[EDITORIALS]Uphold Korean languageIt is with a heavy heart that one commemorates Hangul Day today. Five hundred and sixty years ago, King Sejong the Great created hangul, one of the world’s most scientific and aesthetic alphabets, but we are not living up to his legacy today. The superior quality of hangul as an alphabet is widely acknowledged. Many linguists around the world evaluate hangul as the most outstanding alphabet in the world. A clear proof of hangul’s scientific superiority and efficiency is the easy way one can enter text messages in Korean on one’s mobile phone. It was because of the superior traits of our language and writing that our culture was able to flourish without being taken over by the Chinese. Consider the numerous tribes that lived on the Asian continent and used Chinese characters that were ultimately absorbed into the Chinese culture without leaving a trace. Hangul is the upholder and guardian of our country and our culture. We should take pride in the fact that there aren’t that many countries in the world that have their own alphabet like we do.
And yet, we have been too negligent of the value of hangul and writing lately. Too often, we have looked down on hangul as being inferior to Chinese characters or other foreign languages. Moreover, we are even now destroying and distorting our language in various ways, the worst of which is through the Internet. The messages posted on Internet bulletins are filled with profanity and slander. The harm caused by TV programs is just as serious. TV programs that have teenagers and young people as their target audience should especially take care to use proper words. Yet it is the opposite in reality. With higher audience ratings as their only guideline, TV programs are filled with slang and foreign words of unknown origin. That’s not all. Politicians, who should be the models and leaders of the public, too often use words of hatred and anger in public. We are wronging our ancestors with our abuse. We must now step up to uphold our language. Starting today, we should try to speak our beautiful language in the correct way it was meant to be, in our homes, our schools and our workplaces.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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