Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Answer to the Question of the Week and more on Hangul

How many characters are there in the Korean alphabet?

  • 52-2 (25%)
  • 30-2 (25%)
  • thousands-3 (37%)
  • 24-1 (12%)

The correct answer is 24. Of course, when some of them are combined, they create new sounds, like when a and u or p and h are put together. There are 24 basic characters, 14 consonents and 10 vowels. The Korean alphabet is called hangul and it was invented by King Sejong. Prior to its invention and for many years after, people used Chinese characters for writing. King Sejong felt that since Korean was another language, it should have its own writing system. In addition, people could not get the proper meaning across when writing with Chinese characters. He invented the alphabet in such a way that illiterate people could read. The characters give you directions on how to pronouce the word. For example, some of them are shown the way that the tongue is suppose to move. When you see Korean, there are several characters that make up one syllable. All syllables have to have a consonent and a vowel. When the vowel is lying down, the consonent is over it and when the vowel is standing, the consonent is standing beside it. When there is a consonent at the end of the syllable, it goes under the other letters.

The letters must be written a particular way. There is a right way and there is a wrong way. You can't just go about writing the lines in any way that you want. There is a particular order that you have to follow. You have to draw from left to right and from up to down. I see this translated into the way that the kids write. Whearas most of us dot our 'i's and cross our 't's last, they do the dotting and the crossing first. On Friday, I was informed that I write my capital Hs wrong. I had the middle section sticking out on either side. A student showed me the proper way to write an H.

No comments: