[KS] Korean War (other terms)

Peter Schroepfer schroepfer at gmail.com
Tue Nov 22 02:34:31 EST 2005

"Choguk" and "moguk" both seem to be terms translated into the
hanja-using languages from Western ones anyway, do they not? Can
anyone cite an instance in pre-modern CJK where one finds grandfather
"cho" and mother "mo" in front of country "guk"? I can't think of any
and feel confident there wouldn't be, but please educate otherwise if
not the case.

Some highly biased observations based in nothing but personal experience:

"Moguk" seems to be used mostly in discussion of language ("mogugO,"
mother tongue, also obviously a translated term) and "visits" by
kyop'os, tongp'os, and adoptees, as in "moguk pangmun." When used in a
way one might associate with patriotism, it seems to be used mostly to
express warm, positive, ethnic feelings of a nostalgic nature, like
one might understandably experience during a "moguk pangmun."

"Choguk," on the other hand, seems to be used in a more nationalistic
context. I'm guessing one will hear it more than "moguk" in talk by or
about national heroes, as in something "done" or "sacrificed" "for the
choguk." The cloning whiz "doctor chopsticks" Hwang Woo Suk and Robert
Kim both use the term "choguk" when explaining their accomplishments. 
Also, I'm quite sure I've always heard the term far more from
activists who were more, shall I say "understanding," of the North
than those who were of more orthodox (and thus internationalist)
socialist leanings. I think someone reveals a lot when s/he chooses
the expression "choguk t'ongil" over "nambuk t'ongil." (Please don't
think I mean to say anyone who says "nambuk t'ongil" is a socialist.)

Overall it seems to me that "choguk" is used less and less as time
goes on. I only lived through part of the sixties and the 20th century
isn't my area specialty so perhaps someone will set me straight on
that, too. But still, I'd like to think that's the case and that it
that reflects a less masculinized view of the nation (minjok, state,
or otherwise).

So much out there to study yet so little time.


Peter Schroepfer.

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list