[KS] p'urakch'i

Dr. Edward D. Rockstein ed4linda at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 18 10:28:14 EDT 2008

FYI, I checked my 50+ year old Smirnitski's Russian-English dictionary and "fraktskia" is merely defined as "faction"  no further denotative or connotative meanings included. All other words with the same root are some relative of "fracture."  Doc Rock

Dr. Edward D. Rockstein 
Senior Language Instructor 
Language Learning Center (LLC) 
Office 410-859-5672  Fax 410-859-5737 
ed4linda at yahoo.com 
      "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.  "  Thomas Jefferson

--- On Tue, 6/17/08, Adam Bohnet <mixoparth at yahoo.ca> wrote:
From: Adam Bohnet <mixoparth at yahoo.ca>
Subject: [KS] p'urakch'i
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 6:54 PM

Thank you for your responses. Since I have already wasted the time of the list,
I should make myself a bit clearer. I was aware of the origin of
"p'urakchi" in Russian (which I do not read), and its
relationship also to similar terms in other European languages for a radical
fraction subverting an organization. I did in fact check it in naver.com and
even terrestrial dictionaries in such languages as I can read. . I say this
only to  justify my unjustifiable self and show that it was not from laziness
alone that I e-mailed the list. (although my dictionary work was one
enthusiastic day about a year ago, perhaps resulting in my poor spelling of the
The definition in naver.com treats p'urakch'i as only secondarily
"spy" but primarily entryist fraction. Actually, the dictionary
definition more or less mirrors that which I found in dictionaries of the
European languages I checked, in which the term is defined exclusively as
entryist fraction. I rather suspect that the Korean dictionary in this case
simply lifted a definition from European dictionaries, as this hardly seems to
reflect contemporary Korean usage, although the Kukhoe P'urakchi sagon
of 1949 was one famous case of entryism (or was represented as such a case by
the Rhee regime). 
In any case, I could not find European languages which allowed for
"agent provocateur" or "police informant." Yet among the
386 crowd and with other Koreans as well, my experience is that "police
informant" or "agent provocateur" are the primary meanings of
the term. I don't think one refers to a student organizing a labour union
in a factory as a p'urakch'i, despite the naver definition, while a
student working with the police to implicate other students in crimes would be
described as a p'urakch'i. It is of course quite reasonable for the
meaning to change in that way. I am just interested that it did, and wonder
if this is an exclusively Korean phenomenon, or if this was more widespread in
European languages.
In any case, sorry to waste your time with a hobby horse of this sort, far
removed from my actual research. Please disregard.

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