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Overview

The Korean language belongs to the Altaic language family like Mongolian and Japanese. There are about 75 million people in the world who speak Korean, and according to a statistical ranking done in 2002, Korean is the 13th most spoken language in the world.

Hangeul is the Korean writing system. It is similar to the Latin alphabet, inasmuch as each individual symbol represents a single sound, not an idea.

As with many languages, Hangeul is written left to right. However, instead of each individual symbol being written next to each other on the same horizontal line, the symbols are grouped into characters, and each character consists of at least one consonant and one vowel symbol, representing a syllable. Thus a word of three syllables is written in Hangeul with three characters, each one composed of individual consonant and vowel symbols.

Hangeul was devised by King Sejong the Great (r. 1418-1450), who wanted his people to have a writing system of their own. At that time, the learned and noble people wrote in classical Chinese.

 
Korean Vowels and Consonants

Hangeul (한글, the Korean alphabet) consists of symbols representing 14 basic consonants and 10 basic vowels, which can be combined to make all the sounds used in the Korean language.


* Vowels:

Click here to learn the vowels in more detail

* Consonants:

Click here to learn the consonants in more detail

How to write Hangeul characters
When we write Hangeul in a syllabic unit, there are six different ways to combine the vowel and consonant symbols. As illustrated in the following diagram, the individual Hangeul are arranged and proportioned to fit neatly into a square box, and are always read left to right, then top to bottom.

          CV               CV                 CVV              CVC               CVCC        CVVC

(where C = consonant and V = vowel)

For more information, follow the links below:

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  Korean Language  
   Overview
The Korean language belongs to the Altaic language family like Mongolian and Japanese. There are about 75 million people in the world who speak Korean, and according to a statistical ranking done in 2002, Korean is the 13th most spoken language in the world. Hangeul is the Korean writing system. It is similar to the Latin alphabet, inasmuch as each individual symbol represents a sin…
   Romanization of Korean
The Revised Romanization of Korean 1) Why the change? 2) What has been changed? 3) Frequently asked questions 4) The Romanization of Korean (Full text) 5) Examples 1) Why the change? The old system was a poor match for the Information Age. The breve used to write “어”as “ …
   Test of Proficiency in Korean

Test of Proficiency in Korean TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) KLPT (Korean Language Proficiency Test) Organization - Korea Institute of Curriculum &amp; Evaluation - Ministry of Education, Science and Technology - Ministry of Justice - Ministry of Labor Purpose Academic purposes particularly for students to enter Korean graduate school Employment purposes particularly for non-native Korean speakers Evaluation …

   Books etc.
Book review: 2000 Essential Korean Words for Beginners When this author arrived in Korea and started studying the language in 1996, there were not very many good books available, apart from those tied to university courses. For those wanting to go it alone, there was little around. Now with the popularity of learning Korean on the rise - more than 150,000 non-Koreans took the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) this year - it seems that many p…
   Related Sites
Site Introduction Pronouncing Korean correctly Online Korean language education from the National Institute of the Korean Language Korean Through English Basic Korean course from the International Korean Language Foundation Korean Lecture Free online lessons in Korean language for beginners and advanced learners. Prepare for your trip to South Korea by learning Kore…




Ticket & Donation

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