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You are here: Home / Conferences / Hong Kong 2012 / Programme / 11–14 October – General programme

A study of punctuation marks’ history in Hanguel

When Sun 14 Oct 1115
Where Hotel Icon
Who Jaehong Park

When we look at a foreign book, there is something very noticeable: the punctuation marks. At the slightest slip, we think that symbols and marks on pages seem to be uniform in shape and function to the usual Korean punctuation marks. However, punctuation marks of every language are different with differing functions.

In 1933, Korean punctuation marks officially appeared on Korean Orthographical Standardization Proposal and started being used only from the 1960s. For Chinese characters, they traditionally wrote letters without space. That is because understanding of the un-spaced letters was a criterion for evaluating one’s academic ability. This was a historical setback for the development of Korean punctuation marks.

Hanguel is a linguistically excellent that its connecting and ending of a word already contain the functions of punctuation marks. However punctuation marks can aid delivery of intended meanings more clearly and exactly, therefore the Korean punctuation marks borrowed from the Western alphabets must be resuscitated in corrected forms appropriate to their characteristics.

Hanguel from its birth was viewed negatively in comparison to Chinese Kanji characters. It is only in the present day of 500 years after that it is loved as ‘our own letters’. Therefore it is not an exaggeration to say that there is almost no history of Korean’s own punctuation marks. Compared to the Western type-design history, Korean type-design history is much shorter. Moreover the history of Korean Punctuation marks only date back 50 years from now positing the marks were in wide use since the 1960s.

Most of the history on Korean Punctuation marks before the marks were selected in the appendix of Korean Orthographical Standardization Proposal in 1933 was missing. Therefore I found historic probability of Korean Punctuation Marks from Gakpil Gugyeol, kind of points and lines that translated the Chinese Kanji characters into Korean word orders before Hunminjungeum was created.

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