[KS] Perfect Hangul?

C.E.Williamson uiliwill at nuri.net
Tue Nov 30 04:52:20 EST 1999

Just a bit of criticism on the subject.  For those who laud Hangul's
efficiency and perfectness, I submit that because it lacks several
consonants "f", "v" and diphthongs, etc., and because so many western words
are absorbed into Hangul, or Hangulhua (ized), youngsters acquire an
atrocious pronunciation not only of English but other foreign languages that
is difficult to say the least to change.  In Korea where untold amounts of
money is spent on learning a foreign language, mainly English and using
Hangul to guide pronunciation, one of the biggest obstacles to pronunciation
of English for Koreans is their localized pronunciation of foreign words
learned through that great character set called Hangul. For Koreans the
problem of correctly absorbing foreign words into their language via Hangul
is far greater of a problem than foreigners trying to assimilate Korean
words into some form of Romanization.
C.E.Williamson (not a linguist)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ross King" <jrpking at unixg.ubc.ca>
To: <korean-studies at mailbase.ac.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 1999 5:31 AM
Subject: Re: pinyin system and Korean romanization

> Junghee Lee wrote:
> >If the rominization should be done only for foreigners, why do we accept
> >Pinyin system
> >in the west?
> Equating Pinyin in China with romanization in Korea grossly distorts the
> issue(s) at hand. Unfortunately, even the NAKL bureaucrats are missing
> point.
> Pinyin is (I presume) taught to Chinese children in school, and is meant
> for three things: 1) to indicate the pronunciation of Chinese characters,
> 2) to help promote the use of the standard vernacular, 3) Some Chinese
> would argue that Pinyin is destined (in theory, anyway) to replace Chinese
> characters as the official writing system in China. In any case,
> romanization in Korea serves none of these purposes -- Korea doesn't need
> Pinyin. Pinyin is not a mere auxiliary romanization system for use on road
> signs or in passports -- it is, first and foremost, for the Chinese
> themselves, and is the only official alphabetic means for writing Mandarin
> Chinese (a second language to millions of people in China, including
> millions of Chinese). It also runs parallel to the beastly and inefficient
> Chinese writing system, not to a perfectly good alphabet like hangul.
> Let's not confuse things by dragging Pinyin into this discussion.
> The current romanization farce in Korea is a fiasco perpetrated by
> nationalist language bureaucrats eager to parade their linguo-patriotism
> (scriptophilia?). Probably the best we can do as concerned 'foreign'
> scholars is ignore it. But I would also be happy to inundate Rob Provine's
> email address with "no" messages, as suggested earlier on the list.
> Ross King
> Associate Professor of Korean


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