Send to

Hangeul competition for foreigners marks King Sejong’s birthday

May 15, 2024 - 15:28 By Choi Si-young
People take part in a Hangeul competition at the National Folk Museum of Korea on Wednesday. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)

A hundred foreign nationals participated in a Hangeul contest to mark the 627th anniversary of the birth of King Sejong, the architect of the Korean writing system.

At the National Folk Museum of Korea on Wednesday, contestants from over 46 countries who were selected from some 500 applicants wrestled with Hangeul sentences as they were tested in dictation.

“We have long wanted to build on the expanding awareness of Hangeul with grassroots participation,” a Culture Ministry official said, adding that the ministry had consulted Korean language experts to come up with Korean sentences of varying difficulty. The Culture Ministry organized the competition.

People take part in a Hangeul competition at the National Folk Museum of Korea on Wednesday. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)

Eleven winners were selected, with the first prize winner taking home 3 million won ($2,200) and the culture minister’s award.

“All the glory to my parents. I’ve put in a lot of effort for this,” said Zheng Qidan, the first-prize winner. The 19-year-old Chinese exchange student studying at Hongik University said she wants to be a craftswoman.

The Culture Ministry expects Wednesday’s competition to serve as an opener to celebrations taking place in the run-up to a national Hangeul competition on Oct. 9, Hangeul Day.

Through October, there will be several events aimed at raising awareness of Hangeul. An exhibition on Korean dialects kicked off in April, showcasing collections of literary works and documents about the efforts made to preserve different ways of speaking Korean.

The exhibit, “On Dialects,” will run through Oct. 13 at the National Hangeul Museum in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. Performances and lectures on dialects will take place in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, in June and Jeju City, Jeju Island, in October. The events will coincide with annual festivals hosted by the two cities.

The “Hangeul Experiment Project,” a touring exhibition, will kick off in July in Hanoi, Vietnam, traveling onward to Manila in the Philippines in September. The exhibition will look at the artistic as well as commercial adaptations of the Korean writing system, presenting videos, graphics and other content that highlight the unique shapes of the 28 letters of Hangeul. The project was launched in 2016.

The annual International Museum Forum will bookend the Hangeul celebrations for this year. The gathering of museum officials, academics and practitioners -- set to convene sometime after Hangeul Day -- will discuss the restoration of human dignity and the protection of ecosystems and the environment.