[KS] Romanisation

Charles Muller cmuller-lst at jj.em-net.ne.jp
Sat Apr 25 00:16:44 EDT 2009

Werner Sasse wrote:

 > Sorry, to raise the question of romanisation again...
 > [...]
 > However, I have started to stop using McR, and now would advocate
 > we follow the current system. The only reason is that it actually
 > seems to become the standard through continuous use, no matter
 > how ridiculous it makes Korean look like.

I also hesitated to rejoin this fray, for obvious reasons, but would
like to thank Werner for putting some weight behind the matter of
_practicality_, which has been the main force behind my own usage of the 
new system, going back as far as two years before its official release.

My own decision to adopt the Revised Romanization system had to do 
mainly with the fact that I was trying to develop web resources for 
Korean and East Asian studies, and the decision between doing this with 
a breve-less system that would become a national standard (both 
culturally and technically), or adhering to M-R (which would clearly be 
out of the picture in terms of Korea-generated resources), was a 
no-brainer. After adopting RR for my developing my web resources, it 
just didn't make any sense to use a different system for the rest of my 

Now, more than a decade later, web resources are the first step taken in
the process of research by the vast majority of younger scholars, as
well as many middle-age and older colleagues. All web resources (and
other forms of computer-based tools, including web translators, most
Wikis, etc.) are built upon the KSC standard which has the RR system
built-in. That means that when you look something up, or have it
translated by machine, in almost every case you are going to have it
presented in the RR system (I have already heard complaints of 
frustration from instructors who try to introduce M-R in their courses, 
while their students see only RR on the web).

So even disparaging remarks by senior scholars that have the apparent
aim of diminishing the view of the value of works published with the new
system will not, I think, be able to stem the tide of change.

Despite my long leanings toward the new system, I have never, publicly
or privately, criticized the work of any colleague based on the fact
that she or he continued to adhere to M-R. So please do allow those of 
us who choose to use the new system to make our own decision (even if it 
is not yet recognized by the LOC), and try to pay attention to the 
content of the work, rather than the romanization system used to render it.




A. Charles Muller

University of Tokyo
Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Faculty of Letters
Center for Evolving Humanities
Akamon kenkyū tō #722
7-3-1 Hongō, Bunkyō-ku
Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

Web Site: Resources for East Asian Language and Thought


Mobile Phone: 090-9310-1787

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