Saturday, December 17, 2016

Jacques Brel - "Le Moribond"

"Seasons in the Sun" is an English-language adaptation of the song "Le Moribond" by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel[1]with lyrics by American singer-poet Rod McKuen.[2] It became a worldwide hit in 1974 for Canadian singer Terry Jacks and became a Christmas Number 1 in 1999 for Westlife. Jacks's version is one of the fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million copies worldwide.
The song is a dying protagonist's farewell to relatives and friends. The protagonist mentions how hard it will be to die now that the spring season has arrived (historically, spring is portrayed as the season of new life).

Original version

The original French-language song is a sardonic ballad, in which the speaker gives backhanded farewells to his adulterous wife and her lover and the priest he disagreed with while sarcastically expressing his wish that there should be singing and dancing when he is buried. Before Jacks popularized the song, earlier recordings had been released by The Kingston Trio with the first cover version of McKuen's translation in 1963 and the British band The Fortunes in 1968.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Korean alphabet

The Korean alphabet, known in South Korea as Hangul (also transcribed Hangeul) and as Chosŏn'gŭl/Chosŏn Muntcha in North Korea and China, is the alphabet that has been used to write the Korean language since the 15th century.[1] It was created during the Joseon Dynasty in 1443 by King Sejong the Great. Now, the alphabet is the official script of both South Korea and North Korea, and co-official in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefectureand Changbai Korean Autonomous County of China's Jilin Province. In South Korea, Hangul is used primarily to write the Korean language as using Hanja (Chinese characters) in typical Korean writing had fallen out of common usage during the late 1990s. Hanja is still used to some extent in art, academic and government documents, newspapers, and high level Korean in South Korea; however, North Korea banned the use of Hanja in public since 1964.[2]
In its classical and modern forms, the alphabet has 19 consonant and 21 vowel letters. However, instead of being written sequentially like the letters of the Latin alphabet, Hangul letters are grouped into blocks, such as  han, each of which transcribes a syllable. That is, although the syllable  han may look like a single character, it is actually composed of three letters:  h,  a, and  n. Each syllabic block consists of two to six letters, including at least one consonant and one vowel. These blocks are then arranged horizontally from left to right or vertically from top to bottom. Each Korean word consists of one or more syllables, hence one or more blocks. The number of mathematically possible distinct blocks is 11,172 (see "South Korean order" below), though there are far fewer possible syllables allowed by Korean phonotactics, and not all phonotactically possible syllables occur in actual Korean words. For a phonological description, see Korean phonology. Among possible 11,172 Hangul syllables the most frequent 256 have cumulative frequency of 88.2% and with the top 512 ones it reaches 99.9%.[3]