|Back to Index|
The Korean language and alphabet
I do not know how we will decide what language wins the logical spelling contest. No one knows all the languages running, so we may have to say that several languages win, and some, including English, lose. Paul Simon nominates Korean, but I thought he said that there were differences between North and South Korea. He writes: "I'm going to nominate Korean for the most logical and scientific of alphabets. Until the 1400's Korean was written with Chinese characters. IN the mid 14th century Saejon Daewong (Great King Saejong) assembled a team of scholars to study the sounds of Korean and develop an easy to read and write, scientific alphabet. The result was Hangul. Literacy blossomed! Hangul letters exactly match the sounds every time; when you hear a Korean word, there is no doubt about the spelling, and there are no "irregulars", "exceptions" or what not. Even a native English speaker can learn Hangul in a day or two. 24 basic character symbols and 16 dipthongs comprise the total set. Letters are clustered into syllables, words, and sentences, using Roman punctuation marks. It's so easy to read that Koreans easily read text whether written top to bottom, left to right, OR right to left!!!!! IF any WAISer knows a better, more true-to-sound, easier to read and write alphabet, please tell me!
After Korean, switching to the living hell of reading and writing Mandarin was the 'trials of Job'".
My comment: This is an example of changing scripts, mentioned earlier in connection with Turkish. Paul's reference to Job incited me to read the book about that eloquent man. I learned about Uz and Buz, and refreshed my knowledge of Behemoth and Leviathan.
Ronald Hilton - 2/16/02