This is a project for my design class for which I had to study an alphabet. Rather than making something out of paper and glue I decided to make an interactive tool to explore the language. Hangul follows distinct rules that allow you could built syllables almost algorithmically.

So the idea was that you could use this tool to build characters on the fly and see how they are pronounced. It's not perfect, and not 100% accurate since writing pronunciation in English is actually impossible to get perfect because we don't have all of the sounds.


Prior to 1446, Korea did not have its own writing system. Instead they would use the Chinese Hanja to write instead. The language was complicated and did not directly map to spoken Korean grammar so only the educated class could learn it. This meant that literacy was a right reserved for the upper class.

King Sejong was displeased that the majority of his subjects could not have their voices heard, since there was no convenient way for the average citizen to send messages long distances. He wanted to develop a simple language that the average person could learn quickly, and that clearly mapped to the spoken language his subjects were all familiar with.

In 1446 he created Hunmin Jeongeum, at least, he was credited for creating it. This translates to: "proper sounds for instructing people," a 28 letter writing system that would later become the 26 letter Hangul. With this language, even the poorest citizen could learn the 28 letters and be able to sound out the words they read.

Hangul wasn't widely accepted at first, however when Japan started their occupation of Korea they encouraged to use of Hangul in favor of Hanja to reduce China's grip on the nation. However once Japan had achieved a firmer grasp they banned Hangul in favor of Japanese.

But now Hangul is the primary writing system in both North and South Korea. Some elements of the writing system are different across the border but it's hard to collect information on what exactly is different.


S.C.S. "The Economist Explains: How was Hangul Invented" The Economist,

Published Oct 17, 2016
AuthorPotatoes Are Not Explosive