Ingenious Designer Sejong: The Hidden Code Used in Designing Hangeul

Prof. Sang Oak Lee
Friday, October 11, 2019 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace
10,000won for non-members and 5,000won for student non-members (with student ID); free for members

Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch lecture series


이미지: 텍스트

Ingenious Designer Sejong:

The Hidden Code Used in Designing Hangeul


October 9 is celebrated in Korea as Hangeul Day and this evening’s lecture is offered as a way of reflecting more deeply on the origin and characteristics of Hangeul. It will focus on three main topics:

      How can graphical studies contribute to our understanding of writing systems?

      How can we enhance our linguistic descriptions of writing systems through anatomy and statistics?

      How can cross-linguistic studies elucidate key aspects of different writing systems?

The lecture will show how the structure of the Korean alphabet is uniquely logical and systematic. It is a notable fact that the vowels are based on three philosophical symbols for Heaven, Earth, and Human, while the consonants are based on the shapes of speech organs. Some western scholars claim that a few of the symbols used in Hangeul are copied from other writing systems, but this ignores the unity of the entire Hangeul system. The Korean alphabet, as an embodiment of King Sejong’s genius, has offered the world a unique and unprecedented featural phonetic transcription system, the world’s first ‘Visible Speech.’

Sang Oak Lee is an Emeritus Professor of Korean Linguistics at Seoul National University and also taught at the University of Sydney (1994-97). In 1973 as a Fulbright-Hays grantee he entered the University of Illinois at Unbana, and received his Ph.D. in 1978. He moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to serve as a Research Fellow in the Harvard-Yenching Institute for two years. He was also a grantee of Humboldt Fellowship during the years of 1985 and 1986 at Munich University, and in 2003 at Technical University of Berlin. He is interested in phonetics, phonology, morphology, and quantitative linguistics. He has engaged in Korean language instruction to foreign students from 1969 to date. He has published a dissertation entitled ‘Middle Korean Tonology’, 1979, and a textbook with the title “Standard Korean for Japanese” (in Japanese) in Tokyo, 1974, and a series of textbooks entitled “Korean Through English”.

Venue:          Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace,

                      Gwanghwamun (near Anguk Station, across street from Japanese Embassy)

                      * Somerset Palace is no longer providing free parking. 


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Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
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[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

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