Hangul is a phonemic alphabet organized into syllabic blocks. Each block consists of at least two of the 24 Hangul letters (jamo), with at least one each of the 14 consonants and 10 vowels. These syllabic blocks can be written horizontally from left to right as well as vertically from top to bottom in columns from right to left. Originally, the alphabet had several additional letters (see obsolete jamo). For a phonological description of the letters, see Korean phonology.
However, these names are now archaic, as the use of hanja in writing has become very rare in South Korea and completely phased out in North Korea. Today, the name Urigeul / urigŭl (우리글) or "our script" is used in both North and South Korea in addition to Hangeul / han'gŭl.
The project was completed in late December 1443 or January 1444, and described in 1446 in a document titled Hunmin Jeongeum ("The Proper Sounds for the Education of the People"), after which the alphabet itself was named. The publication date of the Hunmin Jeong-eum, October 9, became Hangul Day in South Korea. Its North Korean equivalent is on January 15.
Various speculations about the creation process were put to rest by the discovery in 1940 of the 1446 Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye ("Hunmin Jeong-eum Explanation and Examples"). This document explains the design of the consonant letters according to articulatory phonetics and the vowel letters according to the principles of yin and yang and vowel harmony.
In explaining the need for the new script, King Sejong explained that the Korean language was different from Chinese; using Chinese characters (known as hanja) to write was so difficult for the common people that only privileged aristocrats (yangban), usually male, could read and write fluently. The majority of Koreans were effectively illiterate before the invention of Hangul.
Hangul was designed so that even a commoner could learn to read and write; the Haerye says "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days.
Hangul faced opposition by the literate elite, such as Choe Manri and other Confucian scholars in the 1440s, who believed hanja to be the only legitimate writing system, and perhaps saw it as a threat to their status. However, it entered popular culture as Sejong had intended, being used especially by women and writers of popular fiction. It was effective enough at disseminating information among the uneducated that Yeonsangun, the paranoid tenth king, forbade the study or use of Hangul and banned Hangul documents in 1504, and King Jungjong abolished the Ministry of Eonmun (언문청 諺文廳, governmental institution related to Hangul research) in 1506.
The late 16th century, however, saw a revival of Hangul, with gasa literature and later sijo flourishing. In the 17th century, Hangul novels became a major genre. By this point spelling had become quite irregular.
Due to growing Korean nationalism in the 19th century, Japan's attempt to sever Korea from China's sphere of influence, and the Gabo Reformists' push, Hangul was eventually adopted in official documents for the first time in 1894. Elementary school texts began using Hangul in 1895, and the Dongnip Sinmun, established in 1896, was the first newspaper printed in both Hangul and English.
After Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910, Japanese became the official language and main educational language, but Hangul was also taught in the Japanese-established schools of colonial Korea, and Korean was written in a mixed Hanja-Hangul script, where most lexical roots were written in hanja and grammatical forms in Hangul. The orthography was partially standardized in 1912, with arae a restricted to Sino-Korean, the emphatic consonants written ㅺ sg, ㅼ sd, ㅽ sb, ㅆ ss, ㅾ sj, and final consonants restricted to ㄱ g, ㄴ n, ㄹ l, ㅁ m, ㅂ b, ㅅ s, ㅇ ng, ㄺ lg, ㄻ lm, ㄼ lb (no ㄷ d, as it was replaced by s). Long vowels were marked by a diacritic dot to the left of the syllable, but this was dropped in 1921.
A second colonial reform occurred in 1930. Arae a was abolished; the emphatic consonants were changed to ㄲ gg, ㄸ dd, ㅃ bb, ㅆ ss, ㅉ jj; more final consonants (ㄷㅈㅌㅊㅍㄲㄳㄵㄾㄿㅄ) were allowed, making the orthography more morphophonemic; ㅆ ss was written alone (without a vowel) when it occurred between nouns; and the nominative particle 가 ga was introduced after vowels, replacing ㅣ i. (ㅣ i had been written without an ㅇ iung. The nominative particle had been unvarying i in Sejong's day, and perhaps up to the eighteenth or nineteenth century.)
Ju Sigyeong, who had coined the term Hangul "great script" to replace eonmun "vulgar script" in 1912, established the Hangul Society which further reformed orthography with ko:한글 맞춤법 통일안 (한글 맞춤법 통일안) in 1933. The principal change was to make Hangul as morphophonemic as practical given the existing letters. A system for transliterating foreign orthographies was published in 1940.
However, the Korean language was banned from schools in 1938 as part of a policy of cultural assimilation, and all Korean-language publications were outlawed in 1941.
The definitive modern orthography was published in 1946, just after independence from Japan. In 1948 North Korea attempted to make the script perfectly morphophonemic through the addition of new letters, and in 1953 Syngman Rhee in South Korea attempted to simplify the orthography by returning to the colonial orthography of 1921, but both reforms were abandoned after only a few years.
Since independence from Japan, the Koreas have used Hangul or mixed Hangul as their sole official writing system, with ever-decreasing use of hanja. Since the 1950s, it has become uncommon to find hanja in commercial or unofficial writing in the South, with some South Korean newspaper only using hanja as abbreviations or disambiguation of homonyms. There has been widespread debate as to the future of hanja in South Korea. North Korea instated Hangul as its exclusive writing system in 1949, and banned the use of hanja completely.
There are 51 jamo, of which 24 are equivalent to letters of the Latin alphabet. The other 27 jamo are clusters of two or sometimes three of these letters. Of the 24 simple jamo, fourteen are consonants (ja-eum 자음, 子音 "child sounds") and ten are vowels (mo-eum 모음, 母音 "mother sounds"). Five of the simple consonant letters are doubled to form the five "tense" (faucalized) consonants (see below), while another eleven clusters are formed of two different consonant letters. The ten vowel jamo can be combined to form eleven diphthongs. Here is a summary:
Four of the simple vowel jamo are derived by means of a short stroke to signify iotation (a preceding i sound): ㅑ ya, ㅕ yeo, ㅛ yo, and ㅠ yu. These four are counted as part of the 24 simple jamo because the iotating stroke taken out of context does not represent y. In fact, there is no separate jamo for y.
Of the simple consonants, ㅊ chieut, ㅋ kieuk, ㅌ tieut, and ㅍ pieup are aspirated derivatives of ㅈ jieut, ㄱ giyeok, ㄷ digeut, and ㅂ bieup, respectively, formed by combining the unaspirated letters with an extra stroke.
The doubled letters are ㄲ ssang-giyeok (kk: ssang- 쌍 "double"), ㄸ ssang-digeut (tt), ㅃ ssang-bieup (pp), ㅆ ssang-siot (ss), and ㅉ ssang-jieut (jj). Double jamo do not represent geminate consonants, but rather a "tense" phonation.
Scripts may transcribe languages at the level of morphemes (logographic scripts like hanja), of syllables (syllabic scripts like kana), or of segments (alphabetic scripts like the Roman alphabet used to write English and many other languages.). Hangul goes one step further in some cases, using distinct strokes to indicate distinctive features such as place of articulation (labial, coronal, velar, or glottal) and manner of articulation (plosive, nasal, sibilant, aspiration) for consonants, and iotation (a preceding i- sound), harmonic class, and I-mutation for vowels.
For instance, the consonant jamo ㅌ t [tʰ] is composed of three strokes, each one meaningful: the top stroke indicates ㅌ is a plosive, like ㆆ ’, ㄱ g, ㄷ d, ㅈ j, which have the same stroke (the last is an affricate, a plosive-fricative sequence); the middle stroke indicates that ㅌ is aspirated, like ㅎ h, ㅋ k, ㅊ ch, which also have this stroke; and the curved bottom stroke indicates that ㅌ is coronal, like ㄴ n, ㄷ d, and ㄹ l. (The ㄴ element is said to represent the shape of the tongue when pronouncing coronal consonants.) Two consonants, ㆁ and ㅱ, have dual pronunciations, and appear to be composed of two elements corresponding to these two pronunciations: [ŋ]/silence for ㆁ and [m]/[w] for obsolete ㅱ.
With vowel jamo, a short stroke connected to the main line of the letter indicates that this is one of the vowels which can be iotated; this stroke is then doubled when the vowel is iotated. The position of the stroke indicates which harmonic class the vowel belongs to, "light" (top or right) or "dark" (bottom or left). In modern jamo, an additional vertical stroke indicates i-mutation, deriving ㅐ [ɛ], ㅔ [e], ㅚ [ø], and ㅟ [y] from ㅏ [a], ㅓ [ʌ], ㅗ [o], and ㅜ [u]. However, this is not part of the intentional design of the script, but rather a natural development from what were originally diphthongs ending in the vowel ㅣ [i]. Indeed, in many Korean dialects, including the standard dialect of Seoul, some of these may still be diphthongs.
Although the design of the script may be featural, for all practical purposes it behaves as an alphabet. The jamo ㅌ isn't read as three letters coronal plosive aspirated, for instance, but as a single consonant t. Likewise, the former diphthong ㅔ is read as a single vowel e.
Beside the jamo, Hangul originally employed diacritic marks to indicate pitch accent. A syllable with a high pitch (거성) was marked with a dot (ჿᅠᆧ〮) to the left of it (when writing vertically); a syllable with a rising pitch (상성) was marked with a double dot, like a colon (ჿᅠᆧ〯). These are no longer used. Although vowel length was and still is phonemic in Korean, it was never indicated in Hangul, except that syllables with rising pitch (ჿᅠᆧ〯) necessarily had long vowels.
Although some aspects of Hangul reflect a shared history with the Phagspa script, and thus Indic phonology, such as the relationships among the homorganic jamo and the alphabetic principle itself, other aspects such as organization of jamo into syllablic blocks, and which Phagspa letters were chosen to be basic to the system, reflect the influence of Chinese writing and phonology.
The phonetic theory inherent in the derivation of glottal stop ㆆ and aspirate ㅎ from the null ㅇ may be more accurate than Chinese phonetics or modern IPA usage. In Chinese theory and in the IPA, the glottal consonants are posited as having a specific "glottal" place of articulation. However, recent phonetic theory has come to view the glottal stop and [h] to be isolated features of 'stop' and 'aspiration' without an inherent place of articulation, just as their Hangul representations based on the null symbol assume.
Short strokes (dots in the earliest documents) were added to these three basic elements to derive the simple vowel jamo:
The compound jamo ending in ㅣ i were originally diphthongs. However, several have since evolved into pure vowels:
There are also two iotated diphthongs,
The Korean language of the 15th century had vowel harmony to a greater extent than it does today. Vowels in grammatical morphemes changed according to their environment, falling into groups which "harmonized" with each other. This affected the morphology of the language, and Korean phonology described it in terms of yin and yang: If a root word had yang ('bright') vowels, then most suffixes attached to it also had to have yang vowels; conversely, if the root had yin ('dark') vowels, the suffixes needed to be yin as well. There was a third harmonic group called "mediating" ('neutral' in Western terminology) that could coexist with either yin or yang vowels.
The Korean neutral vowel was ㅣ i. The yin vowels were ㅡㅜㅓ eu, u, eo; the dots are in the yin directions of 'down' and 'left'. The yang vowels were ㆍㅗㅏ ə, o, a, with the dots in the yang directions of 'up' and 'right'. The Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye states that the shapes of the non-dotted jamo ㅡㆍㅣ were chosen to represent the concepts of yin, yang, and mediation: Earth, Heaven, and Human. (The letter ㆍ ə is now obsolete.)
There was yet a third parameter in designing the vowel jamo, namely, choosing ㅡ as the graphic base of ㅜ and ㅗ, and ㅣ as the graphic base of ㅓ and ㅏ. A full understanding of what these horizontal and vertical groups had in common would require knowing the exact sound values these vowels had in the 15th century. Our uncertainty is primarily with the three jamo ㆍㅓㅏ. Some linguists reconstruct these as , respectively; others as . However, the horizontal jamo ㅡㅜㅗ eu, u, o do all appear to have been mid to high back vowels, , and thus to have formed a coherent group phonetically.
Although the Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye explains the design of the consonantal jamo in terms of articulatory phonetics, as a purely innovative creation, there are several theories as to which external sources may have inspired or influenced King Sejong's creation. Professor Gari Ledyard of Columbia University believes that five consonant letters were derived from the Mongol Phagspa alphabet of the Yuan dynasty. A sixth basic letter, the null initial ㅇ, was invented by Sejong. The rest of the jamo were derived internally from these six, essentially as described in the Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye. However, the five borrowed consonants were not the graphically simplest letters considered basic by the Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye, but instead the consonants basic to Chinese phonology: ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㅈ, and ㄹ.
The Hunmin Jeong-eum states that King Sejong adapted the 古篆 ("Gǔ Seal Script") in creating Hangul. The 古篆 has never been identified. The primary meaning of 古 gǔ is "old" ("Old Seal Script"), frustrating philologists because Hangul bears no functional similarity to Chinese 篆字 seal scripts. However, Ledyard believes 古 gǔ may be a pun on 蒙古 Měnggǔ "Mongol", and that 古篆 is an abbreviation of 蒙古篆字 "Mongol Seal Script", that is, the formal variant of the Phagspa alphabet written to look like the Chinese seal script. There were Phagspa manuscripts in the Korean palace library, including some in the seal-script form, and several of Sejong's ministers knew the script well.
If this was the case, Sejong's evasion on the Mongol connection can be understood in light of Korea's relationship with Ming China after the fall of the Mongol Yuan dynasty, and of the literati's contempt for the Mongols as "barbarians".
According to Ledyard, the five borrowed letters were graphically simplified, which allowed for jamo clusters and left room to add a stroke to derive the aspirate plosives, ㅋㅌㅍㅊ. But in contrast to the traditional account, the non-plosives (ng ㄴㅁ and ㅅ) were derived by removing the top of the basic letters. He points out that while it's easy to derive ㅁ from ㅂ by removing the top, it's not clear how to derive ㅂ from ㅁ in the traditional account, since the shape of ㅂ is not analogous to those of the other plosives.
The explanation of the letter ng also differs from the traditional account. Many Chinese words began with ng, but by King Sejong's day, initial ng was either silent or pronounced [ŋ] in China, and was silent when these words were borrowed into Korean. Also, the expected shape of ng (the short vertical line left by removing the top stroke of ㄱ) would have looked almost identical to the vowel ㅣ [i]. Sejong's solution solved both problems: The vertical stroke left from ㄱ was added to the null symbol ㅇ to create ㆁ (a circle with a vertical line on top), iconically capturing both the pronunciation [ŋ] in the middle or end of a word, and the usual silence at the beginning. (The graphic distinction between null ㅇ and ㆁ [ŋ] was eventually lost.)
Another letter composed of two elements to represent two regional pronunciations was ㅱ, which transcribed the Chinese initial 微. This represented either m or w in various Chinese dialects, and was composed of ㅁ [m] plus ㅇ (from Phagspa [w]). In Phagspa, a loop under a letter represented w after vowels, and Ledyard proposes this became the loop at the bottom of ㅱ. Now, in Phagspa the Chinese initial 微 is also transcribed as a compound with w, but in its case the w is placed under an h. Actually, the Chinese consonant series 微非敷 w, v, f is transcribed in Phagspa by the addition of a w under three graphic variants of the letter for h, and Hangul parallels this convention by adding the w loop to the labial series ㅁㅂㅍ m, b, p, producing now-obsolete ㅱㅸㆄ w, v, f. (Phonetic values in Korean are uncertain, as these consonants were only used to transcribe Chinese.)
As a final piece of evidence, Ledyard notes that most of the borrowed Hangul letters were simple geometric shapes, at least originally, but that ㄷ d [t] always had a small lip protruding from the upper left corner, just as the Phagspa d [t] did. This lip can be traced back to the Tibetan letter d, ད.
If Ledyard is correct, Hangul is part of the great family of alphabets ultimately developing out of the Middle Eastern Phoenician alphabet, along the route Phoenician > Aramaic > Brāhmī > Tibetan > Phagspa > Hangul.
and the order of vowels was,
In 1527, Choe Sejin reorganized the alphabet:
This is the basis of the modern alphabetic orders. It was before the development of the Korean tense consonants and the double jamo that represent them, and before the conflation of the letters ㅇ (null) and ㆁ (ng). Thus when the South Korean and North Korean governments implemented full use of Hangul, they ordered these letters differently, with South Korea grouping similar letters together, and North Korea placing new letters at the end of the alphabet.
The modern monophthongal vowels come first, with the derived forms interspersed according to their form: first added i, then iotized, then iotized with added i. Diphthongs beginning with w are ordered according to their spelling, as ㅏ or ㅓ plus a second vowel, not as separate digraphs.
The order of the final jamo is,
"None" stands for no final jamo.
ㅇ used as an initial, goes at the very end, as it is a placeholder for the vowels which follow. (A syllable with no final is ordered before all syllables with finals, however, not with null ㅇ.)
The new letters, the double jamo, are placed at the end of the consonants, just before the null ㅇ, so as not to alter the traditional order of the rest of the alphabet.
The order of the vocalic jamo is,
All digraphs and trigraphs, including the old diphthongs ㅐ and ㅔ, are placed after all basic vowels, again maintaining Choe's alphabetic order.
The order of the final jamo is,
Unlike the order of the initial jamo, on the other hand, this ㅇ is the nasal ㅇ ng, which occurs only as a final in the modern language. The double jamo are placed to the very end, like the initial jamo order, but the combined consonants are placed right after their first counterparts.
|ㄱ||giyeok (기역), or kiŭk (기윽) in North Korea|
|ㄷ||digeut (디귿), or tiŭt (디읃) in North Korea|
|ㅅ||siot (시옷), or siŭt (시읏) in North Korea|
All jamo in North Korea, and all but three in the more traditional nomenclature used in South Korea, have names of the format of letter + i + eu + letter. For example, Choe wrote bieup with the hanja 非 bi 邑 eup. The names of g, d, and s are exceptions because there were no hanja for euk, eut, and eus. 役 yeok is used in place of euk. Since there is no hanja that ends in t or s, Choi chose two hanja to be read in their Korean gloss, 末 kkeut "end" and 衣 ot "clothes".
Originally, Choi gave j, ch, k, t, p, and h the irregular one-syllable names of ji, chi, ki, ti, pi, and hi, because they should not be used as final consonants, as specified in Hunmin jeong-eum. But after the establishment of the new orthography in 1933, which allowed all consonsants to be used as finals, the names were changed to the present forms.
The double jamo precede the parent consonant's name with the word 쌍 ssang, meaning "twin" or "double", or with 된 doen in North Korea, meaning "strong". Thus:
|Letter||South Korean Name||North Korean name|
|ㄲ||ssanggiyeok (쌍기역)||toen'giŭk (된기윽)|
|ㄸ||ssangdigeut (쌍디귿)||toendiŭt (된디읃)|
|ㅃ||ssangbieup (쌍비읍)||toenbiŭp (된비읍)|
|ㅆ||ssangsiot (쌍시옷)||toensiŭt (된시읏)|
|ㅉ||ssangjieut (쌍지읒)||toenjiŭt (된지읒)|
In North Korea, an alternate way to refer to the jamo is by the name letter + ŭ (ㅡ), for example, 그 kŭ for the jamo ㄱ, 쓰 ssŭ for the jamo ㅆ, etc.
|ㅏ||a (아)||ㅐ||ae (애)|
|ㅑ||ya (야)||ㅒ||yae (얘)|
|ㅓ||eo (어)||ㅔ||e (에)|
|ㅕ||yeo (여)||ㅖ||ye (예)|
|ㅗ||o (오)||ㅚ||oe (외)|
|ㅛ||yo (요)||ㅙ||wae (왜)|
|ㅜ||u (우)||ㅘ||wa (와)|
|ㅠ||yu (유)||ㅟ||wi (위)|
|ㅡ||eu (으)||ㅝ||wo (워)|
|ㅣ||i (이)||ㅢ||ui (의)|
There were two other now-obsolete double jamo,
In the original Hangul system, double jamo were used to represent Chinese voiced (濁音) consonants, which survive in the Shanghainese slack consonants, and were not used for Korean words. It was only later that a similar convention was used to represent the modern "tense" (faucalized) consonants of Korean.
The sibilant ("dental") consonants were modified to represent the two series of Chinese sibilants, alveolar and retroflex, a "round" vs. "sharp" distinction which was never made in Korean, and which was even being lost from northern Chinese. The alveolar jamo had longer left stems, while retroflexes had longer right stems:
|Chidueum (alveolar sibilant)||ᄼ||ᄽ||ᅎ||ᅏ||ᅔ|
|Jeongchieum (retroflex sibilant)||ᄾ||ᄿ||ᅐ||ᅑ||ᅕ|
There were also consonant clusters that have since dropped out of the language, such as the initials ㅴ bsg and ㅵ bsd, as well as diphthongs that were used to represent Chinese medials, such as ㆇ, ㆈ, ㆊ, ㆋ.
Some of the Korean sounds represented by these obsolete jamo still exist in some dialects.
In order to make Hangul a perfect morphophonological fit to the Korean language, North Korea introduced six new jamo, which were published in the New Orthography for the Korean Language and used officially from 1948-1954.
Two obsolete jamo were resurrected: <ㅿ> (리읃), which alternated in pronunciation between initial /l/ and final /d/; and <ㆆ> (히으), which was only pronounced between vowels. Two modifications of the letter ㄹ were introduced, one for a ㄹ which is silent finally, and one for a ㄹ which doubles between vowels. A hybrid ㅂ-ㅜ letter was introduced for words which alternate between those two sounds (that is, a /b/ which becomes /w/ before a vowel). Finally, a vowel <1> was introduced for variable iotation.
The sets of initial and final consonants are not the same. For instance, ㅇ ng only occurs in final position, while the doubled jamo that can occur in final position are limited to ㅆ ss and ㄲ kk. For a list of initials, medials, and finals, see Hangul consonant and vowel tables.
Not including obsolete jamo, there are 11 172 possible Hangul blocks.
Blocks are always written in phonetic order, initial-medial-final. Therefore,
However, some recent fonts (for example Eun, HY깊은샘물M, UnJamo) move towards the Western practice of letters whose relative size is fixed, and the use of whitespace to fill letter positions not used in a particular block, and away from the East Asian tradition of square block characters (方块字). They break one or more of the traditional rules:
So far, these fonts have been used as design accents on signs or headings, rather than for typesetting large volumes of body text.
Avant-garde typographer Ahn Sang-Soo made a font for the "Hangul Dada" exposition that exploded the syllable blocks; but while it strings out the jamo horizontally, it retains the distinctive vertical position each letter would normally have within a block, unlike the century-old linear writing proposals.
While Koreans have largely accepted the Western-derived conventions of writing successive syllables left-to-right in horizontal lines instead of in vertical columns, adding spaces between words, and Western-style punctuation, they have completely resisted getting rid of syllabic blocks, the most distinctive feature of this writing system.
After the Gabo Reform in 1894, the Joseon Dynasty and later the Korean Empire started to write all official documents in Hangul. Under the government's management, proper usage of Hangul, including orthography, was discussed, until Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910.
The Japanese Government-General of Chosen established the writing style of a mixture of hanja and Hangul, as in the Japanese writing system. The government revised the spelling rules in 1912, 1921 and 1930, which were relatively phonemic.
The Hangul Society, originally founded by Ju Si-gyeong, announced a proposal for a new, strongly morphophonemic orthography in 1933, which became the prototype of the contemporary orthographies in both North and South Korea. After Korea was divided, the North and South revised orthographies separately. The guiding text for Hangul orthography is called Hangeul Machumbeop, whose last South Korean revision was published in 1988 by the Ministry of Education.
The Roman alphabet, and occasionally other alphabets, may be sprinkled within Korean texts for illustrative purposes, or for unassimilated loanwords.
Although many experts hold similar views about the advantages of Hangul for readability and literacy, most of these theories have not yet been subject to rigorous testing, or the tests have not shown the specific features of the Hangul orthography to produce any significant effects on readers' visual processing.
In Hunmin Jeongeum, Hangul was printed in sans-serif angular lines of even thickness. This style is found in books published before about 1900, and can be found today in stone carvings (on statues, for example).
Over the centuries, an ink-brush style of calligraphy developed, employing the same style of lines and angles as Chinese calligraphy. This brush style is called gungche (궁체 宮體), which means "Palace Style" because the style was mostly developed and used by the maidservants (gungnyeo, 궁녀 宮女) of the court in Joseon dynasty.
Modern styles that are more suited for printed media were developed in the 20th century, which were more or less influenced by Japanese typefaces, the serifed Myeongjo (derived from Japanese minchō) and sans-serif Gothic (from Japanese Gothic) being the foremost examples. Variations of these styles are widely used today in books, newspapers, and magazines, and several computer fonts. In 1993, new names for both Myeongjo and Gothic styles were introduced when Ministry of Culture initiated an effort to standardize typographic terms, and the names Batang (바탕, meaning "background") and Dotum (돋움, meaning "stand out") replaced Myeongjo and Gothic respectively. These names are also used in Microsoft Windows.
A sans-serif style with lines of equal width is popular with pencil and pen writing, and is often the default typeface of Web browsers. A minor advantage of this style is that it makes it easier to distinguish -eung from -ung even in small or untidy print, as the jongseong ieung (ㅇ) of such fonts usually lacks a serif that could be mistaken for the ㅜ (u) jamo