[Quora] Korea after the Introduction of Han’gul

Question:

After the introduction of Hangul, were there any changes in terms of Korean trade, military conflicts, etc.?

Original Post in Quora [link]

Answer:

King Sejong and a team of court academicians invented a phonetic script to standardize the Korean reading of literary Chinese. The respected way of reading Chinese characters in the fifteenth century was an ancestor of the modern Mandarin that was spoken in Nanjing.

The experience of Mongol rule shared between the Ming and Chosôn is important for understanding the invention and introduction of Hunmin chôngum (which was not originally called han’gul). Only a generation or two before the reign of King Sejong, many Korean and Chinese intellectuals served a highly cosmopolitan Yuan court in Daidu (modern-day Beijing) where guanhua (a fourteenth-century ancestor of modern Mandarin) was one among several languages spoken.

The promulgation of what later became han’gul was not about trade, war, or identity. But it did coincide with a time in Korean history when learned men stopped learning spoken languages other than their native tongue and increasingly relied on a status group of translators during diplomatic missions.

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