April 17, 2024
KCNA Naenara (En)

Korean Alphabet Praised as Simplest Yet Best

Date: 21/02/2024 | Source: Naenara (En) | Read original version at source

Today there are more than 6 000 languages in the world, but an estimated 2 900 of them have their own alphabet.

According to the July 2004 issue of the Chinese magazine Popular Science, the college of linguistics of Oxford University ranked all the scripts in the world in terms of rationality, scientific accuracy, originality and others, and the Korean alphabet topped the rankings. And it received the highest appreciation and gained recognition as “the simplest yet best script in the world” after a survey was conducted between 1998 and 2002 in pursuit of the most appropriate of the languages in the world.

The Koreans, who had started to use Chinese characters since the period of the Three Kingdoms, created Hunminjongum, a simple yet sophisticated writing system, in 1444, thus making a great contribution to cultural development.

As recognized by the world’s linguistic circles, Korean letters are regarded as the best in the world in terms of scientific accuracy, originality and rationality.

The Korean alphabet made by imitating the shapes of speech organs is both scientific and original in view of the principles of its creation.

Hunminjongumhaerye published in 1446 says that “ㄱ” is modelled on the shape of the root of the tongue touching the back of the palate and closing the throat, “ㄴ” is patterned on the shape of the tip of the tongue touching the upper gum, and “ㅁ” , “ㅅ” and “ㅇ” imitate the shapes of the mouth, teeth and throat respectively.

Actually, the sound values of these letters are so closely tied to the functions of the corresponding speech organs.

Basic consonants were made in a way that is copied from the shapes of speech organs, and strongly articulated consonants were constructed from the basic ones by adding strokes to them.

The letters that produce fortis phonemes were created in a way of repeating the relevant consonants.

Our language is scientific and unique in writing as well.

In the Korean alphabet a consonant and a vowel are assembled in a letter to form a syllable. This can be seen as a good idea based on the scientific analysis that a syllable consists of three sound elements—initial, medium and final.

As to the Korean letters created on the basis of scientific principles, Hunminjongumonhae says that a clever man can learn them in one morning though a dull man may take ten days to study them and that even the sounds of wind, the cries of cranes, the crowing of roosters and the barking of dogs can all be transcribed in writing.

In 1990, UNESCO instituted the world literacy award and referred to the Korean alphabet as the most suitable for literacy campaigns of those used in different countries around the world as it is easy to learn and write and scientific in terms of its creation.

The Korean language, the official language of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, embodies the natural features and refined qualities of the national alphabet.

Ri Kum Il, PhD, associate professor and researcher at the Linguistics Institute of the Academy of Social Sciences

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