[KS] dropping McCune-Reischauer for 20th/21st c. personal names
Mark_Peterson at byu.edu
Thu Dec 13 20:18:51 EST 2001
Dear Korean Studies friends,
I think there is more agreement than disagreement in what Frank and
Gari have been saying, and it brings me to one of my pet sidelights
when it comes to the issue of romanization of names.
In the government's system, the USG -- as they call themselves --
they use a modified Mc-R system, but to be sure they can trace back a
name, they don't observe any sound changes. Kim Yo^ng-ni is written
Kim Yo^k-ri, etc.
Well, in their system then the current President is Kim Tae Chung,
which is really silly (now, there is silliness). Everone in the
world knows Kim Dae Jung, but not the USG! For example, they may
write that the head of the DJ faction is Kim Tae Chung. Or they
might translate something that says a person used the term "DJ"
referring to the President, and then clarify it by saying DJ refers
to Kim Tae Chung. Or they might talk about the JP faction, headed by
Kim Chong Pil.
For me, the solution has been what I call the "New York Times factor"
-- that is, if their name is published in the New York Times with the
idiosyncratic spelling, then there is a precedent! And as Mike
Robinson just said, when one is published under the idiosyncratic
spelling, there is a basis for using that spelling. And as Prof. Yuh
suggested, putting the Mc-R in parens after the first appearance is
But as for the USG, I suppose its still Yi Su^ng Man, whoever that was??!!
Blind adherence to romanization rules in the case of names creates
more problems than it solves.
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