Introduction to the Hangeul Globalization Project
In Korea, we have a unique phonemic alphabet, Hangeul, distinguished from other languages. Hangeul is an invention coined with unique phonemic letters differentiated from Chinese characters, Japanese Kana and Roman characters from the West. It goes without saying that Hangeul has been designed from scientific angle. The scientific methods used to create Hangeul have received ongoing compliments from a number of scholars across the globe.

It is comprised of both consonants and vowels that are clearly distinguished. Due to the brilliant linguistic invention, the letters patterned on the vocal organs, it has been viewed as one of the easiest languages to learn. A French writer, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, the Nobel Prize winner for literature in 2008, appraised Hangeul saying, “Unlike English and French, Hangeul is a very unique language that can be learned easily. A day is enough to master reading in Korean. Moreover, it’s very scientific and convenient language for communication.” (The Chosun Ilbo, December 2008, “Learn languages through literature and change personality” from an interview with Le Clezio, the Nobel Prize winner for literature in 2008.) The scientific approach on the creation of Hangeul has been evaluated as the most suitable language for the information-oriented society in 21st Century. It is also playing a pivotal role in showing strong national competitiveness, leading Korea as an Information Technology giant. Recently, the beauty of Hangeul has received spotlight in various fields ranging from culture to arts, luring the people worldwide.

Hangeul, invented on a humane purpose, was complimented on its excellent, scientific and unprecedented phonemic alphabet system that has shined Korea in the International stage. Hangeul should be introduced as a cultural content to represent Korea. Currently, however, it is not as popular as Chinese and Japanese. To make the matter worse, it has been abused in the world-famous Web sites as distorted information has started to spread online. Among numerous fallacies shown online, the United States Department of State (www.state.gov) has described Hangeul as a language similar to Japanese and its grammar different from that of Chinese and has been influenced by Japanese. Furthermore, the world-famous encyclopedia publishing company, Encyclopedia (www.encyclopedia.com) and The Encyclopedia of the Nations (www.nationsencyclopedia.com) posted wrong information stating that Hangeul is an imitation of Chinese character. CBS broadcasting (www.cbs.com) stated that Korean language is a concoction of Korean and English, saying English is used in Korea as an official language along with Hangeul.

As a professor said, “Hangeul is the best creation of Korean culture,” Hangeul is not only a language tool for communication. It is a definite and core content of Korean culture that has been infused from Korean spirit. People from all over the world can understand Koreans and the nation itself through Hangeul. Thus, it would be a great loss for Korea if it fails to provide correct information and introduce Korea to the world. It would be a great failure in promoting its national competitiveness in the international stage. It is the right time to make a move. Korea’s cultural assets have been stressed in other countries, hallyu or Korean wave is spreading rapidly not only in Asia but also in the Middle East and Africa. Moreover, international communities are showing interest on Korea as the domestic companies have started to advance into other countries.

To build national competitiveness in the culture industry, Cyber diplomats VANK and The National Institute of the Korean Language has planned to start the 21st Century King Sejong Project to introduce Hangeul to the world. It will initially foster Korean netizens as Hangeul informants known as 21 Century King Sejong, to introduce correct usage of Hangeul. They will edit information on Hangeul, offer accurate information and promote the language via world-famous Web sites, textbooks and encyclopedias.
If you love and support King Sejong’s benignant purpose for invention of Hangeul, be the 21st Century King Sejong and make Hangeul known to the world!