Last October 9 was the 571th Hangeul Day. Lots of events were held to celebrate this historic day in some foreign cities including New York and Ho Chi Minh City and throughout Korea. Also, here in KNUE, some students majoring in Korean Language Education held some events to make students recognize the importance of Hangeul.
The Department has held an annual event around Hangeul Day since 1991, and students in academic division of the department have led the programs for the event. This year, it was held in September 28 because of the long Chuseok holidays. There were four main programs in the event. First, pictorial poems were exhibited at the street where students put up posters and the exhibition lasted for a few days around the event day. Students walking down the street could see the poems and appreciate the beauty of Korea’s own language and Korean literature. Those who walked around the Humanities Building might also have seen huge ‘Han-Geul-Sa-Rang’ letters attached on the stairs. When these letters were viewed up close, they were simply pieces of paper. However, when seen from a few steps backward, they joined together to form particular letters.
During lunch time and dinner time on the very day of the event, students could take quizzes about some Korean words and proverbs or spelling system in front of the dormitory cafeteria. They got simple prizes after participating in the quiz whether they answered correctly or not. This program gave students a chance to think about their ability of using Korean properly. Lee San-hwi, a sophomore majoring in German Education, said, “I was surprised because I have been using ungrammatical expressions without noticing them. It was a great chance for me to get some useful information about Hangeul and some delicious snacks!”
Students could also meet King Sejong during the dinner time. A student wearing a royal robe moved with some students dressed up as eunuchs1 and court maids. When students met that group wandering the campus, they could take some picture of them or with them, making special memories related to Hangeul Day. Also, they could think about King Sejong who created Hangeul for his subjects once more in remembrance of Hangeul Day.
Heo Ju-ri, a freshman in academic division, said, “When attaching pieces of paper to the side of the stairs, I felt that it would be more difficult if they were written in Hanja, which was used before the creation of Hangeul.” It was quite an unexpected moment that she realized the scientific simplicity of Korea’s own language. Hangeul is used so naturally that Korean people usually do not recognize its worth and importance. In this situation, the event that the Department of Korean Language Education has annually held provides opportunities for KNUE students as pre-service teachers to recall the importance of Hangeul and think about ways to develop and promote the precious legacy.
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