[KS] The Romanization Discussion

gkl1 at columbia.edu gkl1 at columbia.edu
Thu Jun 30 23:54:06 EDT 2005

As a long-time list veteran who has been through many discussions on
romanization that ended nowhere, I expressed myself tired of the
subject in a posting a few weeks ago. Stefan Ewing, who obviously
has a genuine, sincere, and informed interest in this topic, seems
to have taken my message as a damper, and may have stopped talking
about it before he really wanted to. I'm grateful for Mr McGuire
giving him an opportunity to get into it again. I deeply regret it
if something that I wrote has dissuaded anybody from saying
anything they want to say on this list. I have no wish to do so,
   I was surprised that Sang Oak's message-- which really was a very
significant comment on the subject, elicited no responses. As a
friend of Sang Oak and one familiar with his many efforts to
encourage the official Korean romanization discussions of 1999 to
move in open and flexible directions, when his own position between
his Korean colleagues and his foreign friends made things somewhat
tight for him, I have always thought he deserved and deserves the
gratitude of all of us. His conclusion that Korea needs three
romanization systems is a pragmatic and sensible recognition of
reality, and I am sure that that is the way it will play out in the
future. Here's to you, Sang Oak!  And let no one hesitate to talk
about what they want to talk about, no matter what some old crank
might think!

Gari Ledyard

Quoting Stefan Ewing <sa_ewing at hotmail.com>:

> Dear KS list members:
> John McGuire asks a very good question.  Professor Lee gave some
> quite
> interesting anecdotes and observations regarding his own personal
> involvement in the development of both the 1984 and 2000 South
> Korean
> romanization systems, and I would have liked to see more comments
> from other
> participants, or more stories from Professor Lee.
> In answer to John McGuire's question, the discussion just seems
> to have
> died, unless there's an off-list discussion going on to which I
> am not
> privy.  For my part, I decided to heed Gari Ledyard's last
> comment on the
> general topic of KS discussions of romanization, and hold back
> from holding
> forth any further on the subject.
> I'm still trying to think of a new topic to stimulate discussion,
> but moving
> house and other personal matters have kept me occupied.
> Stefan Ewing
> >From: "John McGuire" <wiredsquiremcguire at hotmail.com>
> >Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List
> <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> >To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> >Subject: [KS] The Romanization Discussion
> >Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 03:06:38 +0000
> >
> >Up until June 19, I had been reading with some interest the
> discussion on
> >this list concerning the Romanization of the Korean language.
> The last
> >message that I received in that thread came from Prof. Lee
> Sang-Oak, who
> >suggested (if I understand him correctly) that the system was
> changed in
> >2000 partly because a Mr. Oh, in the Ministry of Culture and
> Tourism, "was
> >very eager to obtain some new achievement to be promoted." Given
> the costs
> >and trouble involved in changing a system of transliteration, it
> is
> >astonishing, if true, that the change would have been motivated,
> even in
> >part, by one man's career ambitions. What is more astonishing,
> however, is
> >the silence on this list following Prof. Lee's message. Did the
> discussion
> >really die or was it moved off of this list?
> >
> >John McGuire
> >
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