[KS] Hangul Patriotism questions.....
jblee6952 at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 23 12:02:36 EDT 2003
<Hangul Patriotism questions>
First an off-note on homophone. In the case of Korean, I wonder
to what category of confounding of sound and meaning the following
SBS and HanGyuRye today reported that Japanese-speak
color terminology is out and that pure Korean terms will
take their place. Just another modest act of patriotism.
As an example: (Japan-speak) <nog.seg> with
I would venture that, though one is "Japan-speak" and the other is
"pure-Korean", <-.log> and <nog.-> is, dare I say, an alloform of
homonomy(homophone). Is there an accurate term for the above
situation? Does above happen both above and below the 38th?
So is it maybe heteronomy(?) below the 38th and homonomy
above the 38th?
With the passing of another Hangul Founding Day, I have
been struck by several puzzlements and would like to
ask for some enlightenment.
I suppose the media's flurry of activity on the Founding Day
is an annual ritual; each passing year marked by better special
effects, amazing professional editing, deeper research.
It also seems an occassion for the standard conscious media to
warn of impending language-death for Korean and to put the blame
squarely on the less than studious and increasingly rebellious
And so that, for example, the youth are held to be responsible
for the most recent result of the national language competency
test. Here, that the youth is blamed is somewhat puzzling, for
while the results showed a score of 50 something, which was
compared to the result for the Japan of high 60's, it was infact the young
that had the highest scores. So the high-school and college
students had the highest scores on all the components, with the
scores declining precipitously with age.
So we had the youth clearly keeping the nation from going under
into the "fail zone", presumably below 50, and yet they are held
responsible, at least by the unhappy media.
I have gathered some questions that the past week has
prompted in me. I hope you can help.
1. I recall reading that the first government sanctioned use of
Hangul was during the Hideyoshi invasion of Korea, where the
military communications were conducted in Hangul. Does anyone know
of accurate reference for this point? Can anyone throw light on
the motivation, etc.? Were they using some amazing cryptographic
schemes? Is there some yet unwritten and glorious history of
cryptography in Korea?
2. I also recall that during the reign of GoJong, the government
newspaper was published completely in hangul, so it appeared in
some newspaper articles. Does anyone know the story behind this
publication? Was the readership the general public or the
officialdom? Why in hangul? Why not in hanmun? Was the paper
meant for Joe and Jack of Korea? Was GoJong a populist, a standard
bearer of modernity?
2.1 While the media hailed Hangul as a glorious human achievement
recognized and envied worldwide, and invented for the exclusive
purpose of putting the popular speech of the Korean people, I am
puzzled by another piece of my own recollection. Apparently,
Sin SookJoo, an official most closely associated with the Hangul
project, was sent to China to do research, and several times at that.
Shouldn't he have been collecting dialectal data from the various
provinces of Korea instead of heading to China? Can anyone clarify
3. There seems to be an obvious equation between Hangul and Korean
language. So, teaching hangul is teaching Korean language, etc. I
suppose it could be justified on the ground that Koreans are pretty
much the only people who use hangul, i.e. nobody else uses it. I
suppose a logical extension would be for the Japanese to say
kana=Japanese language, or alphabet=English language. And I
suppose, knowing hangul is knowing Korean, by such reckoning.
How widespread is this belief? Do they really believe it?
What language do the Koreans believe they were speaking before the
use of Hangul became accepted? <Han GyuRye> newspaper seems to be
always at the forefront of such claims. Does anyone know the history
of this newspaper?
5. There were some patriotic arguments in the Parliament over
hangul-vs-hanja name plates, which appeared to have been timed
for the Hangul Founding Day. On this point, Professor Ramsey's
book on Korean language had a rather pithy comment ascribing
responsibility for the disappearnce of hanja on the publishers
themselves, who are said to cite bottom-line rationale. Does
anyone have anymore detail on this "profit motive"? I always
thought it was an issue of patriotism.
7. Finally a question about editing practice in Korean media.
Regardless of the many authors, each publication seemed
to have a very consistent orthography, with very constrained
endings. This seemed particulary true of weekly and monthly
magazines. Is it true that there is a governmental body that
penalizes publications for being "off" the official orthography?
That this penalty is financial? And that even radio broadcasts
must adhere to "standard" speech?
jblee6952 at hotmail.com
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