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Hangul 향찰
Hanja 鄕札
Revised Romanization hyangchal
McCune–Reischauer hyangch'al

Hyangchal (literally vernacular letters, local letters or corresponded sound) is an archaic writing system of Korea and was used to transcribe the Korean language in hanja. Under the hyangchal system, Chinese characters were given a Korean reading based on the syllable associated with the character. [1] The hyangchal writing system is often classified as a subgroup of Idu. [2] The first mention of hyangchal is the monk Kyun Ye's biography during the Goryeo period. Hyangchal is best known as the method Koreans used to write Hyangga, vernacular poetry. Today, twenty-five such poems still exist and shows that vernacular poetry used native Korean words, Korean word order, and each syllable was "transcribed with a single graph". The writing system covered nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, particles, suffixes, and auxiliary verbs. The practice of hyangchal continued during the Goryeo Dynasty where it was used to record native poetry as well. [3]


A Silla era Korean poem in Hyangchal with Hangul transliteration

处容歌 처용가


셔블 발기다래 밤드리 노니다가
드러사 자리보곤 가라리 네히여라
둘은 내해 엇고 둘은 뉘해난고?
본디 다 내해다마라난 아사놀 엇디하릿고

A poem in Hyangchal

薯童谣 서동요


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Coulmas, Florian; S. R. Anderson; J. Bresnan; B. Comrie; W. Dressler; C. J. Ewen (2003). Writing Systems: An Introduction to Their Linguistic Analysis. Cambridge University Press. p. 67. 
  2. ^ Sohn, Ho-Min; S. R. Anderson; J. Bresnan; B. Comrie; W. Dressler; C. Ewen; R. Lass (2001). The Korean Language. Cambridge University Press. pp. 125, 128. 
  3. ^ Sohn (2001) p. 125