Friday, March 1, 2013


Often times in class we study the creation of letter forms and typefaces, but today I wanted to take a broader view of typography and explore the creation of an entire writing system. The writing system in particular that I wanted to talk about is the Korean alphabet, called Hangul. I've had a fascination with learning different languages my whole life and this year I began learning Korean. What interested me instantly when I started to learn Korean was that the alphabet was very uniquely designed. Hangul, created by King Sejong in 1444, is a featural alphabet, which is an alphabet wherein the shapes of the letters are not arbitrary, but encode phonological features of the phonemes they represent. Numerous linguists have praised Hangul, describing it as "remarkable", "the most perfect phonetic system devised", and "brilliant, so deliberately does it fit the language like a glove." Let's take a look at how it works:

Because of this unique and innovative design, Hangul is one of the most easy to learn alphabets in the world, which is why Korea has a nearly 100% literacy rate.

Here is a link I thought was interesting where you can learn more about global writing systems:

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