Hangul is the official alphabet of the Korean language and it’s used in both South and North Korea.  The alphabet was created in the year 1443 in the Joseon Dynasty.

The Korean alphabet is made up of 19 consonant letters and 21 vowel characters for a total of 40 main letters.  There are some obsolete characters and combination characters as well but the main alphabet is 40 letters.

Unlike English however the letters are combined into blocks of usually 2 to 3 characters for each syllable.  “Han” for example isn’t written as “ㅎㅏㄴ” it’s written as “한”

The name of the Korean alphabet, Hangul (한글) means great script in Korean.  Han (한) means great and Geul (글) means script.

The most interesting feature of the Korean Alphabet is the design of the letters.  The shape of each letter is designed after the features of the sounds they represent.  Consonants are based on the shape your mouth makes when you pronounce them while vowels are made from easy to identify horizontal or vertical lines.

The character ㄱ for example is the shape your toungue takes when you make a “g” sound.

Each consonant has its own name.  ㄱ for example is called giyeok (기역). The vowels are just named after the sounds they make like “ah” for the vowelㅏ.

Start learning Hangul, the Korean Alphabet