[KS] Romanisation and Pinyin

David McCann dmccann at fas.harvard.edu
Wed Jun 8 08:13:49 EDT 2005

Has someone out there already made the point about the new system, that 
it was promulgated at roughly the same time and in much the same spirit 
as the demolition of the old Japanese headquarters building?  And I do 
seem to recall at the time some gentle protests from certain quarters 
regarding the bulldozer tactics of the design and promulgation team.  So 
it isn't just representation of the language, but of the culture, and 
more, of its shaking off all of the post-colonial legacies.
That may indeed have been a (large) part of the KOR 2000 project and its 
original intent. 

the short story "Kapitan Ri" provides a curiously similar example of the 
process.  Described in the introduction (in the anthology Land of Exile) 
as a work that was seeeking to eradicate post-colonial vestiges, it many 
readings it seemsw more like an account of a true survivor.  The 
liguistically adept Yi Inguk /paksa/ masters Japanese, Russian, and 
English, in turn, in his focused and determined effort to survive and to 
make sure that his descendants do as well.  The /systems/ come and go: 
Japanese colonial occupation, "North Korean" take-over, Russian 
administration, flight south to the American cultural realm.  Yi Inguk 
M.D. survives it all.

David McCann

On 6/6/05 10:49 PM, rupert wrote:

>Gari Ledyard wrote how he is impressed by how easily the Pinyin system for Chinese has gained broad acceptance. Well, I heard that one of the motivations for making the new Korean system was the success of Pinyin. I have been studying Chinese for a while and Pinyin does seem to be exceedingly good. Also, unlike Koreans, Chinese students learn it - indeed it has become their 'alphabet'. All the foreign Chinese students in our school know it. Truly amazing. Of course, Koreans do not really need such as they have their own alphabet, hence the confusion to purpose. Accordingly, several systems coexist side by side.
>1 Yale - A clever system for linguists. Only used by specialists - no one else has a clue, yet it is good.
>2  MR - A clever system for foreigners based on compromise between sound and transliteration. Easy to learn but hopeless on computers.
>3  KOR 2000 - A simple system for Koreans based on transliteration (not sound). Useful for computer users. Easy for lifers but confusing to tourists.
>It seems to be a case of - take your pick ... but who you are will determine which one you will like. Or, maybe the best version is still waiting to be discovered.
>Rupert Atkinson
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