Periodic Table of Hangul

Hi,

My name is Darim Kim and I am a graphic designer.

I am currently working on my personal project related to Hangul, which is the Korean writing system.

I designed the attached "Periodic Table of Hangul" for the sake of compiling the essential information about Hangul, especially for beginners. The purpose of this design is introducing Hangul to non-Korean speakers. It does not cover every single aspect of Hangul, and I do not think people will master Hangul with this wallpaper. However, I believe that they can start reading and writing Hangul with this and that is all I expect.

I have tested this design with a few people and revised it several times. While I was reviewing the information by myself, I started to feel that I need more opinions to make this design useful.

So I attached the image here to get some input from the experts like you. I appreciate your critique of the overall information and design.
(I posted this topic here, not under the Critique forum, since I want to hear your opinions as a user about the comprehensibility of the content.)

After I finish the design, I will release the wallpaper (for free).

Thanks a lot in advance! :)

Edit(11/17/2010): The original image of the post was deleted. Please check the updated file in the following link.

http://www.aboutletters.com/2010/11/periodic-table-of-hangul-updated/

cerulean's picture

Excellent information design. This is very informative and accessible to me, with no prior knowledge of Hangul. It quickly taught me more about Hangul than I had thought I could learn.

I was confused by your use of the word "invisible" (and the dotted outline as universal symbol for "invisible") in your explanation of the circle consonant as Initial. I think you just mean that it is silent. The presentation makes it unclear as to whether it should be written in or left as an empty space, and I only guessed the former by reasoning that without a shape or sound there would be nothing to associate it with that particular consonant at all.

agisaak's picture

Very nice.

I agree with Cerulean that 'silent' would be a better choice of words than 'invisible' (or, possibly, 'glottal stop', though your target audience might not be familiar with that term). Also for 'eu' I'd replace "as in 'good'" with "similar to 'good'" (or something to that effect).

In keeping with the periodic table metaphor, you might also want to invent at least one novel jamo and claim that it is a synthetic jamo whose half-life is so small that it has not been observed in actual hangul syllables :)

André

Darim's picture

Cerulean, and André,

Thank you for the great input and the kind compliments.
The "invisible" word was chosen without deep thought after a volunteer mentioned it after he found out the way to convert an English name like "Elaine" into Hangul. He thought the Hangul Jamo "ㅇ" was like a fake consonant used as The Initial to fill space. I thought the mute icon might help to explain what I was trying to say, but I guess not. I will definitely correct this confusion in the next revision.

André, that is a fun idea about the synthetic Jamo. I will consider it. ;)

agisaak's picture

I think the problem with the mute icon is that it occurs in a different box from the word 'invisible'.

Do please post your next revision. I'd love to see it.

André

Darim's picture

Thanks for the feedback, André.

Yes, I will eventually replace the current version with a new one.

I also found a mistake that I did not notice.

In the vowel section, the description of the example word TRIM should be:
"There must be a vowel followed after The Initial",
not
"…a vowel followed by The Initial".

I've read it too many times, so, for the past few days I have been scanning the document rather than reading it.

:O

cerulean's picture

To say "followed after" is not the right English idiom. You could replace it with "after", "following", or "that follows". Or the whole sentence could be: "The Initial must be followed by a vowel."

quadibloc's picture

I didn't notice that part before either. There is a mistake there, all right. Since "The Initial" is not in quotes, "The" cannot be capitalized.

And, as already noted, since the Initial is followed by the vowel, not the other way around, "There must be a vowel following the initial" is probably what you want. Actually, though, what you are really attempting to say is "There must be a vowel immediately following the initial"; that is, the very next thing after the initial must be a vowel, so that when a syllable begins with a consonant cluster, it must be split into multiple syllables, with all consonants other than the last followed by a placeholder vowel.

In general, I found the chart excellent. At first, I had my doubts that organizing the material into a "Periodic Table" would make sense, but in fact it is an excellent and clear explanation of the Korean writing system.

Since the paired consonants that can only be used as the final are grouped together, the three that can only be used as the initial probably should be as well.

Some more minor nitpicks with the English, to make it flow idiomatically:

While phrasing such as 'is called "The Initial"' is natural in English, the quotes and/or capitalization probably should not be used elsewhere in the chart.

Another typo is the sentence "All syllables in Hangul must begin with a consonant and followed by a vowel". The word "and" should be removed. You could keep the "and" in a construction such as "All syllables in Hangul must begin with a consonant and a vowel immediately following".

Darim's picture

cerulean and quadibloc,
Thanks for the input. I will make the correction. I was more concerned about the design and content when creating this wallpaper and less so about proper idiomatic English expressions. I will address these now.

quadibloc,
Yes, I see your point. If I capitalized "The" in the term "The Initial" it should have quotes around both words. This makes sense.

OK, I will remove the "and" from the sentence "...with a consonant and followed by a vowel." When friends and I read this, it made sense. But, it does read better with the "and" removed.

Thank you very much for your time.
I really appreciate everyone's help!

:) :) :)

Theunis de Jong's picture

Will you put it up as a PDF somewhere?

As a primarily linguistics typesetter, every now and then I encounter the odd Hangul phrases, and I'd really like to know what I'm typesetting :-)

(Where did you get the IPA notation from? Wikipedia suggests "hɑːŋɡʊl", rather than your "haːngɯl".)

agisaak's picture

Wikipedia gives [hɑːŋɡʊl] as the English pronunciation. Darim's phonetic rendering is correct for Korean (and this is also noted in Wikipedia).

André

Theunis de Jong's picture

(Got it.) ;-)

Darim's picture

Thanks André for the clarification.

Theunis de Jong,
It is not a big deal for me to save the JPEG file as PDF. However, if you meant a file that is not a flattened image, I probably would not provide it to the public.
If you are interested, it will also be available as a print soon.

Thank you. :)

William Berkson's picture

Thanks, very interesting.

Darim's picture

The Periodic Table of Hangul is updated.
Please click the link to view it.
http://www.aboutletters.com/2010/11/periodic-table-of-hangul-updated/

Thanks again to everybody who kindly read and left comments on this post. Especially, I appreciate cerulean, quadibloc, and André for your help and time.

Cerulean, quadibloc, and André,
I'd like to send you free prints when it is available to show my appreciation. If you are interested, please email me your mailing address to info@aboutletters.com.

Thank you.

Darim

agisaak's picture

Just a quick note here:

Your uppermost box probably should be titled 'What are Jamo?', and in the second sentence the words 'Jamo', 'Jaeum', and 'Moeum' should either be in single quotes or italicised since you are not using, but rather mentioning, the words. I'd alter the final sentence to "Jamo can be vowels or consonants, and are the building blocks of the Hangul script."

Best,
안드레

guifa's picture

agisaak: Glottal stop isn't appropriate for ㅇ initial, as it really just represents a null (absent) consonant. If you have the sequence 이오 (i-o), it can be replaced and/or pronounced as 요 (yo), at least so said my Korean teacher, but this was years ago, so someone may correct me on the orthography. But in any case, the sequence 이오 wouldn't ever be rendered /iʔo/, just /io/ or /jo/.

agisaak's picture

Gulfa,

You are quite right -- I was thinking specifically of a word-initial (or, more properly, utterance initial) rather than syllable-initial ㅇ. And even in such cases, the glottal stop isn't phonemic so it would be a misleading description of the writing system.

André

Darim's picture

riccard0, maybe you might need to flush the DNS cache.

André, Thank you, I will correct it.
Is André a French name? If it is, since your name is pronounced as /ang/, I think you might want to write your name as 앙드레. ;)

quadibloc's picture

André is definitely a French name, but the "n" in that name is not pronounced "ng". It is pronounced slightly differently from an "n" in English in that it is nasalized, and so the pronunciation might be transliterated in English as "Onhdray", but I don't think that's a distinction that can be expressed in Hangul.

agisaak's picture

The French pronunciation would be [ã:dˈʁe], but I use the English pronunciation [ˈã:ndɹeɪ̯]. I'm not sure if the final ㅇ in Korean can be used to express nasalization of the vowel as well as [ŋ] -- if so, that would be appropriate for French, but not really for English (at least not phonemically -- many English speakers don't pronounce [n] before plosives, but that's a purely phonetic process). However, I appear to have gotten the rest right so you should be pleased with the effectiveness of your chart :-)

André

Darim's picture

André,
I am impressed!
I actually thought you already knew how to write in Hangul before the Hangul wallpaper, because it was flawless and... you even typed it! Writing is one thing, and typing is another matter. :) So, I was only nitpicking.

Quadibloc, and André
I should've asked if the name is pronounced as a French name.

Yes, the final ㅇis also used to express nasal vowels. It is actually a familiar foreign name to Koreans, since this French name is used by a very famous Korean fashion designer. His name was André Kim and written as 앙드레 김.

André, you were correct that you wrote your name as 안드레 as the English pronunciation.
I am glad to know that the wallpaper was useful. :)

Number3Pencils's picture

I've just been learning Hangeul myself recently, and how to pronounce Korean. I might be wrong about some of this stuff, but here goes.

I wouldn't use the idea of Spanish to describe the doubled consonants /bb/ /dd/ /gg/. As far as I know, the unvoiced plosive series /p/ /t/ /k/ in Spanish is just the basic, unaspirated, unvoiced plosive series, without any particular emphasis. So it would be closer to the sound of Korean /b/ /d/ /g/. I certainly wouldn't use the word "pizza" to describe Korean /jj/, because English speakers just use a simple /ts/ there. And people will just be puzzled when you say /ss/ is like the /s/ in "sun" but not in "slow".

The tough part is, I don't know what to suggest you change these to. It's really hard to describe the doubled consonants concisely, because they're so unlike anything English speakers are used to. I guess you could say they're like the single series of ja-eum, but stronger (harder?). You might want to describe the single ja-eum as like their Spanish counterparts. Or, you could also do it like this: Korean /b/ is like the /p/ in "spin"; Korean /d/ is like the /t/ in "stop", and Korean /g/ is like the /k/ in "skip". After an /s/, English plosives aren't aspirated. Actually, you can even use this fact to distinguish between /j/ and /ch/: Korean /j/ is like the /ch/ in "exchange". But you won't be able to do anything like this for /ss/—you may have to just say it's like /s/ but stronger, or maybe longer. (I'm not totally clear yet on the difference between /s/ and /ss/, so I'll have to let you think of the best word.)

Altogether, it's a really cool poster. And despite having studied this a fair amount, I still learned stuff I didn't know, like how to pronounce /oe/. Fun idea.

Darim's picture

Number3Pencils , Thanks for the review.

I noticed that I used the Romanized letters in the IPA brackets.
I did not realized these until you pointing them out, so I appreciate you telling me.
Yes, /bb/, /dd/, /gg/ are not the correct pronunciations. They should be /p͈/, /t͈/, and /k͈/.

I also noticed that English speakers pronounce the Spanish 'c' in 'como' as just a simple /k/ instead of a strong /k/ as the native Spanish speakers do. 

Though 'ㅉ' is described as /ts/ in IPA, the 'zz' sound in 'pizza' sounds like ㅉ to Koreans, which is different from the 'zz' in 'jazz'. 

Same for the 's' in 'sun' and 'slow'. 
I am not a linguistic specialist, so I do not know how to describe it with the correct colloquial terms. At any rate, English speakers pronounce the 's' in 'sun' and 'slow' differently, but mark it as the same phonetic symbol.

Though you might not see the difference, Koreans hear the difference, because they have two different 's' sounds, which are ㅅ and ㅆ.

Just like Koreans notice the difference between the /z/ sound in 'jazz' and 'pizza', and the /k/ sound in English and Spanish.

I totally understand why many English speakers do not recognize the tense(strong) consonant sounds as a separate pronunciation.
 
Most Koreans do not notice the difference between the R and L sound. 
They think it is just "ㄹ". 
They do not have two different letters to identify the difference between the R and L sound.
The same issue occurs for the V and B sound; as Koreans just describe it as 'ㅂ'.

Humans tend to recognize things based on their pre-learned knowledge.
For that reason, native Koreans usually have a hard time to pronounce them differently.

Regardless, I see the confusion here so I will try to find other words for the clusters. 

The ㅂ,ㄷ,ㄱ sound can be different according to their positions in a syllable and in a word, and it is also affected by the final in the preceding syllable.

Number3Pencils ,
What you said is correct sometimes, but not always. 
The good news is, even if you pronounce ㄱ as always K,  ㅂ as B, or ㄷ as D, Koreans still understand what you are trying to say, even if does not sound 100 percent correct in pronunciation (or if the spelling is wrong) to native Koreans.
Which means, even if 김치 is correct and you write it as 킴치, people still understand what you wrote, eventhough it is not the correct spelling.

It is a very different situation in English, since nobody would think it is the same word if you wrote Gimchi instead of Kimchi with the Roman alphabet. 
It is because most Hangul words are created by pronunciation, not by spelling. Hangul was invented only 500 years ago, very long after the actual Korean language developed. And it was designed to "mimic" the existing sounds.

Long story short, the main purpose of inventing 'Hangul' by Sejong the Great and his scholars, was to create an easy writing system for ordinary Koreans, especially women and commoners who did not have the privilege to learn 50,000 complicating Chinese letters.

So, it is told that Sejong the Great intentionally grouped certain sounds as the same Jamo to simplify the alphabet. (ex. the initials and the finals, and visualize the clustered consonants with basic a jamo(s).) There is much controversy on whether his decision was right, since Hangul does not represent every single sound in the world. (But does it have to?)

The wallpaper is an introduction guide for beginners, so I did not want to include too much information. But I believe this wallpaper helps people start without being overwhelmed. Yes, eventually they would need more advanced tutorials and I guess you are at that stage. 

Thanks for your feedback.

I am grateful that everybody here is willing to provide their reviews and suggestions to improve the wallpaper.
Thanks to you, I have learned that I should stand more from a viewpoint of a learner, not as a teacher. 
Thank you.

Darim

William Berkson's picture

The "zz" in jazz and pizza are pronounced differently in English. Americans hear the difference, and the difference in pronunciation is indicated by different symbols in dictionaries. The "s" in sun and "slow" sound the same and are represented by the same symbols in the dictionaries. This is so in the Concise Oxford dictionary, for a start. So I think some of your information about English is not correct.

Té Rowan's picture

English is English is English. No. What is written in dictionaries and other learned books is one thing. what is spoken on the streets is something else. There you have to deal with million minute variations. You may not notice them, but they are there.

agisaak's picture

@William,

Nor do I believe that I pronounce the /s/ in 'sun' and 'slow' differently. However, the pronunciation given in the COED cannot be used as evidence that no difference exists. English dictionaries aimed at English speakers give phonemic rather than phonetic pronunciations. The difference between /z/ and /ts/ is contrastive in English, which is why the dictionary notes this difference. Purely phonetic differences (e.g. the different vowel lengths in 'mat' and 'mad') are generally not indicated in dictionary pronunciations.

André

William Berkson's picture

André, I take your point, and there are of course significant variations in the way English is pronounced around the world. However, I still don't see any difference in 'sun' and 'slow'. Here is an audio-visual demonstration of the four sibilants in American English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crOZ6ckBwFo

Here is the International Phonetic Alphabet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet

Darim, can you identify two sibilants here that are different in Korean, but regarded as the same in English? I can find on line pronunciation for all the English sounds, but not for others, unfortunately. Perhaps in Korean sites this is all explained.

Té Rowan's picture

Try listening to yourself whisper the words.

William Berkson's picture

Té, 'sun' has an aspiration before the s, like 'hsun' and slow does not?

Darim's picture

I feel responsible that my explanation confused you even more. 
I think I shouldn't have said that native English speakers pronounce /s/ differently. Maybe it is only that Koreans hear it differently.

Here are some nice links where you can actually hear the ㅅ and ㅆ sounds.

The /s/ sound as in 'sun' sounds like this to Koreans, which is a strong /s/ (ㅆ),

http://www.sayjack.com/learn/korean/hangul/#싸

while the /s/ sound in 'slow' sounds like the following to Koreans, which is a softer /s/ (ㅅ).

http://www.sayjack.com/learn/korean/hangul/#사

So if Koreans describe the sound 'sun' with Hangul, it would be "썬".
If you write 'sun' as '선', Koreans will read it with the soft /s/ sound that you hear from the second link.
With the same reason, 'slow' will be written as '슬로우', not '쓸로우'. If you write it as '쓸로우' using the same /s/(ㅆ) sound as in 'sun'(썬), Koreans will read it with the strong /s/ sound found in the first link. 

The following youtube video is not related to the topic at all.  I only include this here so that you can hear how the sound of '선' is different from '썬' in Hangul, even if both are written as 'sun' in English.
This Korean guy's first name happens to be 'Sun', but he pronounces it not as the English 'sun' sound. It is the soft /s/, because his name is written as '선', not as '썬' in Hangul.

You only need to watch the first ten seconds to hear how he pronounces his name 'Sun'. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlCuJa_bFS8&feature=channel

 

There still might be people who don't hear the difference between the two sounds.
So I think it might be better to describe ㅅ, ㅆ with just a 'strong s' and 'soft s', rather than giving example words. Even if it might be a bit ambiguous, it will help to avoid misunderstandings.

Thank you all for your opinions.
Without your help, I think I wouldn't have realized what I did wrong.

quadibloc's picture

I know I don't hear the difference between the voiced and unvoiced versions of "th", but most phonetic descriptions of English do include that distinction. As "s" is a similar sound, this distinction might exist for it as well.

Usually, by English speakers, "s" is considered to be the unvoiced version of "z", but no distinction like that one exists for the two versions of "th", so the subtler distinction existing for "th" could also exist for "s".

Number3Pencils's picture

From what I can tell by listening to the sound files you provided, and what I remember from hearing others, it sounds to me like the difference between /ss/ and /s/ is that /s/ has some aspiration after it and /ss/ doesn't: /ss/ = [s] and /s/ = [sʰ]. Though I may be getting out of my depth, I would further guess that the reason Koreans transcribe the two sounds differently isn't because of a difference they hear in English speakers' speech, but because someone decided that an English /s/ + consonant should be transcribed with Korean 스 + consonant, but English /s/ + vowel should be transcribed with Korean jamo starting with ㅆ, and then that just became a precedent. Like I said, I don't know if this is actually true, but it's what I'd guess happened.

Quadibloc, the distinction between [s] and [z] in English is exactly the same as the distinction between [θ] and [ð]: the first in each pair is unvoiced—or at least, so I've learned in all my linguistics classes and so the IPA chart indicates. For a minimal pair between the two kinds of /th/, the classic example is "thy" versus "thigh".

Té Rowan's picture

@WB - I found when whispering the words that I shape my mouth slightly differently for 'see', 'sun', 'slow' and 'Sue', leading to the sibilance in 's' peaking at different frequencies.

William Berkson's picture

To me the sound of the speaker in the video saying "sun" sounds like an unaspirated /th/, but a bit softer, like a lisp. To my ears, it doesn't sound like an english /s/. And it is quite a bit different from the /s/ in "slow".

agisaak's picture

I know I don't hear the difference between the voiced and unvoiced versions of "th", but most phonetic descriptions of English do include that distinction. As "s" is a similar sound, this distinction might exist for it as well.

Usually, by English speakers, "s" is considered to be the unvoiced version of "z", but no distinction like that one exists for the two versions of "th", so the subtler distinction existing for "th" could also exist for "s".

The distinction between /θ/ and /ð/ is exactly the same as the distinction between /s/ and /z/ -- unvoiced vs. voiced (cf. 'thigh' /θaɪ̯/ and 'thy' /ðaɪ̯/). There's nothing more subtle about it. The reason some English speakers find this more problematic (apart from the fact that the distinction isn't represented orthographically) is the fact that there are, for historical reasons, very few English words which differ only by these two sounds.

The Korean tense consonants involve an entirely different phonological contrast which, as far as I know, is found only in Korean (which is why providing a good description of it for non-Korean speakers is inevitably difficult).

André

William Berkson's picture

There's also "breath" and "breathe", unaspirated and aspirated /th/, though the pronunciation of the vowel also changes. (I like the use of slashes here—is that standard practice in linguistics?)

Theunis de Jong's picture

(I like the use of slashes here—is that standard practice in linguistics?)

Yes -- and to my dismay, some word processors and dtp programs ((cough) InDesign (cough)) insist on always considering a slash a possible breaking point. Even if there is nothing before it!

I suppose all other possible ways of bracketing phrases were already taken.

agisaak's picture

There's also "breath" and "breathe", unaspirated and aspirated /th/, though the pronunciation of the vowel also changes. (I like the use of slashes here—is that standard practice in linguistics?)

'breath' and 'breathe' are, again, examples of a difference in voicing. Aspiration is a different (though related) animal which is not contrastive in English (cf. 'stop' [stɑp] vs. 'top' [tʰɑp]).

In linguistics, slashes are used to indicate phonemic transcription, whereas square brackets are used to indicate phonetic transcription.

André

William Berkson's picture

Sorry, I meant to write "voicing". Thanks for the correction André.

guifa's picture

William, < and > are also used for orthography, so for instance:

<ate>
/āt/
[eɪtʰ]

Even though it's standard to use LT/GT, I've always thought it looks a lot nicer with ‹these›, though they can be small. Perhaps a good linguistics font would have them maybe a bit larger than the guillomets but smaller than the gt/lt.

Jongseong's picture

Imagine seeing a phonetics discussion here. A quick explanation of the two sibilants in Korean, if you don't mind going into detail:

Korean stops (eg. ㄱ, ㄲ, ㅋ) and affricates (ㅈ, ㅉ, ㅊ) exhibit a 3-way laryngeal contrast word-initially and intervocally (between vowels) between lenis, fortis, and aspirated consonants. However, there is only a 2-way contrast between ㅅ and ㅆ. It is clear that ㅆ is fortis, but there is no general agreement on the nature of ㅅ. In phonological processes, it behaves like lenis in some ways (becomes fortis after an obstruent like other lenis sounds) and aspirated in some ways (resists voicing to [z] even in voiced contexts). Best to label it non-fortis and allow that it has characteristics of both lenis and aspirated.

At the beginning of a word, ㅅ is clearly an aspirated [sʰ] as Number3Pencils suggests. The spectrogram of word-initial Korean ㅅ is remarkably similar to the sound transcribed as /sʰ/ for Burmese. Intervocally in faster speech, however, the aspiration is not as detectable. There, the best I can do to transcribe it is as [z̥], where the ring under is the devoicing diacritic, in this instance to mean that this is a lenis pronunciation. The glottis shapes as if to pronounce a [z], but there is no actual vibration of the vocal folds. In all positions, ㅆ is not much distinguishable from the usual [s] in most other languages, although intervocalic [s] in other languages tend to be somewhat weaker than ㅆ in the same position. One important point is that the vowel that follows ㅆ and other fortis consonants often takes on creaky voice, and this plays a big role in the perception of the fortis consonant. A final [s] in other languages is therefore likely to be heard as ㅅ as much as ㅆ because there is no following vowel to reinforce the fortis-ness.

By the way, I would prefer to transcribe ㅅ as /z̥ʰ/ to indicate that it has characteristics of both lenis and aspirated, because transcribing ㅅ and not ㅆ as /s/ is misleading to speakers of other languages.

The situation is more complicated when the sibilants are followed by front high vowels and semivowels. Then these become /ɕ/ or /ʃ/, and similar sounds in other languages are heard more as non-fortis ㅅ. In these positions, ㅆ is pronounced with much more articulatory force than I've heard in any other language. Even the Russian щ /ɕɕ/ is much too weak to be ㅆ.

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