1   2   3
 
 
 


 As we usually don't recognize the importance of air, even though language and characters are used every time of our life, we also don't recognize their importance enough in many cases. Especially we are not accustomed to imagining that people who have no proper characters to express their own language have painful difficulties. But, before Hangeul was created, our nation had to suffer those difficulties.

Before Hangeul, our ancestors had to use Chinese letters for enjoying literal life. As like Latin language played a role of the Ligua Franca in Europe of the Middle age, Chinese characters and Chinese language acted as the Ligua Franca not only in Korea but also all around East Asia including Japan and Vietnam. Considering this, it was rather natural that our ancestors used Chinese characters and literary Chinese for their literature life.

But, it was very hard to dictate our language with Chinese characters because they were made based on Chinese language that was totally different from our language.

Therefore, this led to the separation of spoken language and written language. Usually, it is common that written language reflects spoken language. In some cases, if characters have been used for a long time, they might have independent function, or furthermore the written and spoken languages might have totally different features from each other at last. But usually the distance between spoken and written languages is not too far. However, the gap between Chinese characters and our language was too much wide. For this reason, our ancestors had to make so much effort to learn Chinese letters and literary Chinese.

 
There was an attempt to write our language with Chinese characters, so-called writing method with borrowed characters. When our own proper nouns had to be expressed in texts written in literary Chinese, Chinese characters were borrowed, and that was the first sign of generalization of writing method with borrowed characters. This writing method with borrowed characters had been developed in various areas other than writing proper nouns. It is natural to use one's own language to sing one's feeling sincerely. And the song may be needed to leave with writings for a long time.

 So the song sung with our language was written with borrwed Chinese characters, these songs were called "Hyangga(ʰ)" and the writing method used was called "Hyangchal()". Also when reading the scriptures of Buddhism and Confucianism, they were read with pauses at right position, and postpositions or verbal endings of our own language were attached to clarify how the preceding and following expressions joined.

It was called "gugyeol(Ϣ)". Meanwhile, Using Chinese language was general in official documents of upper class of the nation, but because the middle class people() like petty officials had not enough skill to use literary Chinese as much as ruling class, and to clarify the meaning of texts using postpositions or verbal endings of our own language was needed, modified Chinese language, with word orders changed according to Korean rules and grammatical elements supplemented, was used in official documents of the low-class officials. This is called Yidu().
In this way, the writing method with borrowed characters was developed and used, but Chinese characters were incomplete and inefficient characters to express our own language. First, there were many words in our language not being expressed easily with brrowing "eum(, sound)" or "Hun(, meaning)" of Chinese characters(eg. an onomatope and mimesis) and because there are multiple "Hun" for one Chinese character in general, there were not clear cases which "Hun" should be used to read the Chinese character used in the writing method with borrowed characters. Because of these limitations of the writing method with borrowed characters, as the ruling class had accustomed to Chinese language, its use had been reduced, and patterns of expression had become simplified and routinized.
1   2   3