Happy 568th Hangul day! Today Korean people usually celebrate the invention of Korean alphabet. It was published for the first time in 1446 by King Sejong (1418-1450).
The name ”Hangul” is made up of two words:
- ‘HAN’ (한) means either “big” or ”great”,
- ‘GUL’ (글)’ refers to the alphabet (script) .
So therefore, the word means “great alphabet”.
The Korean alphabet was developed by a group of scholars under King Sejong , called ” the Hall of Worthies’‘. The most well-known work of the Hall of Worthies is the Hunmin Jongum (훈민정음) . It’s the most important document describing an entirely new and native script for the Korean language. It could be translated as “the correct/proper sounds for the instruction of the people”, and it was written in order to resolve the problem of illiteracy.
In fact before Hangul, Chinese characters called “hanja” had been used in writing. It was difficult to learn, especially for people of lower social status with no access to education. The invention of hangeul had since then, contributed to reducing illiteracy in Korea.