Korean alphabet fooled TV viewers

Hangul, Korean AlphabetHangul, Korean Writing. Photo: wikipedia.org

Korean alphabet fooled TV viewers

Many scratched their heads and wondered if the nations came in random order during Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony, but factually, it occurred in strict order according to the Korean alphabet.


As always, Greece was first as the originators of the Olympic Games. As always, the host country came in last, this time South and North Korea joined as one. It seemed too many that the other countries appeared helter skelter.

After Greece, Ghana appeared, followed by Nigeria, South Africa and the Netherlands, and after that many gave up guessing when their own country would appear.

The organizer later got many questions regarding whether or not they had messed up the order or just sent the countries into the stadium as they appeared. The answer was that everything was correct.

The order of entry is based on alphabetical order in the host country’s language, and the participating countries entered the stadium based on the way they are written using the Korean Hangul alphabet.

It was developed in the 15th century to replace the Chinese characters used in the country before that.

About Hangul (Wikipedia)

Hangul (/ˈhɑːnˌɡuːl/ HAHN-gool; from Korean hangeul 한글 [ha(ː)n.ɡɯl]) is the Korean alphabet, which has been used to write the Korean language since its creation in the 15th century by Sejong the Great.

It is the official writing system of South Korea and North Korea. It is a co-official writing system in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County in Jilin Province, China. It is also sometimes used to write the Cia-Cia language spoken near the town of Bau-Bau, Indonesia.

The alphabet consists of 19 consonants and 21 vowels. Instead of being written sequentially, like the letters of the Latin alphabet, Hangul letters are grouped into syllabic blocks. For example, the Korean word for “honeybee” is written “꿀벌”, not “ㄲㅜㄹㅂㅓㄹ”.

As it combines the features of alphabetic and syllabic writing systems, Hangul has been described as an “alphabetic syllabary” by some linguists.

As in traditional Japanese and Chinese writing, texts written in Hangul were historically written top to bottom, right to left, and are occasionally still written this way for stylistic purposes. Today, Hangul is typically written from left to right with spaces between words and western-style punctuation.

Many linguists consider Hangul to be the most logical writing system in the world, partly because the shapes of its consonants mimic the shapes of the speaker’s mouth when pronouncing each sound.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today.