Hi Everyone! Welcome to Aeri’s Korean Lessons. Many people asked me to teach them the Korean language. So I’m very excited to start these Korean lessons. I will try to post Korean lessons regularly with easy to understand explanations. I want to start from the very basic things and gradually add more advanced lessons. I hope that my Korean lessons can help your Korean study. Let’s study Korean together and have a fun time. Today, I just want to talk about the Korean alphabet, hangul.
A king named Sejong the Great created Hangul in the 15th century. At that time, Koreans were using Chinese letters to represent the Korean language in written form. There was a problem with that though. The Korean language was different from Chinese, and using Chinese characters to read and write did not transpose that well into the Korean language. Another problem was that the common people could not read and write – the majority of Koreans were illiterate. Only a few upper class people, usually men, could read and write fluently. Hangul made it easy for almost everybody to become literate by using a phonetic alphabet to represent the basic sounds in the Korean language.
You might think that learning the Korean alphabet is very difficult, but once you understand how each of the letters are made and connected with each other, you will find that the Korean alphabet is very consistent which makes reading and writing easy.
Let’s briefly compare the Korean language to English. With the English alphabet, you use letters such as a, b, and c to make syllables, and those syllables are connected to make words such as “study” and “together.” With those words you can make sentences like “Let’s study Korean together.” In the same way, the Korean language has an alphabet, and with the letters in that alphabet, you can make syllables, and with those syllables you can make words, and the words become a sentence.
So, to learn Korean, it is important to start with the Korean alphabet, which I will just refer to as hangul from now on. The English alphabet has 5 vowels and 21 consonants, whereas hangul has 10 vowels and 14 consonants.
To make a word in English, you need both vowels and consonants. Here is an example: “banana.” You need the vowel “a” and the consonants “b” and “n.” The Korean word for banana is basically spoken the same way. You need the Korean consonants “ㅂ” and “ㄴ” and the vowel “ㅏ.” Combining them together, we get “바나나.”
Well, that is all for today, since this is just an introduction for my Korean lessons. So today, we talked about the history and basics of Hangul. Next time, we will talk about the 10 basic Korean vowels in more detail. I will teach you how to read and write them. See you next time. Thank you for watching.