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What Makes Hangul Great?
March 27, 2018 @ 5:30 pm
Hangul, the Korean script, is widely recognized as the world’s most remarkable writing system. It is indeed worthy of the admiration and acclaim that it has received, but surprisingly few people, including Koreans, understand how it really works or why linguists consider it to be an object of marvel. Contrary to popular belief, Hangul does not directly represent a word’s pronunciation, and it is not particularly easy to master! However, it is a superb example of what linguists call a ‘deep orthography,’ whose goal is to capture the internal structure of words and their relationship to each other. Hangul is perfectly suited to Korean and, once properly understood, it can be a valuable aid for learning the language’s phonology and vocabulary.
William O’Grady is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa