Since I am writing about Asian writing systems this week 😉 I wanted to show readers this gift from a Korean friend of mine:
This bookmark features the Hun-min-jeong-eum (훈민정음), which is the Korean document that announces the new writing system of Hangeul promulgated by King Sejong the Great. Here is a closeup of the bookmark and the document:
The text of the document, which was a mix of classical Chinese characters and the new Korean hangul, reads as follows:
Translated as follows:
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 ignorant want to communicate, many of them in the end cannot state their concerns. Saddened by this, I have [had] 28 letters newly made. It is my wish that all the people may easily learn these letters and that [they] be convenient for daily use.
The rest of course is history. 😉
On interesting note is that the Hangul at the time looks somewhat different than Hangul now. Certain letter combinations used now apparently didn’t exist at the time, and thus Hangul looked a bit more disjoined. For example the document’s name is currently written as 훈민정음 but at the time was written as 훈〮민져ᇰ〮ᅙᅳᆷ.
Anyhow, here’s a salute to King Sejong the Great for his accomplishments in improving the lives of his people. 🙂