Hangul 한글: The Korean Alphabet

ㅎ ㅏ ㄴ ㄱ ㅡ ㄹ

Hangul 한글=the Korean alphabet

A very brief history:

Hangul (한글) is sometimes written as ‘Hangeul’ and is referred to as Chosun gul (조선글) in North Korea and China. Hangul is the alphabet used almost exclusively in the Korean language with the exception of a few Chinese characters (hanja/한자) used in formal writing.

Hangul was invented by the Korean King Sejong the Great during the Joseon Dynasty (which is where we get the name ‘Chosun gul’/조선글 for Korean) in 1443. It consists of 19 consonants and 21 vowel letters, making it a phonetic alphabet like English. However, unlike English, the vowels and consonants are grouped into blocks to form a syllable. So ㅎ ㅏㄴ becomes 한. Each of the letters was written to mimic the shape of the mouth and tongue when pronouncing it. For example the letter ㄹ makes a combined r/l sound and so looks like a tongue rolling the sound (though there are other reasons besides this that the letters look as they do).

Since Hangul was simple and phonetic it meant that anyone, regardless of status, gender or education could read and write. Gradually, Hangul began to be used more and more and people who had previously been unable to share their thoughts through the written word were given a voice. Ladies-in-waiting wrote court novels based on the secret lives of the royalty they served, a woman could write the genealogy of her family (a job usually undertaken by the male head of the family) a poor peddler could write poetry and a merchant could put forth articles on his political opinion. The creation of Hangul changed history forever.

Some of the combined sounds a Hangul can be a bit challenging but this alphabet is otherwise very simple to learn, which greatly simplifies the language learning process for any student of the language. If you are interested in learning to read and write Hangul, please refer to this following links and/or consult the Resources section of this blog.
Good luck in your studies!

ZKorean’s Guide

PopPopping Korean -a great app I used often in my early days of learning Korean.

This super-helpful comic really helped Hangul to ‘click’ for me.

Talk To Me In Korean‘s video lessons on Hangul

Not perfect on pronunciation but still a great video for making it simple.

Cool educational video

부추 무침 Seasoned Garlic Chives


부추 무침 (bu-chu-mu-chim)

Seasoned Garlic Chives

This is a quick and easy Korean side dish (반찬) and is, I believe, the first real side dish I made for my husband, Chanshig. The fresh and crisp taste goes especially well with grilled meat.

If you are in Asia you will have no trouble finding these chives but if you’re in another country you might have to check your Asian grocer, as you probably will for some of the other ingredients. When I lived in America my Korean teacher grew these herself and always shared her bounty with me, so I learned to make a few dishes with them.

If you are unsure about shopping for some of these ingredients, try copying and pasting the Korean or English name into Google images to get an idea of what kind of package you are looking for. Or, when in doubt, buy online. 

재료 Ingredients:

9oz 부추 Garlic chives

approx. 2 tsp (depending on how spicy you want it) 고춧 가루 Korean red pepper flakes (Note: DO NOT substitute with something else. This is a unique product.) 

1/2 tsp 소금 Salt

1 tsp 다진 마늘 Minced garlic

1 tsp 참기름 Sesame oil (not the toasted kind)

1 tsp 간장 soy sauce

1tsp 멸치액젓 fish sauce/anchovy sauce (make sure it’s the clear kind)

1/2 tsp 깨 toasted sesame seeds

지시 Instructions:

  1. Sort through the chives and discard any wilted ones. Then rinse chives and drain. After the water has been well drained off cut chives into approximately 3 in/6 cm pieces. Put in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Prepare other ingredients and mix together in a small bowl. This is your seasoning.
  3. Put on some plastic gloves and gradually mix in the seasoning with your hands. This is the real Korean way!

    부추 무침
  4. Before transferring to a container, pick up some of the seasoned chives (while wearing the gloves, of course) and feed by hand to a loved one so they can check the taste. If no one is available, feed to yourself. This is the real Korean way! Again!
  5. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  Note: This only lasts a few days so be sure to eat it up quickly!


Let me know if you tried this recipe and what you thought. 맛있게 먹으세요! Eat well!