Re: The History of Hangul

From: Gregg Reynolds (
Date: Sat Aug 28 1999 - 07:10:14 EDT

A good source is "Writing and Literacy in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese" by
Insup Taylor and M. Martin Taylor, John Benjamins Publishing,
Amsterdam/Philadelphia 1995. They use the letter shape/articulatory shape
correspondance to explain the alphabet, to the point of including a chart
with line drawings illustrating the shape of the lips, tongue, etc in one
column and the letters in other columns. There is a section on the origins of
Hangul which discusses several different hypotheses, concluding that Hangul
should be considered a "unique creation", which may owe some debt to Mongolian
Paspa and Chinese characters.

Insup Taylor has done lots of interesting scholarly work on scripts; one
volume subscribers of this list would probably find interesting is "Scripts
and Literacy: Reading and Learning to Read Alphabets, Syllabaries and
Characters" edited by Insup Taylor and David R. Olson, Kluwer 1995.


Edward Cherlin wrote:

> At 06:18 -0700 8/23/1999, Michael Everson wrote:
> >Ar 19:56 -0700 1999-08-22, scríobh
> >
> >> Apparently, I was wrong about the design of Hangul. Can anyone
> >> out there tell me if iconicity is a factor in how Hangul is
> >> taught or used today?
> >
> >They certainly always tell foreigners about it.
> When I was first learning Korean, (1966-1967) I heard vaguely about the
> idea, but it was never part of our classes. IIRC, the Museum of the
> Alphabet has some of this in an exhibit, and in a book they published.
> The idea of an alphabet for Korean was certainly suggested by the example
> of Sanksrit Devanagari in Chinese Buddhist scriptures. I have seen some
> fairly old examples of Sanskrit written by Chinese in a hand that I first
> took for Hangul at a distance.


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