Sometimes I see Korean people referring to their whole language as 한글, as in "한글학당". But as far as I know, 한글 is just the name of the writing system used in Korean, an the language itself is generally called 한국어/한국말/조선말/조선어. So, why do we see the word 한글 used in such situations? Can I use 한글 as a direct synonym of 한국말?

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    Welcome to the site! 한글학당 is an interesting example - do you have any others? Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 22:52
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    I've heard this a lot too. I find it's mostly from children, overseas Koreans (maybe from attending 한글학교 or 한글학당?), but it has also caused confusion when talking with adults as well. For example, I was asking a question about 한글, but the listener assumed I was talking about 한국어 and thus misunderstood the question. Thank you for asking this; I've been meaning to ask this exact same thing on here. Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 23:37
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    In my opinion, they are simply mistaken. I was educated in school to be proud of Korean alphabet. I think such education confused many people. Or maybe people just use 한글 because it's shorter.
    – Hwang
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


You made a good point!

As you've said, 한글 is only a writing system, not the language(한국어) itself. But unlike many other writing systems, 한글 was "invented" solely for 한국어, and many Koreans feel very proud about this. Plus, you don't really use 한글 to write down other languages than 한국어.

So most Koreans think of 한글 and 한국어 as the same. Still, strictly saying, it is an "abuse of notation".

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