A Sulawesi Tribe Using Korean Writing System ‘Hangeul’ For Their Language

Posted on March 6th, 2010 at 2:34 am by Ian


When you read the title, I bet you think it doesn’t sound much of a good news from Indonesia. Why in a random world they choose Hangeul (Korean characters) to write down their ethnic language? There are thousands writing systems in the world, and hundreds of them in Indonesia alone. But, to the best of my knowledge as I’m learning Korean now, Hangeul is one of the best, if not already the best, non-alphabetical writing system there is. The pronunciation and writing are straightforward and very systematic.

So, what’s in it for Indonesia? In short, the tribe is using Hangeul to save their ethnic language so that it can be preserved for the next generations in writing. Even though it involves a foreign element, it’s still a good news from Indonesia.

With the already-so-popular Korean dramas floating around Indonesian TV channels and DVD rental stores, I guess their choice of Hangeul wasn’t too random after all. Now who doesn’t remember What Happened in Bali? (that was literally filmed in Bali), Endless Love, All In, Hotelier, Full House, Princess Hours, Coffee Price that captivated Indonesian viewers? Many of youngsters in Indonesia are now already familiar with Korean pop stars like Rain, Jang Geun Seok,  DBSK, SNSD, 2PM, 2NE1, and more. That’s just the interest from our side.

Korean pop industry itself seems to show interest for Indonesia. This can be seen in the many commercial (magazine, advertisement, etc.) photoshoots that took place in Bali. Lee Hyori (a Korean pop diva), Go Ara (Korean top model), Yoon Eun Hye (famous singer-turned-actress-and-model, the star in Princess Hours and Coffee Prince), Lee Min Jung (the star in Boys Over Flower), Jewelry (Korean pop girl group), Daniel Henney (Korean top model and actor) have been to Bali many times. Not to mention the businesses that are investing in Indonesia, like Samsung.

Enjoy the photos below!
(top-bottom: Lee Hyori, Go Ara, Yoon Eun Hye, Daniel Henney)

Well, it’s way off track from the main news. However, if this Hangeul project is successful and can bring the two nations to the much better relationship in the future, I think it’s a good news from Indonesia. Or, a good news for both Indonesia and Korea.

Check out the full article below!

Source: Korea Times
Credits: allkpop, K-popped, Kpoprants


Indonesian Tribe Picks ‘Hangeul’ as Writing System

By Park Si-soo
Staff Reporter

A minority tribe in Indonesia has decided to use the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, as its official writing system, a Korean language research institute said Thursday.

This is the first case of Hangeul becoming an official tool for communications outside Korean territory, the institute said.

“A tribe in the city of Bauer and Bauer in Sulawesi has selected Hangeul as the official alphabet to transcribe its native language that has no writing system,” the Hunminjeongeum Research Institute said in a statement. “The tribe with a population of 60,000 was on the verge of losing its language due to a lack of tool to hand it down to its descendants.”

According to the institute, since last month, dozens of children in the tribe have learned, on a regular basis, how to write, read, and pronounce the Korean alphabet based on a textbook provided by the institute. Another 140 high school students in the city have recently followed suit, it added.

The textbook written in Korean tells about the tribe’s history, language and culture.

“Among the contents of the book is a Korean fairy tale,” it said.

The Indonesian city government plans to set up an institute next month to encourage other tribes in its vicinity to adopt Hangeul as their writing system.

This adoption came nearly one year after the Korean institute signed a memorandum of understanding with the city for the use of Hangeul as an official communications tool.

Linguists here hailed the decision, raising hopes that this will lead to Korean becoming an international language like English.

“It will be a meaningful case in history if the Indonesian tribe succeed in maintaining its aboriginal language with the help of Hangeul,” said Prof. Kim Joo-won of Seoul National University who has initiated the landmark project. “In the long run, the spread of Hangeul will also help enhance Korea’s economy as it will activate exchanges with societies that use the alphabet.”

Prof. Lee Ho-young of Seoul National University, who penned the textbook, said “I hope the case will serve as a meaningful opportunity to show off the excellence of Hangeul overseas.”

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