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This Question Came to My Inbox: “How Did Hangul Change the Way the People Speak?” I actually disagree with the premise in this question.

This question predisposes that Hangul changed the way the people speak. The invention of an alphabet doesn’t particularly change the way the people speak. The invention of the alphabet describes how they speak. The spoken language is living because people are living and constantly changing. If the premise in this question were true, it would mean that the way people speak has become standardized because of hangul, but the way they speak has not become standardized. In fact, there are two letters that are written differently, but are pronounced the same: 에 and 애. They say in the beginning, these two letters were pronounced differently, but with time, they have lost the difference and are pronounced the same now. That is because the letters were made to describe the way the people spoke when they were invented, but especially spoken language is living because people are living, and they have lost the difference in the pronunciation.

Dictionaries regulate spelling, but they can’t regulate speaking//.Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is not to say that what is written can’t influence the language, but language changes slower after you have standardizations in writing taking place. In English, we have Samuel Johnson’s dictionary that first standardized English spelling. Before Johnson’s dictionary, people wrote any way they pleased, and the spelling was not standardized. Now, there is a right way and a wrong way to spell everything in English. However, it doesn’t change how people speak. Accents still exist. It may have slowed down the rate of change in the pronunciations, but it didn’t stop them because people are still alive.

Teachers can teach us grammar, but they can’t change the way we speak. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Development of grammar standardized what we write on t he page, but it didn’t particularly change the way we speak either. It may have some because English teachers are busy trying to teach everyone to speak correctly, but she can’t monitor us every second. There is no real standard in speaking. When I was taught to teach essay writing a long time ago, the teacher said to us to teach the students that what they write on the page and what they speak to Grandmother is like two different dialects. We speak one way to Grandmother, and it is correct. If we spoke to her like how we write, she may be insulted. However, the style that we use when we write an essay is the style of speaking that we must use when we go for a job interview. We want to sound like an educated person in an educated environment. We are more likely to get the job if our boss thinks we know something. Since we are alive, they really can’t standardize the way we speak. The way we speak changes all the time.

I drove my dad crazy because I was a little American girl who spoke with a British accent. I was alive, and I was influenced by those around me.//Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Just as English constantly changes, Korean constantly changes. The changes may be small, and we may not initially notice them, but they happen. When I was a child, I acquired a British accent. My parents were Americans, but we lived in England, and I went to English schools.It happened to me gradually without me even knowing when or how it happened. My dad was put off by my accent and wanted me to change it, so I tried. It isn’t easy to consciously change an accent. I ended up with a rather generic accent that foreigners like to listen to because they consider it easier to understand. Now, I am in Oklahoma, and I hear the accent again like I always hear it when I come to Oklahoma. I wonder if I will slip into using the accent because accents creep up on us without us every realizing what is happening. We are alive, and the spoken language we use is alive. We influence one another when we speak. The thing that has proven to standardize our spoken language more than anything is mass media. We all think the way the new broadcasters speak is correct, so some people try to copy the way they speak ,and it may be subconsciously. However, accents still exist.

King Sejeong did a world of good for his people.//Photo by Marius Mann on Pexels.com

There was a big change, however, that came when hangul was invented. King Sejeong invented Hangul because most of the Korean people were illiterate. He wanted to see his people reading books and to know what was going on in the world. However, the system of writing they had, the hanmoon (the Chinese characters) was difficult. Only the elite portion of the popoulation had the time and resources to learn to read the hanmoon. King Sejeong wanted all the Korean people to be able to read, so he invented hangul. Now a days, all Koreans read. Koreans can boast basically 100% literacy. King Sejeong accomplished his purpose. He wasn’t out to change the way they spoke, but to change how much they could read, to upgrade the knowledge of the Korean population, and he did it. He became a hero the Korean people. Hangul didn’t change the way they speak,/ However, there is one way that Korean is supposed to be written on the page, and another way that you are supposed to speak it. It is just hard to regulate the way people speak because people are alive, so spoken language is alive.

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