S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.48 (2009)
조선시대 한문과 한글의 위상과 성격에 대한 一考
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.48, pp. 3-20
- Every languages and letters have the specific status and characteristics in their society. In Chosun period two kinds of letters and three types of writing styles were used. Hanja(Chinese Characters) and Hangeul(Korean Alphabets) were the letters, and Hanmun, Hangeul and Idu吏네, the style describing korean borrowed Hanja, were the styles.
Hanmun was called ‘Jinseo眞書’ and Hangeul was ‘Onmun諺文’. Jinseo means the letter that contain the truth, Onmun means the letter that could not be the standard. So Hanmun had higher status than Hangeul.
In the literature of Chosun period there were two kinds of fables. One described the nation of the mind, the other, the nation of the body. The fables describing the mind was called “Cheongun天君” novel. The “Cheongun” novel is the unique genre in the East Asian literary history. There were not the genre like "Cheongun" in China and Japan.
The “Cheongun” novels like “Cheongunjeon” “Cheongunyeonyi” were written in Hanmun, and the fables of body like “Yeoyonggukjeon女容國傳” and “Mansinjubonggongsinrok萬身主封功臣錄” were in Hangeul. In the confucian concept the mind rules the body, the mind is higher than body. It presents that the mind and Hanmun is higher than the body and Hangeul in Chosun.
The status between Hanmun and Hangeul had changed in late 19th century. China was occupied by European. China and Hanmun have not been the center and standard in the East Asia any more. At last Hangeul became the nation letter國字, and Hanmun were used no more. English occupied the status of Hanmun as a world language.