Writing system

Formerly the languages of the Korean peninsula were written using hanja, using hyangchal or idu. Such systems relied on principles of rebus, and were lost, later in history. Writing became confined to the ruling elite, who used hanja to write in Classical Chinese.

Korean is now mainly written in Hangul, the Korean alphabet promulgated in 1446 by Sejong the Great. While South Korean schools still teach 1,800 hanja characters, North Korea abolished the use of hanja decades ago.

Below is a chart of the Korean alphabet’s symbols and their canonical IPA values:

RR b d j g pp tt jj kk p t ch k s h ss m n ng r,l
IPA p t t͡ɕ k t͡ɕ͈ t͡ɕʰ s h m n ŋ w r j
RR i e oe ae a o u eo eu ui ye yae ya yo yu yeo wi we wae wa wo
IPA i e ø ɛ a o u /ə/ or /ɔ/ ɯ ɰi je ja jo ju /jə/ or /jɔ/ wi we wa /wə/ or /wɔ/

Modern Korean is written with spaces between words, a feature not found in Chinese or Japanese. Korean punctuation marks are almost identical to Western ones. Traditionally, Korean was written in columns from top to bottom, right to left, but is now usually written in rows from left to right, top to bottom.

Credit: Wikipedia Org.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_language