Lesson 4: Reading and Writing in Hangeul
When Korean is written, you will notice it is not like Japanese, where the letters you learn are all used seperately - like the word "kawaii" ~かわい。
In Korean, the letters are "stacked" in "blocks". The reason why I say it this way is because that's exactly what it looks like.
Korean is called Hangeul - 한글.
For you smart kids, you should already start to catch on.
ㅎ +ㅏ + ㄴ = 한
ㄱ + ㅡ + ㄹ = 글
한 + 글 = 한글
(hangeul - Korean).
Now that you know this, you understand how symbols are formed. Now for why the symbols are formed this way.
Korean is read similarly to English in a way. Unlike Japanese, which is traditionally read from right to left, Korean is also read from left to right, like English is.
Each character in Korean represents one syllable. Characters are structured in a way that can be described as (C)V(C). Consonant - Vowel - Consonant. However, remember that there may not always be a consonant before or after a vowel. But in general, when a syllable consists of three letters, this is the rule it follows.
Your first consonant will always be placed at the left. Your vowel will be placed either to the right or underneath the first consonant, depending on the kind of vowel it is. The two kinds of vowels are HORIZONTAL vowels and VERTICAL vowels. Vertical vowels are those like ㅏ.ㅓ.ㅣ. ㅐ,ㅔ,ㅕ,ㅑ, etc. Horizontal vowels are those like ㅡ, ㅜ, ㅠ, ㅗ,ㅛ, etc. Your final consonant will ALWAYS be placed at the BOTTOM of the character.
When it comes to reading Korean, the only real way to improve upon your reading is to practice. Practice makes perfect and trust me, if you're starting out learning Korean as an English speaker, it WILL be hard for you to read the characters at first. If you expect to be good at reading Korean, you need to practice.
I've worked up some practice problems for you to do in case you are serious enough to practice your reading/writing skills.
Romanize the following sentences.
Re-write the following romanizations in Hangul:
REMEMBER: To write double consonants, like "ss" or "jj", simply press shift when using the key as if you're capitalizing a letter. (For instance, for SS, use shift+T: ㅆ. For JJ, use shift+W: ㅉ.)
[And don't worry about what the words mean at the moment, I'm more concerned with your reading and writing]
If you plan on answering these questions, this is how you add the Korean keyboard to your computer (windows).
Control Panel --> Language & Regional Options --> Change Keyboard or Input Method --> Add Keyboard --> Korean IME. After you press OK, something like THIS should appear on your taskbar.
KO - Korean Language Input method
The little globe - You won't ever use this so don't worry about it.
A - This is your input type. When it has an A, you will type in English letters. If you click on the A, it will change to 가 - This means you will type in Hangeul. If you want to switch between language inputs, simply click the symbol.
漢 - "Han" - Chinese characters. Don't worry about this, we won't ever be using it.
To switch back to your English Keyboard, you can click the KO and it will provide a drop-down menu. If you don't have any other languages installed, it will say "EN (United States/United States International/United Kingdom); KO Korean (Korea)".
As you can see, I have the keyboards for Japanese, Korean, and English installed on my computer, and the check next to KO means that Korean is my default keyboard setting.
For those who decide to do the practice exercises: Please post your answers here so I can check them.