Like Japanese, the Han characters (called hanja in Korean) were originally used to write Korean, with the oldest example dating to about 414.[16] Korean, which is distantly related to Japanese[17] but not to Chinese or the other Asian languages, isn't really any better suited to writing with hanja than Japanese is, and various phonetic systems similar to Japanese Kana were devised to supplement the Han characters. Several of these systems are obsolete, but one of them—Hangul—has become the main writing system used for modern Korean. Interestingly, even though Hangul was invented in 1446, the Chinese characters persisted as the preferred method of writing Korean until the beginning of the twentieth century; Hangul was accorded a kind of ...

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