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Hangeul wins gold in World Alphabet Olympics

All Headlines 11:58 October 09, 2012

SEOUL, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- Korea's Hangeul writing system has won the gold medal at an international contest of world alphabets, organizers said Tuesday.

Hangeul earned the top honor beating India's Telugu alphabet and the English alphabet at the 2nd World Alphabet Olympics held in Bangkok on Oct. 1-4, according to the organizing committee of the competition in Seoul.

Scholars from a total of 27 countries with their own writing system or using borrowed alphabets from other countries took part in the contest, according to the organizers.

This marks hangeul's second straight win in the competition following the first in 2009. In the first Olympics held in Seoul, silver and bronze medals went to Greece and Italy out of 16 countries with their own alphabets.

Lee Yang-ha, a former South Korean ambassador to Lebanon and the chief organizer of the event, says that hangeul is superior to all other alphabets in its ability to convey information in a short period of time.

"While 26 letters of the English alphabet can only express 300 or more sorts of sound, 24 letters of the Korean alphabet can carry 11,000 kinds of sound in theory and 8,700 sorts of sound in practice," Lee said.

Participating scholars adopted a statement called "Bangkok Declaration" on the last day of the event and pledged their best efforts to proliferate the Korean alphabet across the world.

The scholars also organized the World Alphabet Society during the event to continue their activities to promote hangeul.

Lee said this will be the last of the World Alphabet Olympics since letters do not change as easily as spoken languages.


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