The name Hangeul is made up of two words: han (한) and geul (글). Han means either “big” or “great,” and geul refers to a writing script; Hangeul, therefore, means “great alphabet.”
The original name of the Korean alphabet was “Hunminjeongeum,” which translates to “the proper guiding alphabet of the people.”
When Hunminjeongeum was first created, it consisted of 28 letters. From its original system, four letters have been dropped and the remaining 24 letters are now commonly referred to as Hangeul.
Hunminjeongeum or Hangeul is not only easy to learn and convenient to use, but also uniquely scientific in its creation.
In recognition of such virtues, the UNESCO inscribed the Hunminjeongeum Haeryebon (Guidebook) on its Memory of the World Register in October 1997.
Hangeul is a writing system that involves combining any of the standard 14 consonants and 10 vowels to form one-syllable blocks.
Each vowel is made of a line or lines that represent the sky, the earth and people, while consonants reflect the shape of a human mouth during pronunciation. There are also an additional 16 common sounds that can be made by combining consonants or vowels together.