Language not only is a means of communication conveying thoughts and feelings but also serves to shape the mental worlds of those who use it. Consequently, a nation or a people forms a common mental world, led by the structure of a common language, and creates a unique culture based on that world. In this respect, what has connected the ideas and led the culture of the Korean people is none other than the Korean language.
The Korean Language Society (Hangeul Hakhoe) is an academic society of the Korean people that hitherto has preserved the nation’s spirit and culture. Without the creation of Hangeul (1443; proclaimed in 1446) by King Sejong the Great (1397-1450; r. 1418-50), Ju Si-gyeong’s (1876-1914) research on Korean, and the struggles of the forerunners of the Society, who preserved the Korean language and script against oppression by Japanese imperialism (1910-45) at the risk of their lives, Koreans would not have been able to enjoy the culture and prosperity that they do today. The Society thus is not an ordinary academic organization but is a large, shining star that has preserved the Korean people’s culture and will continue to do so in the future.
Korea stands shoulder to shoulder with advanced nations politically and economically and has received the attention of the international community in diverse cultural fields as well. Consequently, enhancing the country’s standing is an important task indeed that we living in these times must perform. As is apparent from Ju Si-gyeong’s words early on that “When the language is elevated, the nation will be elevated,” a country’s stature can be raised through the correct language life. The Society therefore will create a society where plainer and more dignified language is used, language is uplifted through accurate communication, thus uplifting the country, and language in turn is elevated as much as the nation is.
To achieve these goals, the Society will engage in depth in academic activities to study the Korean language and script scientifically together with young scholars. In concert with diverse individuals and organizations in all walks of life who love and cultivate Korean, it will energetically engage in a national language movement, thus elevating the value of the Korean language and script. In addition, the Society will devote its efforts also to the education of foreigners who wish to learn Korean, thus preparing for the day when the entire globe will enjoy the value of our proud language and script.
The Society will strike a balance between academic research on the Korean language and script and the praxis of a national language movement. Inheriting the academic accomplishments made by our forefathers and forerunners, it will elevate research on the Korean language and script to linguistic science and, based on this, implement a national language movement that will preserve and cultivate Korean. The Society will overcome the academic stance that neglects the value of the national language movement, examining the national language objectively and engaging only in research. It will also transcend the attitude of a national language movement that blindly calls for the love of the national language without the foundation of academic achievements. The Society will thus lead both academic research and the implementation of the national language movement.
In addition, the Society will search for ways of achieving joint development through cooperation with academic societies for diverse branches in Korean linguistics and with provincial academic societies and of further elevating the level of Hangeul, its academic journal.
Beloved people of Korea and renowned scholars both at home and abroad…! We hope and wish for your interest, encouragement, and support. The Society has existed for over a hundred years and is rushing toward its history of 111 years. We now pledge to gather our will and to march forward together so as to elevate further the position of the Korean language and script high in the world. Thank you very much.
President, Hangeul Hakhoe