Hangeul, Anyone? Competition Set To See Who Has The Write Stuff

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Hangeul, Anyone? Competition Set To See Who Has The Write Stuff

"A nation without its own language cannot develop its culture. My people, help me compose an alphabet native to Korea," said King Sejong (1397-1450).

With the assistance of scholars, King Sejong created the Korean alphabet Hangeul in September 1446. Centuries later, the language is no longer just for Koreans. Foreigners are increasingly learning Korean - and sometimes learning it quite well.

The 10th Annual National Korean Language Writing Contest for Foreign Nationals is to be held Oct. 5 at Yonsei University. In recognition of the 555th anniversary of Hangeul, celebrated these days on Sept. 9, and in an effort to preserve the spirit of Hangeul, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Yonsei University's Research Committee for the Development of Korean Studies are promoting this annual event.

All foreign nationals over 16 who have resided in Korea less than eight years are qualified to enter the contest. All Koreans over 16 and born abroad can also take part if they have lived in Korea no longer than five years. Anyone born in Korea is required to have lived abroad for more than 12 years. Anyone taking part must not have acquired any literary awards in Korea during the last three years.

Participants may apply for either the poetry or essay category by submitting an application form to the Korean Language Institute at Yonsei University, by Oct. 4. The forms are available at the institute office.

The writing contest starts from 10 a.m. at Yonsei's outdoor amphitheater, and in the surrounding area.

Instead of scrolls like King Sejong and his scholars used, each participant will receive manuscript paper, along with a pen and file folder. The contest will last about an hour.

From 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., friends and families can join in for a traditional Korean music performance by the members of the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts. There will also be 30 door prizes.

Thirteen awards will be presented according to the results from the judging committee, with poet Chung Hyun-jong as its chief judge. The first winner will receive a certificate of merit, trophy and 700,000 won ($540) from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. For more information call 02-2123-3463~5 (English available).

by Rhee Hyun-ju

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