|Hangul is the name of the phonetic Korean alphabet|
The ten vowels and thirteen consonants of the Korean language are formed out of half a dozen simple brush strokes. The shapes of the letters themselves suggest how to hold the mouth to pronounce them. They are combined systematically to make syllables, which each occupy a box. The Hangul system, in fact, is so logically designed that today’s linguistics experts recommend it for recording newly-discovered spoken languages that have not been written down yet.
|Koreans are proud of their sturdy Hanji paper. It can be folded into a simple candle shade.|
A footnote to the story of Hangul: in 1945, after almost half a century of occupation by Japan, South Korea re-established the use of the Korean language in schools and government. In North Korea, all foreign words and Chinese characters have been weeded out of printed documents; in South Korea, some remain. Both countries commemorate King Sejong with statues, and celebrate National Hangul Day, October 9, in Korea and in ex-pat Korean communities abroad.