Monday, October 10, 2011
Wives of diplomats mark Hangul Day
Commemorating the invention of the Korean alphabet, Hangul Day was marked with music and merriment as the wives of 12 foreign diplomats in Seoul sang in the “565th Anniversary of Hangul Day” performance on Oct. 9 at the Sejong Cultural Center.
Singers from Alma Latina, a choir made up of diplomat’s wives, were invited to participate in this year’s performance by the government and their conductor, famed soprano Koh Julia Mihyun.
“I was asked by the government to participate in this year’s event, and I thought Alma Latina’s participation would make a special contribution,” Koh said, adding “I teach the ladies Korean, too, and they are enthusiastic about learning the language.”
The ladies of Alma Latina and members of Varioso, a group of Korean and other singers, sang the “Hangul Day Song.”
The Korean language has received international recognition by search portal Google, when the company wrote its corporate logo in Hangul as “구글.”
Asked whether learning to sing in Korean was hard, Inga Hofmann, the wife of a German diplomat here, said, “You know, its pronunciation is really quite natural. So, you can figure out the sound after some familiarity, and then it really isn’t very difficult.”
Hangul was promulgated by Sejong the Great. The project was completed in 1443 or January 1444, and described in 1446 in a document titled Hunmin Jeongeum, in English, “The Proper Sounds for the Education of the People,” after which the alphabet itself was named.
The modern name Hangul was coined by Ju Sigyeong, one of the founders of modern Korean linguistics, in 1912. “Han” meant great in archaic Korean, while “geul” is the native Korean word for script.
Hangul is a true alphabet of 24 consonants and vowels. Instead of being written sequentially like the letters of the Latin alphabet, Hangul letters are grouped into blocks, with each one forming a syllable.