Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th Oct 2013 23:54 UTC
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Happy Hangul Day! October 9th is a South Korean national holiday held in honor of the invention of the Korean writing system, which experts have called the most "scientific" (also "ingenious," "rational," "subtle," "simple," "efficient," "remarkable") writing system ever devised.

It's a bit outside of OSNews' regular stuff (although not unheard of), but as a language specialist myself, Korean, and Hangul in particular, has fascinated me for quite a while now. In contrast to other writing systems, which have developed over centuries - or millennia - without clear guidance, Hangul was more or less designed and set in stone 600 years ago, specifically for the Korean language. It is an absolutely beautiful alphabet, with a clear structure, and a unique way of organising letters - they are grouped in square morpho-syllabic blocks. To the untrained eye, Hangul may resemble e.g. Chinese characters - however, each 'character' actually consists of several letters.

Even though I'm not a programmer myself, Im pretty sure those of you who are will find Hangul fascinating. Due to its structured nature, it's incredibly easy to learn - I taught myself to read and write Hangul in a matter of days - and once you do take a few hours to grasp the basics, you'll surely come to appreciate its innate beauty and structure.

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RE[3]: It's just too bad
by jal_ on Mon 14th Oct 2013 11:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's just too bad"
jal_
Member since:
2006-11-02

That's true, however, to be technical about it, Kanji as well as other Chinese character systems are not alphabets. They are picture-based writing systems, where by individual pictures represent individual concepts.

Chines is a logographic system, and logographs aren't ideographs. Also, it is not picture based, no more than our alphabet is picture based. Don't get "technical" if you don't know the facts!

An alphabet is a system of symbols that form one sound each in the case of traditional alphabets (though most have become more complex than that now)

In fact, historically alphabets have almost always been imperfect for writing the languages using them.

Hangul is interesting, as it's a hybrid of both. You form syllables with individual sounds (as you would in a traditional alphabet) and yet when used they form recognizable syllabic characters as well.

That still doesn't mean it's a hybrid of an alphabet and a syllabery. The way you stack characters on top of each other has nothing to do with what each character represents. Syllabaries are typically employed by languages with a simple syllabic structure. Korean doesn't have that, as is evident by the ridiculous size of the Unicode Hangul Syllables block.

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