Korean B Module


Leaving various Romanization systems aside, modern Korean is written using a combination of two scripts:

  1. An indigenously developed alphabet called hangul, which consists of 10 vowels and 14 consonants
  2. Chinese characters which can be used for writing large numbers of Sino-Korean vocabulary in modern Korean

Due to strong nationalism in both North Korea and South Korea, however, modern Korean is overwhelmingly written solely with hangul, and Chinese characters, called hanja in Korean, rarely appear in popular printed media.

In South Korea, the national government twice--once in 1972, and then again in 2000--drew up a list of 1,800 hanja for daily use, but it has stayed out of further propagation of hanja in education. This is in spite of the fact that a large portion of Korean historical records and many works of classical Korean literature are written in Classical Chinese, which played the role of Latin in East Asia.

At present, a non-profit organization of Korean language and literature specialists called Hanguk Eomunhoi, seems to be the central force promoting hanja education and testing in South Korea. It has divided knowledge of hanja into 13 grades (see below), and it administers hanja aptitude tests, called hanja neungnyeok keomjeong shiheom, to certify the level of knowledge of those who apply for testing.




Level and Characteristics
Special Grade



Level at which one can read and study without inconvenience classics in which Korean and Chinese characters are mixed
Special Grade II



(Only those who have passed grade 1 can apply for testing at special grade and special grade II)
Grade 1



Grade 2



Level at which one can freely use Sino-Korean words in daily use
Grade 3



Level at which one can read newspapers and general educational writings
Grade 3 II



Grade for resolving the differences between grade 4 and grade 3
Grade 4



Grade at which one goes up to the mid level in the elementary level
Grade 4 II



Grade for resolving the differences between grade 5 and grade 4
Grade 5



Grade at which one begins writing hanja used in learning
Grade 6



Grade at which one begins writing basic hanja
Grade 6 II



First grade at which one begins writing hanja
Grade 7


Elementary stage for persons beginning for the first time the study of hanja
Grade 8


Grade for bestowing the motivation to learn among those who have yet to enter school and elementary school students

Korean Language and Computers

The history of processing the Korean language on computers is a topic that could easily fill a book. Here, we will simply point out that the standard keyboard layout for inputting Korean in South Korea is the dubeol-sik layout (the two columns on the left in the figure below), and that the standard character set for inputting Korean is KS X 1001:1992 (see the references below). Both of these have been incorporated into Personal Media Corporation's implementation of the BTRON3-specification operating system, Cho Kanji.

Korean B Module

Personal Media's Cho Kanji operating system already incorporates a module for inputting the Korean language, but there are three problems with it.

  1. It is based on the dubeol-sik standard Korean key layout, which requires a Korean keyboard
  2. Individual hanja can only be input via their pronunciations and searching for them one by one
  3. There is no hangul-to-hanja conversion dictionary of the type used in Japanese language input

To alleviate these problems, a Korean B module is being developed by TRON Web. It has the following features.

  1. A keyboard layout that allows for input via a Romanization system (the two columns on the right in the above figure)
  2. A saegim dictionary that allows for over 1,800 individual hanja to be input by their meanings (grades 3 to 8, mentioned above)
  3. A basic hangul-to-hanja conversion dictionary (under preparation)

It should be noted that the only processing overhead that comes with the Romanization system in the Korean B module is that there are 11 shift keys employed as opposed to seven with the standard Korean key layout Also, 'ri-eul' can be input using either 'r' or 'l'. Conversely, the Korean B Romanization system is extremely easy to learn and remember, and thus there is almost no training overhead associated with it. Those who know how to input English via a computer keyboard can begin using it immediately.

Download and Using the Korean B Module

The Korean B module is going to be presented first as series of parts, and then as a completed module.

Here is the file for the redefined keyboard keys.

KoreanB R-KBD

Here is the file for the saegim dictionary.

KoreanB Saegim-Dict

Download and open these BTRON real objects as you would any other BTRON resource from the Web. After you have unpacked the contents of the above files, simply create a new Basic Text Editor real object labeled KoreanB (KankokugoB above), copy the contents of the existing Korean language module into it, cut and paste the new key definitions over the existing key definitions at the top of the module, and then add the saegim dictionary at the very end of the module, just above @THRU at the very bottom. Once that is done, just register it as you would any other module. Instructions in English are here.

In order to use the Korean B input module more effectively, it is best to use it in conjunction with the Korean B saegim index, which can be downloaded by clicking on the link below. This list, which is distinguishable by blue characters on a light gray background, is not intended for incorporation into a universal input module. Rather, it is a side document to help the user of the Korean B input module rapidly find the saegim for inputting a particular hanja.

Korean B Index-Saegim

To use the saegim index, just unpack it and put it in an easy-to-find location. When you do not know a particular saegim for a hanja you would like to input, just open the file, input the syllable plus a hyphen (e.g., "ka-" in hangul) into the Basic Text Editor's Search/Replace panel under the Edit menu, and then press Search. You will be able to find the saegim in question very quickly.


There are two useful references that have been put out on the Web by O'Reilly Media, Inc.

The first is a huge chart of the KS X 1001:1992 chart set in its entirety.


The second is a 52 page document on Korean character sets.


The second of these proved difficult to print out.