By Patrick Bray
DLIFLC Public Affairs
MONTEREY, Calif. – The Korean School at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center celebrated Hangul Day, or Alphabet Day, with the 14th Annual Korean Alphabet Day Video Contest in September 2016.
The best three videos were shown at an awards ceremony on the Presidio of Monterey Oct. 6. Awards were also given for participation in the 25th Annual Korean Language Writing Contest for Foreign Nationals hosted by Yonsei University in Seoul that judged the entries.
Seaman Kaylah Blackman won first place in the writing contest with her story “The Influence of Gloomy News,” and read it aloud at the awards ceremony.
“Just like how Neil Armstrong walked on the moon or how Korea became independent from Japan’s colonization and repression, times of cheerful and exhilarating news filled our world…” read Blackman in Korean at the ceremony. She continued, “They say that the influence of tragic news affects one’s mental health…”
“It took me more than six hours to write this essay because I had to figure out how to make the Korean sound more articulate by using different words, so it took a really long time,” said Blackman after the ceremony. “A week later I found out I got first place.”
Blackman was very fortunate to be assigned the Korean language because it was what she wanted to study.
“I’ve always wanted to study Korean. I’ve studied on-and-off on my own for two years by myself. I had no teacher or textbook,” Blackman also said, who comes from a rural area of California. She watched Korean dramas and tried to follow along on her own, hoping that the language would stick.
Chung Hai-Ryong, representing the Alumni Association of Yonsei, presented Blackman with her award. For the video entries, awards were given by the Korean School dean and faculty, the Institute’s provost, and assistant commandant.
The special guest speaker was Shin Chae-Hyun, the Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco, who was appointed in 2016 and visited the Institute for the first time that day. Shin said that the Korean linguists studying at DLIFLC “are the real backbone of the Korea-U.S. Alliance.” He also spoke about the spread of the Korean language around the world and commended the students for their studies.
The ceremony also provided students with an opportunity to showcase their cultural awareness by featuring traditional Korean songs by students and a performance of the world-famous Korean School fan dance team. Building on a foundation of cultural knowledge is a concept taught at DLIFLC and the Institute has found that it aids in language improvement.
The Korean School has been holding the writing and video contest every year during the week of Hangul Day, the ninth of October every year, which commemorates the gift of a simplified alphabet from King Sejong the Great to his people in 1446, replacing complicated Chinese characters.
“Being of foreign origin, Chinese characters are incapable of capturing uniquely Korean meanings. Therefore, many common people have no way to express their thoughts and feelings,” said the king, according to the alphabet’s historical account.
More than 500 years later, the Korean alphabet withstood the test of time and is being taught all around the world, to include DLIFLC, which is regarded as the finest language school in the nation.
This year, DLIFLC celebrates its 75th anniversary. The Institute provides resident instruction in 23 languages at the Presidio of Monterey with the capacity to instruct another 65 languages in Washington, D.C., graduating more than 220,000 linguists since 1941.
In addition, multiple language training detachments exists at sites in the U.S., Europe, Hawaii and Korea, spanning all the U.S. geographic combatant commands, in support of the total force.
See also Korean speech contest rocks again.
Posted Date: 7 October 2016