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This content is taken from the Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) 's online course, The Korean Alphabet: An Introduction to Hangeul. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Hello. Last class we learned that the basic Hangeul characters were made from modeling. Do you remember? The basic consonants ‘ㄱ, ㄴ, ㅁ, ㅅ, ㅇ’ were made from modeling the shape of the speech organs when pronouncing that letter. The Basic vowels ‘ㆍ, ㅡ, ㅣ’ were modeled after the shapes of sky, earth and human. This class we will explore how the rest of the characters are derived from these basic characters. First let’s look at the consonants. The rest of the consonants were made by the principle of adding strokes to the basic characters. If you add another stroke to the basic character ‘ㄱ’ it becomes ‘ㅋ’.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds Likewise if you add a stroke to ‘ㄴ’ it becomes ‘ㄷ’ and if you add a stroke to ‘ㄷ’ it becomes ‘ㅌ’. Add a vertical stroke on either side of ‘ㅁ’ and it becomes ‘ㅂ’. Add horizontal strokes on the top and bottom of ‘ㅁ’ and it becomes ‘ㅍ’. Add a stroke on top of the basic character ‘ㅅ’ and it becomes ‘ㅈ’. Add another stroke to ‘ㅈ’ and it becomes ‘ㅊ’. Add one stroke to the basic character ‘ㅇ’ and it becomes ‘ㆆ’. One more stroke to ‘ㆆ’ and you have ‘ㅎ’. This table shows this clearly.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds At the time of its creation, Hangeul also had these consonants: ‘ㄹ, ㅿ, ㆁ’. ‘ㄹ’ is a modified form of ‘ㄴ’, ‘ㅿ’ is a modification of ‘ㅅ’ and ‘ㆁ’ is a modified form of ‘ㅇ’. In the modern Hangeul writing system ‘ㅿ, ㆁ’ and ‘ㆆ ’are three characters no longer used. Next let’s look at the vowels. The principle of adding strokes applies to vowels as well. The basic vowels characters ‘ㆍ, ㅡ, ㅣ’ are combined in various ways to form the rest of the vowels. Add ‘ㆍ’ to the right side of ‘ㅣ’ and it becomes ‘ㅏ’. Add ‘ㆍ’ to the left of ‘ㅣ’ and you have ‘ㅓ’. Add ‘ㆍ’ on top of ‘ㅡ’ and it becomes ‘ㅗ’.

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 seconds Add ‘ㆍ’ below ‘ㅡ’ and it becomes ‘ㅜ’. Combining ‘ㅣ, ㅡ’ with one ‘ㆍ’ forms the vowels ‘ㅏ, ㅓ, ㅗ, ㅜ’. The vowels ‘ㅏ, ㅓ, ㅗ, ㅜ’ are created as the first derivation by adding one ‘ㆍ’ Add two ‘ㆍ’ to the right side of ‘ㅣ’ and it becomes ‘ㅑ’. Add two ‘ㆍ’ to the left side of ‘ㅣ’ and it becomes ‘ㅕ’. Add two ‘ㆍ’ to the top of ‘ㅡ’ and it becomes ‘ㅛ’. Add two ‘ㆍ’ below ‘ㅡ’ and it becomes ‘ㅠ’. Combining ‘ㅣ, ㅡ’ with two ‘ㆍ’ forms the vowels ‘ㅑ, ㅕ, ㅛ, ㅠ’. The vowels ‘ㅑ, ㅕ, ㅛ, ㅠ’ are created as the second derivation by adding two ‘ㆍ’ This is shown clearly in this table.

Skip to 4 minutes and 16 seconds Vowel derivations come from combining ‘ㅣ’and ‘ㅡ’ with ‘ㆍ’ which is modeled after the sky. This reflects the ying-yang hypothesis of the time. The shapes ‘ㅏ, ㅗ, ㅑ, ㅛ’ are formed by adding the sky(ㆍ) to the right side of ‘ㅣ’ and on top of ‘ㅡ’. These characters belong to Yang(陽). The shapes ‘ㅓ, ㅜ, ㅕ, ㅠ’ are formed by adding the sky(ㆍ) to the left side of‘ㅣ’ and below ‘ㅡ’. These are Yin(陰). This class we learned about the principle of adding strokes to the basic Hangeul characters to form the rest of the characters. We learned we can add strokes to the basic vowels ‘ㄱ, ㄴ, ㅁ, ㅅ, ㅇ’ to create ‘ㅋ, ㄷ, ㅌ, ㅂ, ㅍ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㆆ, ㅎ’.

Skip to 5 minutes and 32 seconds And we learned that combing the basic vowel characters ‘ㆍ, ㅡ, ㅣ’will form ‘ㅏ, ㅓ, ㅗ, ㅜ’ and the rest of the vowel characters. We learned about the systematic way of adding strokes to the basic characters to derive the rest of the characters. Do you have a better understanding of the shape of Hangeul characters now? Understanding this principle will help you when you learn Korean and Hangeul. See you next class.

Principles of Hangeul’s Character Creation 2

The rest of the consonants were made by the principle of adding strokes to the basic characters.

We will learn about the systematic way of adding strokes to the basic characters to derive the rest of the characters.

Do you have a better understanding of the shape of Hangeul characters now?


[KEY WORDS]

ㅋ(기읔), ㅌ(티읕), ㅂ(비읍), ㅈ(지읒), ㅊ(치읓), ㅎ(히읗)

ㅏ(아), ㅓ(어), ㅗ(오), ㅜ(우), ㅑ(야), ㅕ(여), ㅛ(요), ㅠ(유)

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This video is from the free online course:

The Korean Alphabet: An Introduction to Hangeul

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)