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The Foundation and History of the Korean Language Society


The Society is a civilian academic organization whose purpose lies in preserving, studying, and developing the Korean language and script.


The Society was founded on August 31, 1908, when Korea was declining, under the leadership of Ju Si-gyeong. At the time, it was called the Society for the Study of the National Language (Gugeo Yeon-gu Hakhoe). Based on an awareness of the urgency of widely disseminating the Korean language and script to the public, an attached educational organ named the National Language Training School (Gugeo Gangseupso) was installed and managed as well. On September 3, 1911, a year after Japan’s annexation of Korea (1910), the Society was renamed the Baedal [i. e., Korea] People’s Language and Script Group (Baedal Malgeul Modeum) or the Korean Script Society (Joseon Eonmunhoe), and the name of the attached organ likewise was changed to the Korean Language Training Institute (Joseoneo Gangseubwon). The Society’s name was once again changed to the Hangeul Group (Hangeulmo) on March 23, 1913, and the attached organ was renamed the Hangeul Training Institute (Hangeul Baegot) in 1914.


Following Ju Si-gyeong’s sudden death on July 27, 1914, the Society underwent a period of inactivity. However, seizing the cultural politics espoused by the Japanese colonial authorities as an opportunity, the organization resumed its activities on December 3, 1921 as the Society for the Study of the Korean Language (Joseoneo Yeon’guhoe) under the leadership of younger scholars influenced by Ju Si-gyeong.


The organization was renamed the Korean Language Society (Joseoneo Hakhoe) on January 10, 1931, and, amidst the maelstrom of national division following the Liberation (1945), was christened with its current name, theKorean Language Society (Hangeul Hakhoe), on September 25, 1949 and has existed to the present. In addition, the Korean Language Society Foundation (Jaedan Beobin Hangeul Hakhoe) was founded on March 24, 1949 to support the Society financially and has continued to this day.