Cia-Cia adopts Hangul to preserve spoken language

Posted on : 2009-08-07 12:06 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Hunminjeongeum Research Institute works with Cia-Cia members to create textbooks and teach Hangul as their official writing system
 Korea’s written alphabet
Korea’s written alphabet

A minority population in Indonesia officially adopted Hangul, the Korean written alphabet, to transcribe their spoken language of Cia-Cia. It is the first time that foreigners have adopted Hangul as their official writing system.

According to the Hunminjeongeum Research Institute, the Cia-Cia live in Bau-Bau, the main city on Buton Island located in the Sulawesi province of Indonesia. The city began distributing textbooks written in Hangul on July 22 to 400 elementary students in the Sorawolio district where many Cia-Cia people live.

The 60 thousand member Cia-Cia tribe has been on the verge of a crisis regarding the disappearance of their language. They do not have a writing system to complement their spoken language. Members of the Hunminjeongeum Research Institute persuaded them to adopt Hangul, and established a memorandum of understanding with city officials to use Hangul on July 2008.

The Hunminjeongeum Research Institute invited two persons from the Cia-Cia tribe to Seoul to create a textbook written in Hangul. The textbook includes traditional Cia-Cia and Korean stories.

The Hunminjeongeum Research Institute and Bau-Bau City will build a Hangul Culture Center and plan to train teachers in Hangul. Kim Ju-won, the president of the Hunminjeongeum Research Institute, says “It is significant that Hangul can be used to prevent a minority language from disappearing.”

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