Serendipity

I once went out with a girl who took some Korean, and her teacher remarked that Hangul is very well designed for computers because it’s got a lot of zeros and ones, or something like that.

I think what she was trying to convey is that writing Hangul is very geometric and hence easy to digitize.  At the character level, all 10 vowels and 9 out of 14 consonants consist entirely of strokes at 90 degree angles (either drawn using top to bottom or left to right motion).  The remaining 5 characters only feature a 45 degree angle, perfect circle, an accent mark.  One level up, each syllable is arranged into blocks with consonants only allowed to occupy certain positions, and vowels others.  Together, this gives Hangul a very “blocky” feel.

By contrast, English is fluid.  The strokes are much more diverse – the lowercase “g” having a circle flowing into a bar flowing into a hook.  The vowels and consonants are taught in one continuous stream, and they can occupy any arbitrary position in a syllable, which in turn is not delineated anywhere within the words, which are written as single strings from left to right.  Even at the cultural level, English has a constant flow of new words being assimilated from different countries, cultures and professions while Korean is so much more isolated and static.

None of the above observations are new, but it hit me this morning it just kinda hit me that my logo by chance captures this dichotomy perfectly: the geometry of the Korean language matches the blockiness of the dragon, the free flow of English matches the flowing curves of the crane.

The kicker being the cognitive dissonance.  Ruby mentioned that the crane’s strokes are reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy, which you wouldn’t expect on the American side.  Nor would you expect Korea, known as the Hermit kingdom with an American military base in the heart of its city, to take the role of the aggressor.

What are the funny insights that have occurred to YOU in the shower?

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