13 votes
Accepted

How does 15th Century Hangul writing/type differ from modern Hangul?

What direction is the text supposed to be read in? Until recently, Korean text was written in columns going down, reading the right-most column first and proceeding leftward. Why are some of the ...
  • 5,914
12 votes

Chronology of orthography before and after the separation of North and South Korea

The first orthographic descriptions of Hangul was indeed in Hunminjeongeum, 1443. But the Korean language changed a lot over the centuries, so most of the old descriptions got useless in the Modern ...
  • 7,312
10 votes
Accepted

두음법칙 - When did North and South diverge in pronunciation of initial ㄹ?

A series of phonological changes regarding word-initial /ㄴ/ and /ㄹ/ are known to have started around Seoul, and spreaded to other regions, as most sociolinguistic changes happen. The change was a very ...
  • 1,367
10 votes
Accepted

Does standard Korean still contain any signs of being a tonal language?

According to The Korean Language by Iksop Lee and S. Robert Ramsey, modern Korean dialects have either tones or vowel lengths or neither, but never both (see map below). The authors do recognize that ...
  • 1,969
9 votes
Accepted

How widely spoken was Korean during the Japanese occupation?

Quick search found this page but paywalled. Thesis is focusing on Korean education during the annexation. It's anyway 11 years old, there might be more recent studies on this area. Quick summary for ...
  • 340
9 votes
Accepted

When did writing Hangul left-to-right become more common?

Around the time Korea got colonized by Japan, the 한글 맞춤법 통일안 (Unified Hangul Grammar Rules) were written by the 조선어 학회 (Korean Language Society). The first appearance of something related to ...
  • 261
7 votes
Accepted

Accurate quote of 훈민정음 Hunminjeongeum

First, don't trust Google Translate, especially if you're learning Korean. Also, keep in mind that the modern Korean sentences you see are already a translation of the original middle Korean, so ...
  • 7,024
6 votes
Accepted

Unusual hangeul syllables in 1920's handwritten Korean?

I'm not an expert on old Korean, but some of them look recognizable. 집 떠난 날 = day of departure from home 서울 떠난 날 = day of departure from Seoul 상해 착(着?) = arrive at Shanghai? 상해 발(發) = departure ...
  • 308
6 votes
Accepted

Why do some hanja characters have multiple hangul?

In this case, it's because of 두음 법칙 (Initial sound rule), which forbids ㄹ and 냐/녀/뇨/뉴/니 at a word-initial position. ㄹ becomes ㄴ, and 냐/녀/뇨/뉴/니 becomes 야/여/요/유/이 when it's placed in front of a word. Of ...
  • 7,312
6 votes
Accepted

Which archaic Hangul letters/sequences were only used for transcribing Chinese?

Most of the letters described below are only introduced in the book Hunminjeongeum and never used afterwards. Also note the IPA sounds are reconstructed and may differ from the actual pronunciation it ...
  • 7,312
5 votes
Accepted

What is the significance of the Korean voting stamp?

卜 (복) ...is the Hanja for 'fortune telling' or 'divination'. From https://kuiwon.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/why-do-voting-stamps-in-korean-polling-booths-use-the-character-%E5%8D%9C/: The first ...
5 votes

Does standard Korean still contain any signs of being a tonal language?

My parents were born and lived in the Gyeongsang region for over 30 years; and I was raised near Seoul. And sometimes, when I say something, they laugh and say "that's not how you say that word," and ...
  • 7,312
5 votes

Does standard Korean still contain any signs of being a tonal language?

(Disclaimer: Everything below applies to Korean spoken around Seoul area. I don't know the state of vowel length distinction in other areas.) Well, the sentence you partially quoted already answers ...
  • 7,024
4 votes

Are some sounds more pleasing to the ear, like ㄴ and ㅁ?

One thing to keep in mind is that (1) ㄴ and ㅁ are common consonants and (2) polite expressions are usually longer. So, there's a good chance that a polite expression will contain either ㄴ or ㅁ. But I ...
  • 7,024
4 votes
Accepted

Why are 댜 뱌 챠 탸 퍄 햐 됴 툐 not used?

Short answer: You can write "bzach" using English letters, and pronounce it, but such a syllable is nowhere to be found in the language. There are plenty of such "gaps", but ...
  • 7,312
4 votes

How does 15th Century Hangul writing/type differ from modern Hangul?

What direction is the text supposed to be read in? Top to bottom, right to left. Why are some of the Hangul characters smaller than others? The smaller ones are to indicate sounds of the bigger ...
  • 7,312
4 votes
Accepted

Why do the consonants ㄱ, ㄷ, and ㅅ have irregular names?

From the Wikipedia article on Hanguel (Letter names): Hangul letters were named by Korean linguist Choe Sejin in 1527. South Korea uses Choe's traditional names, most of which follow the format ...
  • 2,824
4 votes
Accepted

Etymology of Native Korean Numbers and Related Words

AFAIK, this is as far back as you can go. Korean is linguistically regarded as a language isolate, which has no sister languages anywhere else in the world. The comparative method, which is used for ...
  • 7,312
4 votes
Accepted

How important is Old Hangul in modern Korean culture?

No, I don't believe old Korean is important for anything other than the study of history and language. We might have a passing curiosity when we encounter it but no more than that, in my opinion. As ...
  • 1,029
3 votes
Accepted

Why are ㅅ ㅆ pronounced as a stop when they are in the 받침?

Korean syllables may only end in single stops, either nasal or non-nasal stops, or in vowels. This is a defining feature of modern Korean phonotactics. Even if the hangeul shows two consonants, only ...
  • 2,044
3 votes
Accepted

Is Korean an official language in South Korea?

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer (or language lawyer). According to the Official Language wiki page you linked (emphasis mine): An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in ...
  • 7,024
3 votes
Accepted

Is it true that government intervention is partly responsible for a decline in hanja usage?

Just as I guessed, a big factor was (not teaching Hanja in) the schools... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanja South South Korean primary schools abandoned the teaching of hanja in 1971. ...
  • 346
3 votes

Unusual hangeul syllables in 1920's handwritten Korean?

I can't decipher all of it, but the ㅅㄷ combination is an old way of writing the ㄸ character; so it would say "떠난 날". (I think it's 떠난 날, but with 아래 아, a dot under the consonant, an old ...
  • 5,914
3 votes

Accurate quote of 훈민정음 Hunminjeongeum

Maybe Wikipedia's translation is accurate. Because the speech of this country is different from that of China, it [the spoken language] does not match the [Chinese] letters. Therefore, even if the ...
  • 589
3 votes
Accepted

Does foreknowledge of Cantonese, rather than Mandarin, assist you more in learning Korean?

TL;DR - possibly. Cantonese speakers have an advantage over Mandarin speakers in some areas, but it depends. If you go through a general list of phonemes first, you see that Korean phonology is very ...
  • 2,044
3 votes

So, I found this word (한 ) / HAN / HANN. I first encountered it on a KPOP song ((G)-IDLE). Can I use it?

Koreans generally don't believe in the concept of cultural appropriation: we are happy when we see other people enjoying Korean culture, so you don't have to worry too much about being "...
  • 7,024
2 votes
Accepted

Has [ʕ] ever been present in Korean?

닿아 etc used to be pronounced [다하] as late as the 19th century. For example, 몽고국 모ᄃᆞᆫ 변방을 건너 바로 경셩에 다하시니 ≪1883 이언 3:3ㄴ≫ The intervocalic /h/ probably was [ɦ ~ ʕ] before it vanished. Are you sure ...
  • 7,312
2 votes

Unusual hangeul syllables in 1920's handwritten Korean?

The original Hangul, called 훈민정음Hun-min-jung-eum, had more diverse combinations and few more characters compared to current usage, such as ㅴ, ㆋ, ㅿ, ㆍ,ㆆ. We believe that these allowed Hangul to express ...
  • 694
2 votes

Historical Text: how to translate domesticated animals 謂牛馬雞犬

Korean translation for the whole story can be found here: 해동고승전 세속오계 삼국사기 살생유택의 의미를 이해하다 The story is about what's known as '원광의 세속오계 중 살생유택' that has much to do with Confucianism. Four domestic ...
  • 1,214

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible