Korean Hangul in 20 minutes

If you have never tried to learn another script, anything that you see in a different script looks mysterious, strange and difficult to understand. There are many different kinds of scripts in the world, but few as simple as the Korean Hangul.

Creating Hangul

If you’ve seen the writing systems that look like strange scribbles from the far eastern countries, you probably also come across the Korean writing system known as Hangul. Hangul is actually a proper alphabet that was created rather than developed over time. The story goes that a Korean king named Sejong the Great wanted to promote literacy in Korea, especially among his own soldiers, and thought that the Chinese writing system (called hanzi in Chinese, hanja in Korean) was too complicated and didn’t properly correlate to the way Korean was spoken. He set up a competition for linguists to create a writing system specially designed for Korean, which was to be as simple as possible so that anyone could learn it. There were many scripts that were developed in this competition, and the Hangul we see now was elected the winner of the competition.

Well, if the idea was to make a simple writing system, why does it look so complicated, you may ask. Well it really isn’t complicated at all. You just haven’t tried to learn it yet, and as you know, anything you haven’t tried to learn could either be extremely complicated or very easy to learn. In this case, you just don’t know how easy it is just yet.

Hangul is Easy

I believe that anyone can learn to read and write Hangul in less than an hour, no matter what excuses you may come up with, that you just don’t have a mind for languages, that you are too old, or anything else. I also firmly believe that most people can learn it in 20 minutes or less. How cool wouldn’t it be if you could learn a completely new writing system in as much time as it takes to watch an episode of The Simpsons?

Let’s learn Hangul!

Glossika – Korean Alphabet in 10 minutes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS-t9T3Bt-4&rel=0

This video is 10 minutes long and gives you a head start in learning to read and write hangul. It’s among the best videos that I’ve seen so far, despite the poor video quality. Check it out!

Once you have checked out the video, read through the comic below. It’s good for quizzing yourself and solidifying what you learned in the video. I have concluded this article by including a simple chart with all the consonants and vowels and a chart of the entire hangul alphabet.

funny-how-to-speak-Korean

Finally we also have the chart of all the consonants and vowels in Hangul:

Hangeul_New_Version

If you’re interested in seeing the letter combinations that you can make in hangul, here is a simple chart for that. It doesn’t include letters in the final place however. You can print it and put it up on your wall, but I would recommend you to print the shorter version above instead.

full-hangul

I hope you have had fun learning to read hangul!
If you have any questions, please let me know!

Published by

Josef Wigren

is an active guy who loves learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He is a passionate language learner, traveller, cellist, martial artist, scientist, thinker and writer among many other things.

14 thoughts on “Korean Hangul in 20 minutes”

  1. What is that book you are referring to (in the video)? Can you share please? ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. There’s something I don’t quite get in the “simple chart” :
    First, why is there some hangul combination in grey?
    Second, why ํ—ˆ sounds like “hya” even toughใ…“is suppose to sound like “eo” (it’s the same for ์‡ผ and ํ‹ฐ)?

    1. The grey hangul combinations are combinations that are not commonly used, or not at all. To answer your second question, the reading for every character is written underneath the character, not above. I hope this helps.

      1. Yes, I know, but if you look closely, below the ํ– and the ํ—ˆ, the sound is the same even though ใ…“should sound like “eo”. Same for ์‡ผ, the chart says it sounds like “sya” though ใ…› should sound like “yo”. Then ํ‹ฐ, in the chart “ta” even though ใ…ฃshould sound like “i”. Is it because it’s a mistake or is there a specific phonetic thingy that makes the sound change somehow?

      2. ์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์…”์š” thanks to you I picked up the alphabet in 20 minutes. I don’t think even lesrning my mother tongue was this easy. ์บ„์‚ผ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค. I am juggling with subject and topic particles for a week now. Could you please share your magic tips and rules for that? ์ด, ๊ฐ€, ๊ณผ, ์™€, ๋Š”, ์€…. Also Some sentences finishes with seo, seh, eo where as I have mostly encounter yeo yo. How do we know which one to use?

      3. Im with michikohime .. No offense but are those your typos or .. Are those the ACTUAL pronunciations of the words? Please reply .. I’m kinda new to Korean and hangul and my family might be moving to Korea in a year or so .. Soooo .. Yeah .. Please help! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Hey Roa. Short answer: Yes, those are typos on my part. Long answer: Korean is not always straight forward when it comes to pronunciation, so in order to transcribe Korean into English, sometimes you have to write some characters differently in this case, the pronunciation is closer to what I have written even though it’s technically not the correct transcription. I would recommend to use this chart only while learning how to read Korean and as quickly as possible try to exclude roman characters from your practice. That way you will learn faster how things are actually pronounced for real in Korean. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wishing you all the best with your Korean studies and a safe stay in Korea!
          Cheers, Josef

  3. Great intro and presentation – I have been able to read (pronounce) hangul since I was taught the basics when in the Army in 1984 – one my own, I am not a linguist – I stil can read it phonetically all these years later, and surprise myself. I dont know many words, but can read signs, and it is amazing how many works in Korean are the phonetic pronunciation of English like battery, or Imax, or stereo – it’s amazing that the language is so easy to read and pronounce although you do need to know Chinese to read a newspaper – unless you are in North Korea… Thanks.

  4. OMG i can read simple hangul after reading the comic !! although i look like a retard when pronouncing those words but i felt extremely happy and accomplished !! Thanks Josef *gamsahapnida* ๐Ÿ˜€

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