[KS] Korean language transliteration system

Richard Miller rcmiller at wisc.edu
Wed Dec 1 23:42:51 EST 2004

I, personally, don't care much one way or another regarding transliteration
systems. They all have serious drawbacks, and perhaps the most glaring one
is that no one seems able to use any of them with any consistency. However,
as many people have already pointed out, academic libraries in the US use
McCune-Reischauer and this will not change anytime soon. (It took much
convincing to get them to move from Wade-Giles to Pinyin, and at that I
suspect the final blow to Wade-Giles was its adoption in Taiwan. Even at
that, there is no effort underway that I know of to retrofit older records,
so it is often prudent to do searches twice, once with Pinyin, and again
with Wade-Giles). It is not quite true that the library version of
McCune-Reischauer exists without breves and apostrophes, though. OCLC and
compatible systems do use the whole thing, breves and apostrophes and all,
but for display only--when you search, you leave them out. Incidentally,
Unicode supports o and u with breves (upper- and lower-case, even), so there
is no reason for files to break when moving from Mac to Windows and back,
unless the file predates Unicode and uses some proprietary method to overlay
characters, or a platform-dependent font. Or you're using Microsoft Word,
which appears to break files just for spite...

As an aside, the newest version of EndNote (bibliography software) claims
full Unicode support, including han'gul and, I would presume, the Unicode
diacritics. Has anyone tried it out? Does it work as advertised?


Richard Miller
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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