Understanding Korea materials - Hangeul: Acknowledgments

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Understanding Korea Series No.1
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Foreword Acknowledgments 1. Korean Language and Hangeul in East Asia


The Center for International Affairs (CEFIA) at the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) undertakes the task of promoting better understanding of Korea through development of materials on Korean history and culture as well as making sure that textbooks around the world are correctly presenting Korea. In doing so, I learned that it is hard for foreign students to understand Korea correctly due to too many incorrect contents or too little contents in various foreign textbooks.

This book is the first book in the Understanding Korea Series (UKS) covering the Korea’s distinctive writing system, Korea’s world-class cultural heritage. UKS aims at publishing books on Korea that go beyond being simply a popular guide to Korea and provide in-depth understandings on Korea from academic approaches. The UKS books will academically deal with various concrete topics related to Korean history and culture in general but written with general readers in mind.

The book starts with how Hangeul, Korea’s distinctive writing system is different from those of its neighboring countries, China and Japan. It then discusses in a simple manner the creation of Hunminjeongeum and changes over the time to present day in detail. Although this book is written to broaden the understanding on Korean culture, the book is written from a linguistic perspective making a valuable reference to students of Korean studies and Korean language.

Many whom I cannot name here have helped in the publication of this book. I am grateful to them. I would like to thank Prof. Lee Jiyoung the author and Graphic Designer Ahn Sang-soo, Jangseogak at the Academy of Korean Studies, Korea University Library, National Assembly Library of Korea, MiraeN, Sogang University Loyola Library, Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies at Seoul National University, Andong National University Museum, Cheogju National Museum, Hangeul Museum (Mido Museum), Gyeonggi Provincial Museum, Woljeongsa Museum, Yonhap News, and Mr. Seo Jae-sik for generously permitting the use of photos. Lastly, I give thanks to Prof. Christian J. Park for translating and Dr. Greg Sharzer for editing the manuscript.

I sincerely hope that this book will contribute to the better understanding of Korean culture and the raising of the international community’s interest in Korea.

December 2013

Yang Young-Kyun, Ph.D.

Director of the Center for International Affairs

Understanding Korea Series No.1 Hangeul

Foreword · Acknowledgments

1. Korean Language and Hangeul in East Asia · Appendix: Korean and the Altaic Family

2. Transcription of Korean Using Chinese Characters

3. The Creation of Hunminjeongeum · 3.1 King Sejong and Hunminjeongeum · Appendix: King Sejong and Jiphyeonjeon(The Academy of Worthies) · 3.2 The Design Principles of Hunminjeongeum Letters · Appendix: Various Hypotheses on the Creation of Hunminjeongeum · Appendix: Special Features of the Korean Alphabet(called Hunminjeoneum or Hangeul) · 3.3 The Phonological Features of the 28 Letters of Hunminjeongeum · Appendix: The Philosophical Background of Hunminjeongeum · 3.4 Letter Usage

4. Changes of Hangeul · 4.1 Changes in the Name: From Hunminjeongeum to Hangeul · 4.2 Changes of Letters

5. History of Hangeul Usage · 5.1 Records Written in Hangeul · 5.2 Establishment of Korean Orthography · Appendix: Korean Romanization · 5.3 The Script Reform: Mixed Script to Hangeul-only Script

6. Hangeul Now

Reference · Glossary · Sources · About the Author