[KS] Would you sell your apartment/flat to promote your Romanization?

sangoak at snu.ac.kr sangoak at snu.ac.kr
Mon Sep 26 10:53:03 EDT 2005

Dear KS list members: 

I said earlier, I have more messages which will help people to understand the 
situation in pre-2000 Rominization. I mentioned a 


that the change would 
have been motivated, even in part, by one man's career ambitions.

Here is another story of personal 
factors at play in the development of the 2000 Romanization.


One of the original 
instigators who gave rise to review of virtual MR system used since 1984 was 
Prof. Kim Bok-mun [or Pongmun]. He claims he sold his apartment to support his 
research and publications on Romanization. His version of Romanization is (more 
or less phonetically-oriented transliteration) based on English spelling: a > 
? > ur, 
o > oh,
u> oo, 
? > uh, 
i > ee, 
e > eh, 
?i > ui, 
k > 
 (initial & intervocalic/final), 

t > 
p > 
ch > j/t, 
k’ > k, 
t’ > t, 
p’ > p, 
ch’ > ch/t,
ss > ts/t,
tch > tj, etc. Thus his name in his 
version is 
Geem Bokmoon
 but he added 
a special provision for his family name to keep 
 while changing many others’ family 
Gahng, Kuk
 but GI slang!), etc. 

He has achieved only 
three changes of k> 
& intervocalic/final), 
t > 

and p > 
Rominization although he instigated it by many petitions to the Blue House and 
Korean Assembly. In this process of fighting he earned about $8,000 by 
impeaching a poor young officer in the National Academy of Korean Language. I 
heard this amount of penalty was sentenced because that young scholar posted a 
false charge on his website just for a couple of days. A wrong accusation 
related to Romanization cost a lot. Can you imagine any other country like this 
 where some 
people (not the whole public, fortunately--we have too many linguists 
considering our size of population) are very keen to linguistic affairs and 
where IT is highly developed? 


the days AKSE was held in last July, I heard some good responses to my earlier 
posting [please see attachment], in particular Dr. Bouchez commented the 
following. “Neither in schools nor in the society, Koreans did not teach and 
study MR system. This was a part of reason to weaken MR system.” D’accord (I 
agree). Many Koreans had regarded MR system was for foreigners whereas they 
believe 2000 Romanization is more accessible to Koreans.



National Univ.

--- Original Message ---
>From    : 
 "sangoak at snu.ac.kr"<sangoak at snu.ac.kr>
To      : 
 "Korean Studies Discussion List"<Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Date    : 
 2005/07/06 수요일 오전 6:18:04
Subject : 
 Re: [KS] The Romanization Discussion


Dear KS list members: 


My apologies for not replying sooner although Professor Ledyard encouraged us 
more talks. Since last June 30, I have traveled from Manchester, through 
Bradford, Leeds, York, Hull, Nottingham and now settled down in Sheffield where 
AKSE is held for this whole week. 

Indeed I have more messages which will help people to understand the 
situation in pre-2000 Rominization. However, the access to computers here is not 
convenient, and it is better to write them after returning back to Seoul in 
early August because my travel will be extended to six more countries in the 
Balkan Peninsula.

Before closing, I am grateful that Professor Ledyard (and others) still 
remember my efforts to encourage the Romanization discussions of 1999 to move in 
desirable directions. I also have to express my gratitude to many foreign Korean 
scholars who have been quite indulgent(?) to the story of personal factors at 
play in the development of the 2000 Romanization. I do not want to cause any 
belated fuss other than better understranding that nationalistic movement was 
not really intended.

Sang-Oak Lee

--- Original Message ---
>From    : 
 "Stefan Ewing"<sa_ewing at hotmail.com>
To      : 
 "Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws"<Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Date    : 
 2005/07/04 月曜日 午前 4:42:09
Subject : 
 Re: [KS] The Romanization Discussion
Dear KS list members:

My apologies for not replying sooner.  We have now successfully moved to our 

new home, all the boxes are unpacked, and I can now once again devote my 

attention to indulgences such as this discussion list.

My sincerest apologies to Dr. Ledyard for any misunderstanding I may have 

caused.  I certainly did not feel in any way personally snubbed by him, and 

did not stop writing on the subject because of him.  Early on in my 

participation here, a sympathetic commenter pointed out off-list that 

romanization is a subject that many participants are understandably tired of 

discussing.  It was right and politic of Dr. Ledyard to throw a nod to such 

participants in one or two of his earlier posts.  His comments gave me an 

"out," and I was referring in my last post to the the sentiments he was 

sensibly respecting, not to his own views on the subject _per se_.

I do thank Messrs./Drs. Lee, Ledyard, Ramsey, King, Driscoll, et al. for 

their fascinating comments.  The anecdotes in particular--regarding the 

history of Yale Romanization; Rhee Syngman's failed attempts at Hangul 

orthographic reform; and the personal factors at play in the development of 

the 2000 Revised Romanization of Korean--have been quite intriguing.  I do 

at least hope that many subscribers who are otherwise uninterested in the 

topic of romanization have enjoyed reading these anecdotes as much as I 


Yours sincerely,

Stefan Ewing

>From: gkl1 at columbia.edu

>Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>

>To: Korean Studies Discussion List <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>

>Subject: Re: [KS] The Romanization Discussion

>Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2005 23:54:06 -0400


>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, ever.

>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


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