The Power of an Alphabet to Define a Culture My thesis research started as an investigation into literacy and power, studying the development of the Korean alphabet as a case study. My research extended into disappearing languages and how the development of an accessible writing system, a phonetic alphabet, helps preserve the language and the culture embodied in it. An alphabet acts as a visual representation of the language and the culture, and has the power to assert the legitimacy of a culture. The Korean alphabet is an amazing invention and considered the most scientific alphabets ever developed. The alphabet’s development, structure, and graphic forms are based on principles of Neo-Confucianism. As the neo-confucian philosophy informed the structure and design of the Korean alphabet, I investigated how it can inform the design of my thesis book. Eum and Yang (yin and yang) are the two primal forces, and their interactions create […]
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It’s official! I’ll be presenting my research on the Korean alphabet and Tolowa Unifon in August at Type Con. My research draws connections between the development of an alphabet in both the Korean and Tolowa (a small Native American tribe in Northern California) cultures and cultural independence and legitimacy. I’m honored, terrified, and very much looking forward to the opportunity to share my findings with the type and design community. Hope to see you in DC!