다.) ... on the design of the letters is that the vowels are derived from various combinations of the following three components: ㆍ ㅡ ㅣ. Here, ㆍ symbolically stands for the (sun in) heaven, ㅡ stands for the (flat) earth, and ㅣ stands for an (upright) human. The original sequence of the Korean vowels, as stated in Hunminjeongeum, listed these three vowels first, followed by a various combinations. Thus, the original order for the vowels was: ㆍ ㅡ ㅣ ㅗ ㅏ ㅜ ㅓ ㅛ ㅑ ㅠ ㅕ. Note that two positive vowels (ㅗ ㅏ) including one ㆍ are followed by two negative vowels including one ㆍ, then by two positive vowels each including two of ㆍ, and then by two negative vowels each including two of ㆍ.
The same theory provides the most simple explanation of the shapes of the consonants as approximation of the shapes of the most representative organ needed to form that sound. The original order of the consonants in Hunmin Jeong-eum was: ㄱ ㅋ ㆁ ㄷ ㅌ ㄴ ㅂ ㅍ ㅁ ㅈ ㅊ ㅅ ㆆ ㅎ ㅇ ㄹ ㅿ. For example, ㄱ representing the "g" sound geometrically describes a tongue just before the moment of pronunciation as the tongue blocks the passage of air. ㅋ representing the "k" sound is derived from ㄱ by adding another stroke. ㆁ representing the "ŋ" sound may have been derived from ㅇ by addition of a stroke. ㄷ representing the "d" sound is derived from ㄴ by addition of a stroke. ㅌ representing the "t" sound is derived from ㄷ by adding another stroke. ㄴ representing the "n" sound geometrically describes a tongue making contact with an upper palate just before making the "n" sound. ㅂ representing the "b" sound is derived from ㅁ by adding strokes. ㅍ representing the "p" sound is a variant of ㅂ, which is obtained by a 90 degree rotation and extension the horizontal strokes. ㅁ representing the "m" sound geometrically describes a closed mouth before opening the lips. ㅈ representing the "dʒ" sound is derived from the shape of ㅅ by adding strokes. ㅊ representing the "ch" sound is derived from ㅈ by adding another stroke. ㅅ representing the "s" sound geometrically describes a near contact between the tongue and the teeth. ㆆ representing a weak "h" sound geometrically describes an open throat with a bar to indicate that there is an aspiration. ㅎ representing the "h" sound is derived from ㆆ with the extra stroke representing a stronger flow of the aspiration. ㅇ representing the absence of a consonant geometrically describes an open mouth, which necessarily accompanies the following vowel. ㄹ representing a sound between "r" and "l" geometrically describes a backward-bending tongue. ㅿ representing a weak "s" sound is also derived from the shape of the teeth, but has a different origin than ㅅ and is not derived from ㅅ by addition of a stroke.
Therefore, according to the standard theory, all alphabets in Hangul are pure geometric representations of either the shapes of pronunciation organs or abstract symbols. Ledyard's theory below is rejected by the majority of Korean scholars.

Ledyard's theory of consonant design

Although the Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye explains the design of the consonantal letters in terms of articulatory phonetics
Articulatory phonetics
The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics. In studying articulation, phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of different physiological structures....

, as a purely innovative creation, there are several theories as to which external sources may have inspired or influenced King Sejong's creation. Professor Gari Ledyard
Gari Ledyard
Gari Keith Ledyard is Sejong Professor of Korean History Emeritus at Columbia University. He is best known for his work on the history of the hangul alphabet.-Biography:...

 of Columbia University studied on possible connections between Hangul and the Mongol Phagspa script
Phagspa script
The Phags-pa script was an alphabet designed by the Tibetan Lama 'Gro-mgon Chos-rgyal 'Phags-pa for Yuan emperor Kublai Khan, as a unified script for the literary languages of the Yuan Dynasty....

 of the Yuan dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

. However, it should be noted that, against common misinterpretations of his study, Ledyard thought the role of Phags-pa script in the creation of Hangul was quite limited and he did not claim that Hangul was derived from the Phagspa script. Ledyard wrote in his doctoral thesis:

"...but it should be clear to any reader that in the total picture, that [Phagspa script's] role was quite limited ... Nothing would disturb me more, after this study is published, than to discover in a work on the history of writing a statement like the following: "According to recent investigations, the Korean alphabet was derived from the Mongol 'phags-pa script...""

A sixth basic letter, the null initial ㅇ, was invented by Sejong. The rest of the letters were derived internally from these six, essentially as described in the Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye. However, the five borrowed consonants were not the graphically simplest letters considered basic by the Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye, but instead the consonants basic to Chinese phonology: ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㅈ, and ㄹ.

The Hunmin Jeong-eum states that King Sejong adapted the 古篆 (" Seal Script") in creating Hangul. The 古篆 has never been identified. The primary meaning of 古 is "old" ("Old Seal Script"), frustrating philologists because Hangul bears no functional similarity to Chinese 篆字 seal script
Seal script
Seal script is an ancient style of Chinese calligraphy. It evolved organically out of the Zhōu dynasty script , arising in the Warring State of Qin...

s. However, Ledyard believes 古 may be a pun on 蒙古 Měnggǔ "Mongol", and that 古篆 is an abbreviation of 蒙古篆字 "Mongol Seal Script", that is, the formal variant of the Phagspa alphabet written to look like the Chinese seal script. There were Phagspa manuscripts in the Korean palace library, including some in the seal-script form, and several of Sejong's ministers knew the script well.

If this was the case, Sejong's evasion on the Mongol connection can be understood in light of Korea's relationship with Ming China after the fall of the Mongol Yuan dynasty, and of the literati's contempt for the Mongols as "barbarians".

According to Ledyard, the five borrowed letters were graphically simplified, which allowed for consonant clusters and left room to add a stroke to derive the aspirate plosives, ㅋㅌㅍㅊ. But in contrast to the traditional account, the non-plosives (ng ㄴㅁ and ㅅ) were derived by removing the top of the basic letters. He points out that while it's easy to derive ㅁ from ㅂ by removing the top, it's not clear how to derive ㅂ from ㅁ in the traditional account, since the shape of ㅂ is not analogous to those of the other plosives.

The explanation of the letter ng also differs from the traditional account. Many Chinese words began with ng, but by King Sejong's day, initial ng was either silent or pronounced [ŋ] in China, and was silent when these words were borrowed into Korean. Also, the expected shape of ng (the short vertical line left by removing the top stroke of ㄱ) would have looked almost identical to the vowel ㅣ [i]. Sejong's solution solved both problems: The vertical stroke left from ㄱ was added to the null symbol ㅇ to create ㆁ (a circle with a vertical line on top), iconically capturing both the pronunciation [ŋ] in the middle or end of a word, and the usual silence at the beginning. (The graphic distinction between null ㅇ and eng ㆁ was eventually lost.)

Another letter composed of two elements to represent two regional pronunciations was ㅱ, which transcribed the Chinese initial 微. This represented either m or w in various Chinese dialects, and was composed of ㅁ [m] plus ㅇ (from Phagspa [w]). In Phagspa, a loop under a letter represented w after vowels, and Ledyard proposes this became the loop at the bottom of ㅱ. Now, in Phagspa the Chinese initial 微 is also transcribed as a compound with w, but in its case the w is placed under an h. Actually, the Chinese consonant series 微非敷 w, v, f is transcribed in Phagspa by the addition of a w under three graphic variants of the letter for h, and Hangul parallels this convention by adding the w loop to the labial series ㅁㅂㅍ m, b, p, producing now-obsolete ㅱㅸㆄ w, v, f. (Phonetic values in Korean are uncertain, as these consonants were only used to transcribe Chinese.)

As a final piece of evidence, Ledyard notes that most of the borrowed Hangul letters were simple geometric shapes, at least originally, but that ㄷ d [t] always had a small lip protruding from the upper left corner, just as the Phagspa d [t] did. This lip can be traced back to the Tibetan letter d, ད.

Sorting order

The alphabetical order of Hangul does not mix consonants and vowels as the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek alphabets do. Rather, the order is that of the Indic type
Shiva Sutra
The Shiva Sutras or Māheshvara Sutras are fourteen verses that organize the phonemes of the Sanskrit language as referred to in the of , the foundational text of Sanskrit grammar...

, first velar consonants, then coronals, labials, sibilants, etc. However, the vowels come after the consonants rather than before them as in the Indic systems.

Historical orders

The consonantal order of the Hunmin Jeongeum in 1446 was,
ㄱ ㅋ ㆁ ㄷ ㅌ ㄴ ㅂ ㅍ ㅁ ㅈ ㅊ ㅅ ㆆ ㅎ ㅇ ㄹ ㅿ


and the order of vowels was,
ㆍ ㅡ ㅣ ㅗ ㅏ ㅜ ㅓ ㅛ ㅑ ㅠ ㅕ


In 1527, Choe Sejin reorganized the alphabet:
ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㆁ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅈ ㅊ ㅿ ㅇ ㅎ

ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ ㆍ


This is the basis of the modern alphabetic orders. It was before the development of the Korean tense consonants and the double letters that represent them, and before the conflation of the letters ㅇ (null) and ㆁ (ng). Thus when the South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

n and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n governments implemented full use of Hangul, they ordered these letters differently, with South Korea grouping similar letters together, and North Korea placing new letters at the end of the alphabet.

South Korean order

In the Southern order, double letters are placed immediately after their single counterparts. No distinction is made between silent and nasal ㅇ:
ㄱ ㄲ ㄴ ㄷ ㄸ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅃ ㅅ ㅆ ㅇ ㅈ ㅉ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ
ㅏ ㅐ ㅑ ㅒ ㅓ ㅔ ㅕ ㅖ ㅗ ㅘ ㅙ ㅚ ㅛ ㅜ ㅝ ㅞ ㅟ ㅠ ㅡ ㅢ ㅣ


The modern monophthong
Monophthong
A monophthong is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation....

al vowels come first, with the derived forms interspersed according to their form: first added i, then iotized, then iotized with added i. Diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s beginning with w are ordered according to their spelling, as ㅏ or ㅓ plus a second vowel, not as separate digraph
Digraph (orthography)
A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used to write one phoneme or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined...

s.

The order of the final letters is, ㄱ ㄲ ㄳ ㄴ ㄵ ㄶ ㄷ ㄹ ㄺ ㄻ ㄼ ㄽ ㄾ ㄿ ㅀ ㅁ ㅂ ㅄ ㅅ ㅆ ㅇ ㅈ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ

("None" means there is no final letter.)

North Korean order

North Korea maintains a more traditional order:
ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㅈ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅆ ㅉ ㅇ


ㅇ used as an initial, goes at the very end, as it is a placeholder for the vowels which follow. (A syllable with no final is ordered before all syllables with finals, however, not with null ㅇ.)

The new, double, letters are placed at the end of the consonants, just before the null ㅇ, so as not to alter the traditional order of the rest of the alphabet.

The order of the vowel letters is,
ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ ㅐ ㅒ ㅔ ㅖ ㅚ ㅟ ㅢ ㅘ ㅝ ㅙ ㅞ


All digraphs and trigraph
Trigraph (orthography)
A trigraph is a group of three letters used to represent a single sound or a combination of sounds that does not correspond to the written letters combined. For example, in the word schilling, the trigraph sch represents the voiceless postalveolar fricative , rather than the consonant cluster...

s, including the old diphthongs ㅐ and ㅔ, are placed after the simple vowels, again maintaining Choe's alphabetic order.

The order of the final letters is,
ㄱ ㄳ ㄴ ㄵ ㄶ ㄷ ㄹ ㄺ ㄻ ㄼ ㄽ ㄾ ㄿ ㅀ ㅁ ㅂ ㅄ ㅅ ㅇ ㅈ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ ㄲ ㅆ

Unlike when it is initial, this ㅇ is pronounced, as the nasal ㅇ ng, which occurs only as a final in the modern language. The double letters are placed to the very end, as in the initial order, but the combined consonants are ordered immediately after their first element.

Letter names

The Hangul arrangement is called the ganada order, (가나다 순) which is basically an alphabetical order named after the first three letters (g, n, d) affixed to the first vowel (a). The letters were named by Choe Sejin in 1527. North Korea regularized the names when it made Hangul its official orthography.

Consonant names

The modern consonants have two-syllable names, with the consonant coming both at the beginning and end of the name, as follows:
Consonant Name
giyeok (기역), or kiŭk (기윽) in North Korea
nieun/niŭn (니은)
digeut (디귿), or tiŭt (디읃) in North Korea
rieul/riŭl (리을)
mieum/miŭm (미음)
bieup/piŭp (비읍)
siot (시옷), or siŭt (시읏) in North Korea
ieung/iŭng (이응)
jieut/chiŭt (지읒)
chieut/ch'iŭt (치읓)
kieuk/k'iŭk (키읔)
tieut/t'iŭt (티읕)
pieup/p'iŭp (피읖)
hieut/hiŭt (히읗)

All consonants in North Korea, and all but three in the more traditional nomenclature used in South Korea, have names of the format of letter + i + eu + letter. For example, Choe wrote bieup with the hanjabieup. The names of g, d, and s are exceptions because there were no hanja for euk, eut, and eus. 役 yeok is used in place of euk. Since there is no hanja that ends in t or s, Choi chose two hanja to be read in their Korean gloss, 末 kkeut "end" and 衣 ot "clothes".

Originally, Choi gave j, ch, k, t, p, and h the irregular one-syllable names of ji, chi, ki, ti, pi, and hi, because they should not be used as final consonants, as specified in Hunmin jeong-eum. But after the establishment of the new orthography in 1933, which allowed all consonants to be used as finals, the names were changed to the present forms.

The double consonants are named with the word 쌍/雙 ssang, meaning "twin" or "double", or with 된 doen in North Korea, meaning "strong". Thus:
Letter South Korean Name North Korean name
ssanggiyeok (쌍기역) toen'giŭk (된기윽)
ssangdigeut (쌍디귿) toendiŭt (된디읃)
ssangbieup (쌍비읍) toenbiŭp (된비읍)
ssangsiot (쌍시옷) toensiŭt (된시읏)
ssangjieut (쌍지읒) toenjiŭt (된지읒)


In North Korea, an alternate way to refer to a consonant is by the name letter + ŭ (ㅡ), for example, 그 for the letter ㄱ, 쓰 ssŭ for the letter ㅆ, etc.

Vowel names

The names of the vowel letters are simply the vowel itself, written with the null initial ㅇ ieung and the vowel being named. Thus:
Letter Name Letter Name
a (아) ae (애)
ya (야) yae (얘)
eo (어) e (에)
yeo (여) ye (예)
o (오) oe (외)
yo (요) wae (왜)
u (우) wa (와)
yu (유) wi (위)
eu (으) wo (워)
i (이) ui (의)
we (웨)

Obsolete letters

Several letters are obsolete. These include several that represent Korean sounds that have since disappeared from the standard language, as well as a larger number used to represent the sounds of the Chinese rime table
Rime table
A rime table or rhyme table is a syllable chart of the Chinese language, a significant advance on the fǎnqiè analysis used in earlier rime dictionaries...

s. The most frequently encountered of these archaic letters are:
  • ㆍ (transcribed (arae-a 아래아 "lower a"): Presumably pronounced ʌ, similar to modern ㅓ eo. It is written as a dot, positioned beneath (Korean for "beneath" is arae) the consonant. The arae-a is not entirely obsolete, as it can be found in various brand names and is often used in spelling the dialect of Jeju Island
    Jeju dialect
    Jeju dialect or Jeju language is the dialect used on the island of Jeju in Korea, with the exception of Chuja in the former Bukjeju County area of Jeju City. It differs greatly from the dialects of the mainland, and preserves many archaic words which have since been lost in other Korean dialects...

    , Korea's southernmost province, where it is pronounced ɒ. Even so, it was not transcribed in the official Korean Romanization
    Revised Romanization of Korean
    The Revised Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea proclaimed by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, replacing the older McCune–Reischauer system...

     and thus modern renderings of the Jeju dialect transcribe it the same way as ㅗ, that is, o. Korean words that were written with ㆍ long ago are now usually written with ㅏ pronounced a.
    • The ə formed a medial of its own, or was found in the diphthong ㆎ arae-ae, written with the dot under the consonant and ㅣ (transcribed i) to its right – in the same fashion as ㅚ or ㅢ.
  • ㅿ z (bansiot 반시옷): A rather unusual sound, perhaps IPA [ʝ̃] (a nasalized palatal fricative). Modern Korean words previously spelled with ㅿ substitute ㅅ or ㅇ.
  • ㆆ  (yeorinhieut 여린히읗 "light hieut" or doenieung 된 이응 "strong ieung"): A glottal stop
    Glottal stop
    The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English, the feature is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or [[ʻokina]] in Hawaii among those using a preservative pronunciation of...

    , "lighter than ㅎ and harsher than ㅇ".
  • ㆁ ŋ (yesieung 옛이응): The original letter for [ŋ]; now conflated with ㅇ ieung. (With some computer fonts
    Typeface
    In typography, a typeface is the artistic representation or interpretation of characters; it is the way the type looks. Each type is designed and there are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly....

     such as Arial Unicode MS
    Arial Unicode MS
    In digital typography, the TrueType font Arial Unicode MS is an extended version of the font Arial. Compared to Arial, it includes higher line height, omits kerning pairs and adds enough glyphs to cover a large subset of Unicode 2.1—thus supporting most Microsoft code pages, but also requiring much...

    , yesieung is shown as a flattened version of ieung, but the correct form is with a long peak, longer than what one would see on a serif
    Serif
    In typography, serifs are semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface . A typeface without serifs is called sans serif or sans-serif, from the French sans, meaning “without”...

     version of ieung.)
  • ㅸ β (gabyeounbieup 가벼운비읍):IPA [f]. This letter appears to be a digraph of bieup and ieung, but it may be more complicated than that. There were three other, less-common letters for sounds in this section of the Chinese rime table
    Rime table
    A rime table or rhyme table is a syllable chart of the Chinese language, a significant advance on the fǎnqiè analysis used in earlier rime dictionaries...

    s, ㅱ w ([w] or [m]), a theoretical ㆄ f, and ㅹ ff [v̤]; the bottom element appears to be only coincidentally similar to ieung. However its exact shape, it operates somewhat like a following h in the Latin alphabet (one may think of these letters as bh, mh, ph, and pph respectively). Koreans have trouble pronouncing these sounds now, conflating these fricatives with the corresponding stop
    Stop consonant
    In phonetics, a plosive, also known as an occlusive or an oral stop, is a stop consonant in which the vocal tract is blocked so that all airflow ceases. The occlusion may be done with the tongue , lips , and &...

    s.


There were two other now-obsolete double letters,
  • ㆅ x (ssanghieut 쌍히읗 "double hieut"): IPA [ɣ̈ʲ] or [ɣ̈].
  • ᅇ (ssang-ieung 쌍이응 "double ieung"): Another letter used in the Chinese rime table.


In the original Hangul system, double letters were used to represent Chinese voiced
Voice (phonetics)
Voice or voicing is a term used in phonetics and phonology to characterize speech sounds, with sounds described as either voiceless or voiced. The term, however, is used to refer to two separate concepts. Voicing can refer to the articulatory process in which the vocal cords vibrate...

 (濁音) consonants, which survive in the Shanghainese slack
Slack voice
The term slack voice describes the pronunciation of consonant or vowels with a glottal opening slightly wider than that occurring in modal voice. Such sounds are often referred to informally as lenis or half-voiced in the case of consonants...

 consonants, and were not used for Korean words. It was only later that a similar convention was used to represent the modern "tense" (faucalized
Faucalized voice
Faucalized voice, also called hollow or yawny voice, is the production of speech sounds with an expanded laryngeal cavity. It contrasts with harsh voice, in which the larynx is compressed....

) consonants of Korean.

The sibilant ("dental") consonants were modified to represent the two series of Chinese sibilants, alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

 and retroflex
Retroflex consonant
A retroflex consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. They are sometimes referred to as cerebral consonants, especially in Indology...

, a "round" vs. "sharp" distinction (analogous to s vs sh) which was never made in Korean, and which was even being lost from southern Chinese. The alveolar letters had longer left stems, while retroflexes had longer right stems:
Original consonants
Chidueum (alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

 sibilant)
Jeongchieum (retroflex sibilant)


There were also consonant cluster
Consonant cluster
In linguistics, a consonant cluster is a group of consonants which have no intervening vowel. In English, for example, the groups and are consonant clusters in the word splits....

s that have since dropped out of the language, such as the initials ㅴ bsg and ㅵ bsd, as well as diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s that were used to represent Chinese medials, such as ㆇ, ㆈ, ㆊ, ㆋ.

Some of the Korean sounds represented by these obsolete letters still exist in some dialects.

Unicode

Hangul Jamo (U+1100—U+11FF) and Hangul Compatibility Jamo (U+3130—U+318F) were added to the Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 Standard in June, 1993 with the release of version 1.1.

Hangul Jamo Extended-A (U+A960—U+A97F) and Hangul Jamo Extended-B (U+D7B0—U+D7FF) were added to the Unicode Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2.
Hangul in other Unicode blocks:
  • Tone marks for Middle Korean: (U+302E), (U+302F)
  • 11,172 precomposed Hangul syllables (U+AC00—U+D7A3)
  • Parenthesised (U+3200—U+321E) and circled (U+3260—U+327E) Hangul compatibility characters in the CJK Enclosed Letters and Months block
  • Halfwidth (U+FFDC—U+FFA0) Hangul compatibility characters in the Halfwidth and fullwidth forms
    Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms
    In CJK computing, graphic characters are traditionally classed into fullwidth and halfwidth characters...

     block

Restored letters

To make Hangul a perfect morphophonological
Morphophonology
Morphophonology is a branch of linguistics which studies, in general, the interaction between morphological and phonetic processes. When a morpheme is attached to a word, it can alter the phonetic environments of other morphemes in that word. Morphophonemics attempts to describe this process...

 fit to the Korean language, North Korea introduced six new letters, which were published in the New Orthography for the Korean Language
New Orthography for the Korean Language
The New Korean Orthography was a spelling reform used in North Korea from 1948–1954. It added five consonants and one vowel letter to the hangul alphabet, making it what is believed to be a more morphophonologically "clear" approach to the Korean language.The reason for the reform is that some...

and used officially from 1948 to 1954.

Two obsolete letters were restored: <ㅿ> (리읃), which was used to indicate an alternation in pronunciation between initial /l/ and final /d/; and <ㆆ> (히으), which was only pronounced between vowels. Two modifications of the letter ㄹ were introduced, one for a ㄹ which is silent finally, and one for a ㄹ which doubled between vowels. A hybrid ㅂ-ㅜ letter was introduced for words which alternated between those two sounds (that is, a /b/ which became /w/ before a vowel). Finally, a vowel <1> was introduced for variable iotation
Iotation
Iotation is a linguistic phenomenon very characteristic of the Slavic languages. It should not be confused with palatalization, which is an entirely different process....

.

Morpho-syllabic blocks

Except for a few grammatical morphemes prior to the twentieth century, no letter may stand alone to represent elements of the Korean language. Instead, letters are grouped into syllabic
Syllable
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

 or morphemic
Morpheme
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...

 blocks of at least two and often three: (1) a consonant or a doubled consonant called the initial (초성, 初聲 choseong syllable onset), (2) a vowel or diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

 called the medial (중성, 中聲 jungseong syllable nucleus), and, optionally, (3) a consonant or consonant cluster at the end of the syllable, called the final (종성, 終聲 jongseong syllable coda
Syllable coda
In phonology, a syllable coda comprises the consonant sounds of a syllable that follow the nucleus, which is usually a vowel. The combination of a nucleus and a coda is called a rime. Some syllables consist only of a nucleus with no coda...

). When a syllable has no actual initial consonant, the null initial
Zero consonant
A zero consonant, silent initial, or null-onset letter is a consonant-like letter that is not pronounced, but indicates that a word or syllable starts with a vowel...

 ㅇ ieung is used as a placeholder. (In modern Hangul, placeholders are not used for the final position.) Thus, a block contains a minimum of two letters, an initial and a medial. Although the Hangul had historically been organized into syllables, in the modern orthography it is first organized into morphemes, and only secondarily into syllables within those morphemes, with the exception that single-consonant morphemes may not be written alone. (See Orthography.)

The sets of initial and final consonants are not the same. For instance, ㅇ ng only occurs in final position, while the doubled letters that can occur in final position are limited to ㅆ ss and ㄲ kk. For a list of initials, medials, and finals, see Hangul consonant and vowel tables
Hangul consonant and vowel tables
The following are tables on the jamo of Hangul consonants and vowels, with the original forms in blue at the first row, and their derivatives in the following rows. They are separated into tables of initials, vowels and finals. Jamo are romanized according to the Revised Romanization's...

.

Not including obsolete letters, there are 11 172 possible Hangul blocks.

Letter placement within a block

The placement or "stacking" of letters in the block follows set patterns based on the shape of the medial.
  • Consonant and vowel sequences such as ㅄ bs,wo, or obsolete ㅵ bsd,üye are written left to right.
  • Vowels (medials) are written under the initial consonant, to the right, or wrap around the initial from bottom to right, depending on their shape: If the vowel has a horizontal axis like ㅡ eu, then it is written under the initial; if it has a vertical axis like ㅣ i, then it is written to the right of the initial; and if it combines both orientations, like ㅢ ui, then it wraps around the initial from the bottom to the right:




initial medial

initial
medial

initial med.
2
med. 1


  • A final consonant, if there is one, is always written at the bottom, under the vowel. This is called 받침 batchim "supporting floor":




initial medial
final

initial
medial
final

initial med.
2
med.
final


  • A complex final is written left to right:




initial medial
final 1 final 2

initial
medial
final 1 final 2

initial med.
2
med.
fin. 1 fin. 2



Blocks are always written in phonetic order, initial-medial-final. Therefore,
  • Syllables with a horizontal medial are written downward: 읍 eup;
  • Syllables with a vertical medial and simple final are written clockwise: 쌍 ssang;
  • Syllables with a wrapping medial switch direction (down-right-down): 된 doen;
  • Syllables with a complex final are written left to right at the bottom: 밟 balp.

Block shape

Normally the resulting block is written within a square of the same size and shape as a hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

 (Chinese character) by compressing or stretching the letters to fill the bounds of the block; therefore someone not familiar with the scripts may mistake Hangul text for Hanja or Chinese text.

However, some recent fonts (for example Eun, HY깊은샘물M, UnJamo) move towards the European practice of letters whose relative size is fixed, and the use of whitespace to fill letter positions not used in a particular block, and away from the East Asian tradition of square block characters (方块字). They break one or more of the traditional rules:
  • Do not stretch initial consonant vertically, but leave white space
    White space
    White space may refer to:* White space , portions of a page left unmarked** Space , the space between two words of text* Whitespace character, a computer character for the space between words...

     below it if no lower vowel and/or no final consonant.
  • Do not stretch right-hand vowel vertically, but leave white space below it if no final consonant. (Often the right-hand vowel extends farther down than the left-hand consonant, like a descender
    Descender
    In typography, a descender is the portion of a letter that extends below the baseline of a font. The line that descenders reach down to is known as the beard line....

     in European typography)
  • Do not stretch final consonant horizontally, but leave white space to left of it.
  • Do not stretch or pad each block to be a fixed width, but allow variable width (kerning
    Kerning
    In typography, kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between characters in a proportional font, usually to achieve a visually pleasing result. Kerning is the adjustment of the space between individual letter forms vs. tracking which is the uniform adjustment of spacing applied over a...

    ) where syllable blocks with no right-hand vowel and no double final consonant can be narrower than blocks that do have a right-hand vowel or double final consonant.


So far, these fonts have been used as design accents on signs or headings, rather than for typesetting large volumes of body text.

Linear Hangul

There was a minor and unsuccessful movement in the early twentieth century to abolish syllabic blocks and write the letters individually and in a row, in the fashion of the European alphabets: e.g. ㅎㅏㄴㄱㅡㄹ for 한글 hangeul.
Avant-garde typographer Ahn Sangsu made a font for the "Hangul Dada" exposition that exploded the syllable blocks; but while it strings out the letters horizontally, it retains the distinctive vertical position each letter would normally have within a block, unlike the century-old linear writing proposals.

While Koreans have largely accepted the European-derived conventions of writing successive syllables left-to-right in horizontal lines instead of in vertical columns, adding spaces between words, and European-style punctuation, they have completely resisted getting rid of syllabic blocks, the most distinctive feature of this writing system.

Orthography

Until the 20th century, no official orthography of Hangul had been established. Due to liaison, heavy consonant assimilation, dialectical variants and other reasons, a Korean word can potentially be spelled in various ways. King Sejong seemed to prefer morphophonemic
Morphophonology
Morphophonology is a branch of linguistics which studies, in general, the interaction between morphological and phonetic processes. When a morpheme is attached to a word, it can alter the phonetic environments of other morphemes in that word. Morphophonemics attempts to describe this process...

 spelling (representing the underlying root forms) rather than a phonemic
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

 one (representing the actual sounds). However, early in its history, Hangul was dominated by phonemic spelling. Over the centuries the orthography became partially morphophonemic, first in nouns, and later in verbs. Today it is as morphophonemic as is practical. The difference between phonetic Romanization, phonemic orthography, and morpho-phonemic orthography can be illustrated with the phrase motaneun sarami:

  • Phonetic transcription and translation:
motaneun sarami
[mo.tʰa.nɯn.sa.ɾa.mi]
a person who cannot do it
  • Phonemic transcription:
모타는사라미
/mo.tʰa.nɯn.sa.la.mi/
  • Morphophonemic transcription:
못하는사람이
mot-ha-nɯn-sa.lam-i
  • Morpheme-by-morpheme gloss
    Gloss
    A gloss is a brief notation of the meaning of a word or wording in a text. It may be in the language of the text, or in the reader's language if that is different....

    :
          못–하–는 사람=이
       mot-ha-neun saram=i
       cannot-do-[attributive
    Attributive verb
    In grammar, an attributive verb is a verb which modifies a noun as an attributive, rather than expressing an independent idea as a predicate....

    ]
    person=[subject]
  • Modern orthography:
못하는 사람이

After the Gabo Reform
Gabo Reform
The Gabo Reform describes a series of sweeping reforms introduced in Joseon Dynasty Korea beginning in 1894 and ending in 1896, during the reign of King Gojong, in response to the Donghak Peasant Revolution. Historians debate the degree of Japanese influence in this program, as well as its effect...

 in 1894, the Joseon Dynasty
Joseon Dynasty
Joseon , was a Korean state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Goryeo at what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul...

 and later the Korean Empire
Korean Empire
The Greater Korean Empire was an empire of Korea that succeeded the Joseon Dynasty.In October 1897, Emperor Gojong proclaimed the new entity at Gyeongungung Palace and oversaw the partially successful modernization of the military, economy, land system, education system, and various industries...

 started to write all official documents in Hangul. Under the government's management, proper usage of Hangul, including orthography, was discussed, until Korea was annexed
Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty
The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910, also known as the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty, was made by representatives of the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire in 1910. Negotiations were concluded on August 20, 1910...

 by Japan in 1910.

The Japanese Government-General of Chosen established the writing style of a mixture of hanja and Hangul, as in the Japanese writing system. The government revised the spelling rules in 1912, 1921 and 1930, which were relatively phonemic.

The Hangul Society, originally founded by Ju Si-gyeong, announced a proposal for a new, strongly morphophonemic orthography in 1933, which became the prototype of the contemporary orthographies in both North and South Korea. After Korea was divided, the North and South revised orthographies separately. The guiding text for Hangul orthography
Hangul orthography
Hangeul matchumbeop, often romanized to Hangul Matchumbeop, could be translated to "Korean orthography ". It often appears as the title of spelling dictionaries or other publications of orthographic guidelines.-External links:...

 is called Hangeul Machumbeop, whose last South Korean revision was published in 1988 by the Ministry of Education.

Mixed scripts

Since the Late Joseon dynasty period, various Hanja-Hangul mixed systems
Korean mixed script
Korean mixed script is a form of writing that uses both Hangul and hanja .The script has never been used for languages other than Korean. In North Korea, writing in mixed script was replaced by writing only in Hangul in the middle of the 20th century and has not been used since...

were used. In these systems, hanja was used for lexical roots, and Hangul for grammatical words and inflections, much as kanji and kana are used in Japanese. Today however, hanja have been almost entirely phased out of daily use in North Korea, and in South Korea they are now mostly restricted to parenthetical glosses for proper names and for disambiguating homonyms.

Indo-Arabic numerals are also mixed in with Hangul, as in 2007년 3월 22일 (22 March 2007).

The Roman alphabet, and occasionally other alphabets, may be sprinkled within Korean texts for illustrative purposes, or for unassimilated loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

s. Very occasionally non-Hangul letters may be mixed into Hangul syllabic blocks, as Ga at right.

Readability

The organization of Hangul syllables—with individual phonemes clustered into a syllable, rather than organized in a horizontal line as in English—is thought by some observers to be a powerful reading aid. Because of the clustering of syllables, words are shorter on the page than their linear counterparts would be, and the boundaries between syllables are easily visible (which may aid reading, if segmenting words into syllables is more natural for the reader than dividing them up into phonemes). Because the component parts of the syllable are relatively simple phonemic characters, the number of strokes per character on average is lower than in Chinese characters. Unlike syllabaries, such as Japanese kana, or Chinese logographs, none of which encode the constituent phonemes within a syllable, the graphic complexity of Korean syllabic blocks varies in direct proportion with the phonemic complexity of the syllable. Unlike linear alphabets such as English, the Korean orthography allows the reader to "utilize both the horizontal and vertical visual fields"; finally, since Hangul syllables are represented both as collections of phonemes and as unique-looking graphs, they may allow for both visual and aural retrieval of words from the lexicon
Lexicon
In linguistics, the lexicon of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. A lexicon is also a synonym of the word thesaurus. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes. Coined in English 1603, the word "lexicon" derives from the Greek "λεξικόν" , neut...

.

Style

Hangul may be written either vertically or horizontally. The traditional direction is from top to bottom, right to left. Horizontal writing in the style of the Roman alphabet was promoted by Ju Sigyeong
Ju Sigyeong
Ju Si-gyeong was one of the founders of modern Korean linguistics. He was born in Bongsan County , Hwanghae Province. He and his students helped standardize the Korean language, based spelling and grammar of the vernacular.He studied the Classical Chinese from his childhood...

, and has become overwhelmingly prevalent.

In Hunmin Jeongeum
Hunmin Jeongeum
Hunminjeongeum is a document describing an entirely new and native script for the Korean language. The script was initially named after the publication, but later came to be known as hangul...

, Hangul was printed in sans-serif angular lines of even thickness. This style is found in books published before about 1900, and can be found today in stone carvings (on statues, for example).
Over the centuries, an ink-brush style of calligraphy
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

 developed, employing the same style of lines and angles as Chinese calligraphy. This brush style is called gungche (궁체 宮體), which means "Palace Style" because the style was mostly developed and used by the maidservants (gungnyeo, 궁녀 宮女) of the court in Joseon dynasty.

Modern styles that are more suited for printed media were developed in the 20th century. In 1993, new names for both Myeongjo and Gothic styles were introduced when Ministry of Culture initiated an effort to standardize typographic terms, and the names Batang (바탕, meaning "background") and Dotum (돋움, meaning "stand out") replaced Myeongjo and Gothic respectively. These names are also used in Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

.

A sans-serif style with lines of equal width is popular with pencil and pen writing, and is often the default typeface of Web browsers. A minor advantage of this style is that it makes it easier to distinguish -eung from -ung even in small or untidy print, as the jongseong ieung (ㅇ) of such fonts usually lacks a serif
Serif
In typography, serifs are semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface . A typeface without serifs is called sans serif or sans-serif, from the French sans, meaning “without”...

 that could be mistaken for the short vertical line of the letter ㅜ (u).

See also

  • Featural alphabet
    Featural alphabet
    A featural alphabet is an alphabet wherein the shapes of the letters are not arbitrary, but encode phonological features of the phonemes they represent. The term featural was introduced by Geoffrey Sampson to describe Hangul and Pitman Shorthand...

  • Hangul Day
    Hangul Day
    Hangul Day — also called Hangul Proclamation Day or Korean Alphabet Day — is a Korean national commemorative day marking the invention and the proclamation of hangul , the native alphabet of the Korean language, by King Sejong the Great. It is observed on October 9 in South Korea and on...

  • Hangul consonant and vowel tables
    Hangul consonant and vowel tables
    The following are tables on the jamo of Hangul consonants and vowels, with the original forms in blue at the first row, and their derivatives in the following rows. They are separated into tables of initials, vowels and finals. Jamo are romanized according to the Revised Romanization's...

  • Hangul orthography
    Hangul orthography
    Hangeul matchumbeop, often romanized to Hangul Matchumbeop, could be translated to "Korean orthography ". It often appears as the title of spelling dictionaries or other publications of orthographic guidelines.-External links:...

  • Hanja
    Hanja
    Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

  • Hunminjeongeum
  • Korean language and computers
    Korean language and computers
    This article addresses how computers are used to read and write Korean, using Hangul.-Character encodings:In RFC 1557, a method known as ISO-2022-KR for a 7-bit encoding of Korean characters in email was described.  Where 8 bits are allowed, the EUC-KR encoding is preferred.  These two...

  • Korean mixed script
    Korean mixed script
    Korean mixed script is a form of writing that uses both Hangul and hanja .The script has never been used for languages other than Korean. In North Korea, writing in mixed script was replaced by writing only in Hangul in the middle of the 20th century and has not been used since...

  • Korean romanization
    Korean romanization
    Korean romanization is a system for representing the Korean language using the Roman alphabet. In Korea, the Korean language is written using hangul, and sometimes hanja....

  • Sejong the Great

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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