The composition of Hangeul
Han-geul is a phonemic writing system, and it consists of letters for consonants and vowels. Unlike general phonemic writing systems such as the Roman Alphabet, it was uniquely designed to combine consonant letters and vowel letters into syllabic units. Because of this, we can say that it has something in common with syllabic writing systems.
The current spelling system of Hangeul is based on a draft for unified Hangeul spelling system proposed by Chosun Language Institution in 1933. This was partly revised in 1988 but, the basic features remain almost the same. Hangeul consists of consonant letters and vowels letters. Even though Hangeul is a phonemic writing, its letters are uniquely composed in a syllable unit.
For example, a word, ‘꿀벌(bee)’ is written like '꿀벌' not like 'ㄲ ㅜ ㄹ ㅂㅓㄹ'. The syllable as a letter is divided into three positions: the initial sound, the medial sound, and the final consonant. Any one among 19 consonant letters can be an initial sound. 'ㅇ’ among those 19 letters does not have a sound. For example, in case of '우유(milk)', two 'ㅇ’s are just there filling the space without making any sound in '우’ and ‘유’. Any one among 21 vowel letters can be a medial sound. One out of 16 single consonant letters and 11 double consonant letters can fill the final consonant location.
1. Basic Consonants and Vowels (24 letters)
2. Compound Consonants and Vowels (16 letters)
3. Hangeul Spelling System:
The initial sound letters
ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㅇ ㅈ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅆ ㅉ ( 19 letters )
The medial sound letters
ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ ㅐ ㅒ ㅔ ㅖ ㅘ ㅙ ㅚ ㅜ ㅝ ㅞ ㅟ ㅢ ( 21 letters )
The final consonant letters
Single final consonant : ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㅇ ㅈ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ ㄲ ㅆ ( 16 letters )
Double final consonant : ㄳ ㄵ ㄶ ㄺ ㄻ ㄼ ㄽ ㄾ ㄿ ㅀ ㅄ ( 11 letters )