[KS] Re: Spelling of the name Korea
martin_holman at berea.edu
martin_holman at berea.edu
Wed Sep 15 11:15:10 EDT 1999
Not being a/an historian (see, a literature guy like me doesn't even
know which is acceptable), I feel as though I am treading on thin ice
when discussing questions of establishing historical "fact." But,
golly, I KNOW with all my heart that katakana originated well over
half a millenium before the Jesuits got to Japan. We're not talking
decades here--the Japanese were using katakana as a mnemonic device
for reading Chinese texts as early as 828 (earliest extant document
that used katakana) and by the mid-900s were writing native Japanese
poetry in katakana (Gosen wakashuu, 955-966).
One may WISH to believe that the Jesuits insinuated themselves into
Japanese society by getting the Japanese to write Portuguese words in
hiragana and getting the Japanese to relegate Dutch words to some
newly-developed script-for-foreign-words that functioned to ghettoize
the poor Dutch in Japanese eyes, BUT by 16th century katakana already
had racked up a long working career as a script for representing both
Japanese and words adopted from other languages. It was NOT new in the
1500s. By then it had been used extensively in many kinds of documents
for at least 600 years.
How, you may ask, can he state the above with such authority? Why, he
got up off his duff, WALKED ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE STREET, and used
the Encyclopedia of Japan article "Kana" by Haruo Aoki to confirm what
he thought he had heard from Aoki in grad school.
This Corea/Korea storm has some strange breezes blowing through it.
(Could it be the effects of Floyd?) But, really, facts can sometimes
be our friends.
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Spelling of the name Korea
Author: <korean-studies at mailbase.ac.uk> at berlink
Date: 9/16/99 9:27 PM
At 12:15 AM 9/15/99 , martin_holman at berea.edu wrote:
Martin (the principal of my primary school was called Martin Holman as well
> >Actually the Portuguese Jesuits were fluent in Japanese, they knew
> >the hiragana as well. (katakana didn't exist yet) katakana was
> >invented when the need was felt that hiragana and kanji didn't
> >fulfill the need to write down the introduced foreign words. That's
> >why Tempura and most other introduced Portuguese words (actually
> >Tempura comes from the Latin Quarter Tempurans, quarter times, Friday
> >when the Portuguese ate fried fish) the introduced Dutch words
> >however are all written in katakana.
> Katakana did not exist yet in the 16th century? Perhaps we should
> trace the origin of this odd notion? (Maybe it is because "k" follows
> "h" in the alphabet, thus suggesting the proper hierarchy of
Well the textbook I have (packed by now, since we're going to move, so I
can't quote) said so.
> By the time of the Jesuits in Japan, katakana had been around for many
> hundreds of years. It had been used to indicate the pronunciation of
> Chinese texts well before the 10th century. It was not invented in
> response to the adoption of Portuguese, Spanish, or Dutch words.
As far as I know (and that might not be much) it was invented since there
was a need to write down words which were not Chinese or Japanese, katakana
was and is used to write down words stemming from neither
> Also, some words appear to be missing in the last sentence of the
> quoted material above. I hesitate to guess what was omitted.
Sorry, you should add, were written in Kana
Henny (Lee Hae Kang)
Feel free to visit
and feel the thrill of Hamel discovering Korea (1653-1666)
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