Our bike ride started in Yeouido Park, a
pleasant urban park despite the piped in classical music.
This is King Sojeong. I think it is fair to call him
Korea's current favorite king. Surrounding the statue are
statues of things invented in his court.
Sojeoung is also credited with creating Hangeul, the
phonetic alphabet used to write most Korean today, in
1446. At the time, educated Koreans used Chinese
characters to write Korean and no one else wrote anything.
The use of Chinese characters continued, despite Sojeong's
effort, into the 20th Century.
South Koreans still use some Chinese characters to specify
particular words -- the north has abolished their use.
South Korean schools teach over a thousand of them. The
reason for the persistence of Chinese characters is in part
practical -- it's a way of avoiding confusion from
homophones. (Chinese avoids this by being tonal, which
Korean is not.) Apparently there is still some status
value as well, using some Chinese characters shows one is
Modern Korean also reads from left to right and has spaces