[KS] Romanization: Found the answers to my questions

Stefan Ewing sa_ewing at hotmail.com
Tue May 31 20:36:07 EDT 2005

Hi, everyone:

I posted this message this morning, and due to a technical glitch, have had 
to resubmit it; hence, it will appear out of order when read in the context 
of my reply to Richard Miller.


Thanks to Roland for mentioning IPA.

Fortunately, I have found answers to the specific questions I had.  The 
first two were perhaps naive, and indeed a small amount of investigation 
resolved them.  The third question--involving the NAKL treatment of mixed 
final consonant clusters--required significantly more research.

(1) "si" and not "shi" is proper McCune-Reischauer (after searching through 
the KS list archives for my answer);

(2) "yu," "wi," and "pu" indeed all appear to be standard Yale, as opposed 
to "ywu," "wuy," and "pwu"; and

(3) When a mixed final consonant cluster (ks, nj, nh, lg, ..., lh, or ps) 
appears in the medial position in word, the consonants are represented in 
the NAKL system as if the second consonant were the initial consonant of the 
following syllable, with the proviso that "ks," "ls," and "ps" are written 
as "kss," "lss," and "pss" respectively (thus, "eopsseo" and not "eopseo").  
When the cluster appears in the final position, it is written according to 
its proper prounciation in Korean (ks = k, nj = n, etc.), with "nh" and "lh" 
causing the following consonant to become aspirated (e.g., "anta" (not be), 
"olta" (correct)), while intensification is not shown for the other final 
consonants (so "anda" (sit) and not the more accurate "antta").

The answer to the last question was gleaned from a program written by the 
South Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism for converting from Hangul to 
Revised Romanization, and correspondence with the NAKL.  I would have 
considered the latter source more authoritative (a knowledgeable researcher 
as opposed to a conversion program), but correspondence from other reliable 
sources led me to conclude that the truth lay somewhere between the two.  
Thus, I had to carefully reread the most relevant clauses in the 2000 
document Kugo^u^i Romaja P'yogibo^p (_Korean Romanization_) regarding the 
representation (or not) of aspirated and intensified consonants, and draw my 
final conclusions therefrom.

Stefan Ewing

>From: "Roland Wilson" <roland_wilson at hotmail.com>
>Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>Subject: [KS] Reply about Romanization for Stefan Ewing and everyone else
>Date: Sun, 29 May 2005 17:44:05 +0000
>Hello.  I can see you have done a lot of work concerning the romanization 
>of Korean which in any form is very difficult to do as not all sounds can 
>be correctly represented.  That is one reason the linguistic community 
>started using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as it has the 
>sounds and diacritic markers to properly display almost any language.
>I did not see the comparison with South Korean's latest Romanization change 
>that is listed on their education/tourist website though I may have 
>overlooked it.
>As a linguists myself, to give students a better understanding of a 
>character, I would always write a hard to pronounce character in IPA.  The 
>IPA site as a sound portion where one can "click and learn" which could 
>help you improve your paper.
>I think in the end, we should do away with all non-standard forms and use 
>the South Korean government form even though I do not agree with some of 
>the changes.
>Roland Wilson

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