Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th Oct 2013 23:54 UTC
In the News

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: Comment by Berend de Boer
by terra on Sun 13th Oct 2013 09:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by Berend de Boer"
terra
Member since:
2012-11-01

Almost every alphabet is easy to learn. Anyone can pick up Greek/Hebrew/Cyrillic within some hours. That's the point of alphabets!

Unfortunately, that's only the start of learning a language, and by far the easiest bit.


I think you do not understand the point of easiness of Korean alphabets. The one of the strong points of Korean alphabets is that with only 24 letters you can describe virtually any sound you can make. And because each letter has exactly one sound denotes it, you do not have to know the pronunciation of a word before you could pronounce the word correctly. For example, in English many of the letters could be pronounced differently in each word. For Korean alphabets once you learn the letters and how it works, you can pronounce anything in Korean even if you do not understand the meaning.

Fortunately In Korean there are no such sounds like f, v, r or th so you canno describe those sounds in Korean alphabets. But in truth, f is linguistically equals to p, v equals b, r equals to l, and th equals to t.

Reply Parent Score: 1

dnebdal Member since:
2008-08-27

But in truth, f is linguistically equals to p, v equals b, r equals to l, and th equals to t.


Well, not in all languages - they're distinct enough to be identified in a context-less word in English.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

He means they're phonetically similar; i.e., they are produced in the same area/with the same parts in/of the mouth.

Reply Parent Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

You contradict yourself. Here you state:

I think you do not understand the point of easiness of Korean alphabets. The one of the strong points of Korean alphabets is that with only 24 letters you can describe virtually any sound you can make.

In truth, you cannot as yourself state further down:
Fortunately In Korean there are no such sounds like f, v, r or th so you canno describe those sounds in Korean alphabets. But in truth, f is linguistically equals to p, v equals b, r equals to l, and th equals to t.

They are not linguistically equivalent. Being produced in the same area of the mouth does not make them equivalent sounds. To use your argument and apply it to English: "forth" versus "fort." Two distinct words, pronounced differently, with completely unrelated meanings. The sounds are related, not equivalent.

Reply Parent Score: 4

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Thom is right. F is closer to V than P, P is closer to B... in fact, if you look at your his own native language in that respect, you can see that V is often used where F is in English. Even if in English, F and V being distinct is a fairly early notion (for the written language, post Norman conquest, I guess), you can still see traces of the older usage. Examples being: Fox/Vixen, Calf/Calves, half/halves etc. In many English dialects, even Thom's example falls down - fort and forth, in many Irish dialects, sound pretty much identical.

The problem with using English as an example of phonetics is that there is so much variation, that it's almost impossible to actually model English as it is spoken on paper, without creating a lot of mutually unintelligible written forms. Just in my local dialect alone, Free and Three are pronounced the same, as are Duke and Juke (as in Juke box). The unvoiced TH becomes and F, the voiced becomes a V, most H are dropped, T anywhere appart from the initial position becomes a glottal stop, and L regularly becomes a W in similar positions.

Ball = Baw
House = ays (rhymes with "ace" I guess)
Bottle = Bo'aw
This ball was in my house. It broke my window - Vis baw were in me ays. I' broke me windah.

Wonders of Working class South coast English meeting Working class London Cockney in the 19th century.

Reply Parent Score: 3

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

please please please don't use english as an example of a phoenetic alphabet. From my limited experience if you want an example of a good phoenetic alphabet look at german (and I think italian as well). And koine greek was assumed to be phoenetically correct as well.

Reply Parent Score: 2

allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

please please please don't use english as an example of a phoenetic alphabet. From my limited experience if you want an example of a good phoenetic alphabet look at german (and I think italian as well). And koine greek was assumed to be phoenetically correct as well.


In a Filipino language, F may sounds like P in some situations, hence the Filipino and Pilipino confusion.

Reply Parent Score: 2

J-Ho Member since:
2007-01-19

I quite like the Georgian script in that regard. The consonant clusters of the language are a bitch to master, but at least the script will tell you exactly how they're pronounced, due to it's one-to-one mapping with the language's phonemes.

Reply Parent Score: 2

ThomasFuhringer Member since:
2007-01-25

Ancient Greek and Latin can be considered phonetic because the alphabets were designed to reflect the sounds. Other languages used a foreign alphabet to approximate the sounds of the language.

By that logic Russian should also be phonetic. Unfortunately e.g. the o is not always pronounced as written. I would assume the language has evolved from a state where it was phonetic.

Reply Parent Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

please please please don't use english as an example of a phoenetic alphabet. From my limited experience if you want an example of a good phoenetic alphabet look at german (and I think italian as well). And koine greek was assumed to be phoenetically correct as well.

I wouldn't use German as an example either. Its a lot easier than English and, if you do learn German and understand the various combinations, you could read just about anything out loud even if you don't understand the meaning. However, the reverse state is by no means true, i.e. you can't necessarily hear something in German and immediately figure out the spelling without being somewhat familiar with the language as well. Various letters in German change their sound based on where they are in a word and what is around them, 's' is a perfect example. Just to describe the various sounds 's' can represent in German, with examples, would probably take more characters than OSNews allows. This generally isn't a problem for those who are somewhat familiar with German, as these various sound changes too follow a logical pattern, but if you're unfamiliar with German you may find looking up words you hear to be an exercise in masochism. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Berend de Boer
by jal_ on Mon 14th Oct 2013 11:27 in reply to "RE: Comment by Berend de Boer"
jal_ Member since:
2006-11-02

I think you do not understand the point of easiness of Korean alphabets.

I think you do not understand anything about writing systems or linguistics. What you write is inaccurate on so many levels...

The one of the strong points of Korean alphabets is that with only 24 letters you can describe virtually any sound you can make.

No, that would be IPA, the International Phonetic Alphabet. It has a tad bit more than 24 characters.

And because each letter has exactly one sound denotes it, you do not have to know the pronunciation of a word before you could pronounce the word correctly.

Unfortunately, Korean has undergone sound changes as well, which are not reflected in the spelling, and iirc, has also some ortographic rules that must be learned before being able to correctly pronounce things.

For example, in English many of the letters could be pronounced differently in each word. For Korean alphabets once you learn the letters and how it works, you can pronounce anything in Korean even if you do not understand the meaning.

There's, iirc, a fair bit of allophony (e.g. between r and l springs to mind), rules of the language which must be learned before being able to correctly pronounce it.

Fortunately In Korean there are no such sounds like f, v, r or th so you canno describe those sounds in Korean alphabets. But in truth, f is linguistically equals to p, v equals b, r equals to l, and th equals to t.

This nonsense remark has already been rebuked by others, so I'll leave it to that.

Reply Parent Score: 2