Hunminjongum is an independent alphabet based on the experiences gained by the Korean nation in using characters for a long time. It was invented in January 1444.
It is a succession to the Sinji Characters invented by the Korean nation in ancient times.
Hunminjongum means correct sounds to teach the people.
When it was invented, it had 28 letters including 17 consonants and 11 vowels. Later, with the enrichment and diversification of linguistic life, the consonants increased to 19 and vowels to 21 to become similar to the modern Korean alphabet.
Hunminjongum, a developed type of alphabetic characters, has its unique principle of making letters.
The basic letters were modelled after the shapes of vocal organs such as tongue, lips and throat changing when they make sounds. Other letters were also made systematically in the way of deriving phonetically identical letters from the basic letters.
Hunminjongum can write all the gentle and aspirated sounds and fortes. Therefore, it can write nearly all sounds of words of any country and vividly express the human feelings. It is also favourable for recording the language information data as you can typewrite the vowels with right hand and consonants with left hand on computer keyboard.
Hunminjongum is easy to learn and convenient to write as its letters have simple strokes and are systematically related to each other. Ancient Koreans said “a clever man can learn Hunminjongum overnight and even a dull man in ten days”.
Along with the invention of Hunminjongum, the national culture of Korea developed and her linguistic cultural heritage got richer.