An Alphabet? Don’t Asian languages look like this?

When most Americans think of Asian languages, a picture like this pops into their heads:

Array of Chinese characters

All they see is incomprehensible symbols, each one standing for an entire word. All of them look impossibly complicated to the untrained eye. Let’s face it:

This Tends To Scare People Away

Being illiterate isn’t fun. When you go to an Asian country, you can't read a newspaper or magazine; you can’t read a menu written in the native language; you can’t even read a street sign. There's just no way you can memorize those thousands of symbols! Calm down. Relax. Take a deep breath. You don’t have to use those difficult-looking symbols in Korean—it has an alphabet.

Now, return to the first page.