Equivalent question: What Korean letters won't equal 1?

From: the homophonic group: a mathematical diversion → This is an exercise from Michael Artin's Algebra on, well, abstract algebra. In this exercise for the English language, words are equal if they are homophones, kind of like a formalisation of the joke that sin(x)/n=6. So in English:

  • bee=be → This implies e=1 by cancellation of b and e.

  • buy=by → This implies u=1 by cancellation of b and y.

  • rase=raze → This implies s=z by cancellation of r, a and e.

canvass=canvas → This implies s=1 by cancellation of c,a,n,v,a and s. By canvass=canvas and rase=raze, we have s=z=1.

Eventually, all 26 English letters will equal 1. Apparently, this was done for French and Czech.

2 Answers 2


It's an interesting application of abstract algebra in linguistics, but in the context of the answer to the other link it wouldn't be possible to create any relations A~B in the first place as there aren't Korean characters constructed with different consonants and vowels but sound the same. Even the two most similar sounding vowels ㅔ and ㅐ are strictly speaking pronounced differently.


This game can be applied to Korean. Examples:

  • = → This implies ㅅ=1 by cancellation of ㄱ, ㅏ and ㅂ.
  • = → This implies ㄹ=1 by cancellation of ㅅ, ㅏ and ㅁ.
  • 묶다=묵다 → This implies ㄱ=1 by cancellation of ㅁ, ㅜ, ㄱ, ㄷ and ㅏ.

I do not think this could be expanded to have all jamo equal 1, especially not the vowels.

  • This I think comes close to being the correct answer Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 12:32

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