In terms of the territorial size, Korea is a small country. But, she is not a small country at all considering her big population. The total population of North and South Korea is approximately seventy million and it is enough to place Korea in the 15th place in the world. In the aspect of language, Korea is a huge country.

In terms of user's population, the Korean language is in the 13th place among several thousand languages in the world including Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, English, Arabic, Portuquese, Russian, Japanese, German, French, and Malay-Indonesian. We can be proud of this.

Several reports say minor languages have disappeared in this world so that only few languages are expected to remain in the future. Leaning to this prospect, some insist that English should be an official language and even our descendants should learn English as their native tongue.

However, language is not only a communication method but also a cultural heritage containing the nation's history and spirit. A nation makes a feature of its own language. The nation that once looses its original language cannot be called a nation any more. For example, it is not too much to say that Manchuria tribe disappeared after it lost Manchu. Our nation also faced with the crisis of loosing our language under the rule of Japanese imperialism but our ancestors got through the difficulty and kept our language.

We should maintain our nation's identity by keeping our original language and writings. In one hand, we need to open our mind to foreigners and foreign languages. We should keep pace with the stream of the world's change by paying attention to foreign languages and foreign cultures as well as succeeding and developing our language and writings. That is the wisdom to live in this Globalized world.
Writing systems all over the world can roughly be divided into ideographic and phonetic systems. An ideographic writing is a system in which individual letters bear certain meanings. Chinese characters are a good example. On the other hand, phonetic writing is a system in which individual letters don't have any meaning, but express certain sound instead. Since there are tens of thousands of units (morphemes or words) that carry meanings in a language, the number of letters is destined to be plentiful in ideographic systems.

On the other hand, since there are only tens of sounds to be distinguished from one another in a language, it is possible to smoothly express a language with only tens of sounds in phonetic systems. Although the ideographic systems have some virtues, they require too much effort to maintain and manage the system of characters because individual letters have to be invented as essential concepts enormously increase according to the development of culture.

Also, it takes huge expense and effort to teach and learn them as the number of letters swell. It is common in the history of writing that a writing system begins as an ideographic one and later develops to a phonetic one. Phonetic systems are more evolved systems of writing compared to ideographic systems.

Phonetic systems can be divided into syllabic and phonemic systems. A syllable '간' consists of a consonant 'ㄱ', a vowel 'ㅏ', and a consonant 'ㄴ'. A letter corresponds to an entire syllable like '간' in a syllabic system, whereas a letter is comparable to a consonant or a vowel in a phonemic system. There are hundreds or thousands of syllables in a language, while there are only tens of phonemes. As a result, a syllabic system requires much more letters than a phonemic one. Accordingly, a phonemic writing is regarded a progressed system than a syllabic writing. Yet, in a language where there is not much number of possible syllables, using a syllabic writing can also be appropriate. Japanese is a good example.
If you take a look at Han-geul with these categories in mind, it belongs to the most developed group of phonemic writings. Yet, Han-geul is a very peculiar system among the phonemic writings. Individual letters that express consonants or vowels show certain internal characteristics instead of being atomic.

 'ㅋ' or 'ㄲ' cannot be seen as atomic units, but they can be analyzed as 'ㄱ' and an additional stroke or two 'ㄱ's. There are even some scholars who think Han-geul belongs to the brand new category of 'featural writing system' instead of simply regarding it as a phonemic writing, laying stress on this systematic nature of Han-geul.

A featural writing system is the most progressed system of all the writing systems invented by human being. And there is still only one example in this category. We cannot but take pride in having such a great character.