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Sejong


Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


Extract

( also Solch'ong) The fourth monarch of the Korean Yi dynasty (1392–1910) who reigned from 1418 to 1450. An enlightened ruler, King Sejong was known for his devotion to scholarship. He took an active interest in the spread of learning beyond the narrow confines of the educated classes, and to this end initiated two major innovations in Korean literacy. One was the development of movable type to facilitate the reproduction of Chinese books and reduce the cost of printing. The other was the creation of a Korean alphabet, later to be called H an'gǔl . Against the prevailing sentiment among the literati elite, he advocated the idea of writing the vernacular language. It is generally thought that he actively partook in designing the new script which was suitable to faithfully represent all sounds of the Korean language. Simple, elegant and more systematically structured than any other writing system, it was announced in 1443, but not officially promulgated until 1446. The official document, entitled ‘The correct sounds for instructing the people’, was prefaced by King Sejong himself, advocating literacy for everyone for daily use. This document was rediscovered in this century. See also K orean writing . Reading Ledyard 1975; Kim 1954. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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