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Korean name
Hangul 훈민정음 (modern Korean) / 훈민 져ᇰᅙᅳᆷ (original name)
Hanja 訓民正音
Revised Romanization Hunminjeong(-)eum
McCune–Reischauer Hunminjŏngŭm

Promulgated in September or October 1446, Hunminjeongeum (lit. The Correct/Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People) was an entirely new and native script for the Korean people. The script was initially named after the publication, but later came to be known as hangul. It was created so that the common people illiterate in hanja could accurately and easily read and write the Korean language. Its supposed publication date, October 9, is now Hangul Day in South Korea.



The publication is written in Classical Chinese and contains a preface, the alphabet letters (jamo), and brief descriptions of their corresponding sounds. It is later supplemented by a longer document called Hunminjeongeum Haerye. To distinguish it from its supplement, Hunminjeongeum is sometimes called the "Samples and Significance Edition of Hunminjeongeum" (훈민정음예의본; 訓民正音例義本).

The Classical Chinese of the Hunminjeongeum has been partly translated into Middle Korean. This translation is found together with Worinseokbo, and is called the Hunminjeongeum Eonhaebon.

The first paragraph of the document reveals King Sejong's motivation for creating hangul:

故愚民 有所欲言
Hunmin Jeongeum mixed.svg
  • Rendered into Korean written in Hangul (Eonhaebon):[1]
Hunmin Jeongeum.svg
  • Translation:
Because the speech of this country is different from that of China, it [the spoken language] doesn't match the [Chinese] letters. Therefore, even if the ignorant want to communicate, many of them in the end cannot state their concerns. Saddened by this, I have [had] 28 letters newly made. It is my wish that every man may easily learn these letters and that [they] be convenient for daily use.


The manuscript of the original Hunminjeongeum has two versions:

  • Seven pages written in Classical Chinese, except where the Hangul letters are mentioned, as can be seen in the image at the top of this article. Three copies are left:
    • The one found at the beginning of the Haerye copy
    • The one included in Sejongsillok (세종실록; 世宗實錄; "The Sejong Chronicles"), Volume 113.
  • The Eonhaebon, 36 pages, extensively annotated in hangul, with all hanja transcribed with small hangul to their lower right. The Hangul were written in both ink-brush and geometric styles. Four copies are left:
    • At the beginning of Worinseokbo (월인석보; 月印釋譜), an annotated Buddhist scripture
    • One preserved by Park Seungbin
    • One preserved by Kanazawa, a Japanese
    • One preserved by the Japanese Ministry of Royal Affairs

See also


  1. ^ a b "Hunminjeongeum Eonhaebon". Retrieved 2006-07-14.   Linked from KTUG's Hanyang PUA Table Project. Based on data from The 21st Century Sejong Project

External links



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