[KS] Re: Romanization

otfried at cs.ust.hk otfried at cs.ust.hk
Wed Dec 1 10:17:04 EST 1999

Gari Ledyard wrote:

 > But one wishes that they would make some effort to understand the
 > phonological complexities of their own language that are at the root of
 > these confusions.  Korean is not the same as Chinese or Japanese, which
 > have relatively simple and transparent phonologies that readily meet
 > (almost) the ideal of "one sound, one letter."  Yet the Chinese and
 > Japanese both teach romanization in their schools, while Korea does not.  
 > If there had been such education and orientation over the years, many of
 > the confusions that clearly trouble Koreans would not exist or would at
 > least be less of a problem.

How I wished I had learned more about the phonology of my mother
tongue when I was a child.  Learning Korean is far easier when one
doesn't think about /o/ and /o^/ as allophones...

Yet isn't the same true for all countries?  For Koreans to distinguish
the voiced and unvoiced allophones is akin to Americans consciously
distinguishing the l's in hill and hilly, or the t's in top and stop.
I suspect that few Americans ever learn to do this.  I'd feel
embarrassed to tell Koreans that they should teach their children
phonology if we don't teach our own.



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