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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: Holidays in South Korea Series on KoreanClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Korean holidays and observances. I’m Brandon, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 9: Hangul Proclamation Day or 한글날(hangeul-nal)
Did you find learning 한글(Hangul) hard at first? Many people studying Korean at KoreanClass101.com have said that the Korean characters, 한글(Hangul), are easier to learn than other writing systems.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about Hangul Proclamation Day or 한글날(hangeul-nal). It takes place on October 9th and commemorates the creation of 한글(Hangeul) characters.
Now before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: Hangul Proclamation Day has been celebrated since 1926, but used to be called something else. Do you know what it was called?
If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Hangul characters were created and circulated in 1446 by 세종대왕(sejong-daewang) or King Sejong of the Joseon dynasty. Even back then, the Korean language was spoken like it is today, but it had no characters of its own. Koreans used Chinese characters when writing. However, Chinese characters took so long to learn that farmers and other people who had to work had a hard time learning them. So in order to create a writing system that anyone could learn, King Sejong founded a place called 집현전(Jiphyeonjeon) where Hangul was created.
So why do you think Hangul is easy to learn? It's because Hangul is a combination of consonants and vowels sounds, and its special characteristic is that almost every sound can be written. Also, you don’t need to memorize a large number of characters.
Many Hangul letters were made similar to the shape of your mouth or tongue when you pronounce the letter, so anyone can easily memorize and learn them.
To celebrate how great Hangul is, various events take place all over Korea on Hangul Proclamation Day, including fashion shows with clothes designed and inspired by Hangul or various pieces of art that use Hangul.
Also on Hangul Proclamation Day, many websites change their logos from English to Korean characters. Even Google changes its logo to Hangul on Hangul Proclamation Day.
Here's our fun fact for the day! Did you know that other countries, not only Korea, have been using Hangul, too? Indonesia's Cia-Cia tribe has begun to recognize Hangul as its official lettering because Hangul is easy to learn compared to other writing systems.
Now it’s time to answer our quiz question: what was Hangul Proclamation Day originally called? In 1926, when Hangul Proclamation Day was first celebrated, it was called 가갸날(Gagyanal) or Ga-gya Day. The Hangul alphabet starts with the characters of 기역(Giyeok), such as 가(Ga), 갸(Gya), 거(Geo), 겨(Gyeo), 고(Go), 교(Gyo), 구(Gu), 규(Gyu), 그(Geu) and 기(Gi). That was how it first got its name of Ga-gya Day or 가갸날(Gagyanal.)
How was this lesson? Did you learn a lot of interesting things?
What kind of alphabet does your country use? Is there a day to celebrate it?
Please leave us a comment at KoreanClass101.com
And we’ll see you next time!