Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Hangeul Day

Today - October 9th - is Hangeul Day (한글날) in South Korea, to mark the creation of the unique Korean written alphabet. Invented in 1443 at the behest of the celebrated King Sejong, hangeul(한글) has become a source of pride for the Korean people. Prior to the dissemination of hangeul to the public, Koreans used borrowed Chinese characters to write their language. It was an unfortunate situation - Chinese was not only notoriously difficult to write; it was also unable to express certain Korean words. As a result, many ordinary Koreans were illiterate, and the ruling class took advantage of the dichotomy to exert power over them. King Sejong's creation of a national, simple written language was widely seen as a gift to the common citizens of the country. He is still a revered figure in Korean history largely because of this contribution.

In honor of the day, changed their logo accordingly:

This year hangeul is not only celebrating its history - it has an ongoing achievement to celebrate - its advancement outside of Korea! The Cia-cia tribe in Indonesia, lacking a written version, has decided to adopt hangeul to transcribe its spoken language. Next month they plan to open a cultural center to educate the 60,000 tribespeople about their new Koreanized alphabet.

Check out this website for more detailed info on hangeul and its history.

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