Sorting the Vowels all Out

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/09/21 00:01 -04:00, original URI:

The other day in Sorting the DPRK all Out, I mentioned:

Let's ignore the vowels for a moment, I'll talk about those another time (I have different linguistic theories to draw in for them!).

Well, it is officially time to stop ignoring the vowels. :-)

I started writing up the blog about the vowels and then I saw that Wikipedia already most of the info I was going to be writing about, plus adding one or two additional points.

First on the historical order for the vowels:

ㆍ ㅡ ㅣ ㅗ ㅏ ㅜ ㅓ ㅛ ㅑ ㅠ ㅕ 

[ARAEA  EU  I  O  A  U  EO  YO  YA  YU  YEO]

Then on the South Korean ordering for the vowels:

ㅏ ㅐ ㅑ ㅒ ㅓ ㅔ ㅕ ㅖ ㅗ ㅘ ㅙ ㅚ ㅛ ㅜ ㅝ ㅞ ㅟ ㅠ ㅡ ㅢ ㅣ 

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.

[A  AE  YA  YAE  EO  E  YEO  YE  O  WA  WAE  OE  YO  U  WEO  WE  WI  YU  EU  YI  I]

And finally the North Korean ordering for the vowels:

ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ ㅐ ㅒ ㅔ ㅖ ㅚ ㅟ ㅢ ㅘ ㅝ ㅙ ㅞ 

 All digraphs and trigraphs, including the old diphthongs ㅐ and ㅔ, are placed after all basic vowels, again maintaining Choe's alphabetic order.

[A  YA  EO  YEO  O  YO  U  YU  EU  I  AE  YAE  E  YE  OE  WI  YI  WA  WEO  WAE  WE]

Now despite the claim of maintaining the original alphabetic order, really both the ROC and the DPRK ordering clearly deviate from Choe's order in several cases - each heading off in slightly different directions. Different enough to make one feel like one is looking at an English vs. Lithuanian on where to put the "Y" type split!

Even ignoring the comments about the basis for the differences, you can kind of see the basis each one is using just by looking at the vowels themselves (I added the Unicode names to each to hopefully be of some help here, though for a couple of the vowels this may actually be a bit of a hindrance!).

Though once again this kind of highlights the huge differences between the ordering of the modern 11,172 Hangul syllables, since each of the 11,172 contains a vowel and clearly the vowels have been shifted quite a bit here.

The Wikipedia Vowel Jamo design topic gives some interesting background on the vowels in general. I will likely talk about the vowel harmony that used to happen in Korean 600-odd years ago and what happened to it in modern times. And all that is left other than that is to talk about is the additional Jamo used for Old Hangul encoded today, as well as the new Jamo being added to Unicode that I mentioned in Using a character proposal for a 'repertoire fence' extension.

I haven't decided whether that is one more blog post or two, but you'll know the next time I blog on this subject. :-)


This blog brought to you by(U+ae99, aka HANGUL SYLLABLE SSANGKIYEOK YA IEUNG)

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2015/04/16 Context > collation, when coming out of North Korea....

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