Korean Language

Chapter 1: Other Scripts Compared with Hangul

1) Writing

English has upper & lower case letters as well as various writing methods (i.e. printed & cursive writing).  Korean is a lot simpler in that it has only one type of case and form.  The size of each letter varies based on maintaining geometric balance: each written syllabic unit has an overall square shape.

Upper and Lower Case
G g A a
Upper and Lower Case
G g A a

Written Korean
Shape maintains an overall
square shape


2) Pronunciation

English has a variety of pronunciations for each letter of the alphabet (e.g. the letter 'a' is used differently in 'cake', 'far', 'air', 'apple', 'banana', 'all' and  'grape').

A [ei]              apple [æ]                banana [Ə Ə Ə]
all [Ə]              grape [ei]

English also has words containing silent consonants, such as ‘knife,’ ‘salmon,’and ‘Christmas.’The same letter combinations may also have more than one pronunciation, such as ‘Chicago’ and‘church.’

On the other hand, Korean (in most cases) has only one pronunciation for each letter, as we shall se in the coming lessons.

3)  Word Structure

When writing a word, English has a mix of consonants and vowels in no particular order.  When writing a word in Korean, the first character is a consonant, the second is a vowel, and the third is a consonant.  This rule never deviates, which makes Korean much simpler to learn.

v c c c v

4)  Construction of Syllables

5 vowels are written vertical to horizontal: ㅏ  ㅑ  ㅓ  ㅕ  ㅣㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅣ

5 vowels are written horizontal to vertical: ㅗ  ㅛ  ㅜ  ㅠ  ㅡㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ

가  갸  거  겨  기
고  교  구  규  그

5)  Compared With Other Languages

Before examining the alphabet in greater detail, a brief comparison of the same sentence in different languages will begin to give insight into the nature Han-gŭl.

English:  This is a book.  (Needs 'a' article)
German:  Das ist eine buch.  (Needs 'eine' article)
Spanish:  Este es un libro.  (Requires gender change)
Chinese:  是一本書  (Total of 250,000 symbolic characters)
Japanese:  これは本です  (Derived from Chinese)
Korean: 이것 책이다.  (Subject has particle word)
This   book is

Also notice that basic sentence structure in

English (Subject Verb Object) differs from that of
Korean (Subject Object Verb)


Written by 정인숙

Published on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 12:00