By Patrick BrayOctober 20, 2017
MONTEREY, Calif. - The Korean School at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey held the 15th Annual Korean Alphabet Day Video Contest Oct. 12 and presented awards to students who participated in the 26th Annual Korean Language Writing Contest for Foreign Nationals.
The annual contests are in celebration of Hangeul Day, translated as Alphabet Day, which also takes place in October. The writing contest was hosted and judged by Yonsei University in Seoul.
The overall winner of the writing contest was U.S. Army Pvt. Brennan Couch, a first-semester student. Couch's award was presented by the DLIFLC commandant, Col. Phil Deppert.
"Winning a difficult contest like this is motivating for me," said Couch, who is still early in the Korean program with no prior experience in foreign language acquisition. "I can measure my learning and have a tangible product for my efforts."
The writing contest theme centered on the seasonal change from summer to fall allowing students to showcase their Korean writing ability and cultural awareness in a fun way.
Couch wrote a poem and read it aloud in Korean. "Autumn is a pale horse wandering around the globe, a beautiful warning of the coming winter and her icy touch."
The video contest winner came from Department D, Team 3, for their rendition of the Beatles' song "Let it be" parodying life as a student at DLIFLC.
The ninth of October every year in Korea is Hangeul Day, and is a holiday commemorating 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 570 years later, the Korean alphabet withstood the test of time and is being taught all around the world, to include DLIFLC.
Deputy Consul General Jimin Kim, from the Korean Consulate in San Francisco, was a special guest at the ceremony and spoke about the spread of the Korean alphabet around the world and commended the students for studying the Korean alphabet. To see the alphabet so widely used by so many people pays homage to the efforts of King Sejong, said Kim.
DLIFLC provides resident instruction in 17 languages at the Presidio of Monterey, California, 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.