Sunday, October 09, 2005

Happy Hangul Day!
We interrupt our previously scheduled accounting of the trip to Utah to bring you this public service announcement. Today is Hangul Day in South Korea, a day on which Koreans celebrate the creation of their writing system, hangul, in 1446, which allowed them freedom from the oppresssion of the highly irritating and irrational Chinese writing system previously in place.

As King Sejong wrote when he introduced his new system of writing to his country:
The sounds of our country's language are different from those of China and do not correspond to the sounds of Chinese characters. Therefore, among the stupid people, there have been many who, having something to put into writing, have in the end been unable to express their feelings. I have been distressed by this and have designed twenty-eight new letters, which I wish to have everyone practice at their ease and make convenient for their daily use.

Anyway, I find this particularly interesting because I think my Korean students tried to explain Hangul Day to me before, but with much less detail. I would like to take this opportunity to point out to the Japanese that they had a perfectly good thing going on with just the two kana syllabaries, and they didn't really need to adopt all those kanji characters. See? Just look at the Koreans. Follow their sane example. A writing system actually related to the sounds in your spoken language is a good thing.

[Hangul information brought to you via Language Log]

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