hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Sat Apr 25 10:11:56 EDT 2009
I am not too sure that it will really be
necessary to deprive Werner of his academic title
and to bluntly indicate that he (as a linguist
and a specialist in middle Korean and retired
head of a Korean Studies department) "cannot
possibly have been famiiliar [sic] with the great
inadequacies/inaccuracies of the Wade-Giles"
(Will Pore). But then, if it helps a good cause,
why not go with Lenin.
My own point is: Is there any point to this
discussion now? Has anything changed since 2000?
If so, what?
- Technical / software issues: no change, all
three, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating
systems had already introduced Unicode fonts at
that time that include all the necessary fonts
for transcription of Korean according to
McCune-Reischauer (and Hepburn for Japanese). You
can also see here in our mailing list that some
people use these in postings (if they have a
newer email program). There are very simple
shortcuts to type these characters. On a Mac with
U.S. English keyboard, for example, you type ALT
+ b, then o to get the brève-o -- not sure what
the key combinations are under Windows.
- Quality of both transcription (resp.
transliteration) systems: obviously no changes
since 2000, there were no revisions, or were
- Institutions using either system: obviously
South Korean institutions are not using
McCune-Reischauer anymore. How about outside
Korea? As far as I can see most museums with
Korean collections have long changed to the new
SK government system -- e.g. the British Museum,
the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Berlin
Dahlem East Asian Art Museum, and others. The
reason for this change is most obvious: they all
get funding from South Korea, for exhibitions,
for example. Academia like almost everything else
follows the money, isn't it? The big libraries,
on the other hand, such as the Library of
Congress or Harvard U Library, are still using
McCune-Reischauer. Many leading libraries with
Korean collections now also list Korean books in
Korean script (see e.g. HOLLIS
Are there any librarians on this list? Are there
any plans to either shift to the new government
system OR to have both transcriptions displayed
for each record? (Technically, that should be no
Government institutions? How about these? As far
as I see they have changed to the new system, for
practical reasons. "Kwangju" can't be found on
any new map anymore.
In short, as far as I see the mess is now bigger
than it was around 2000 -- as it could well be
predicted then, but there are no basic changes.
Is the general Korean public really using the new
system? To me it seems most people follow their
nose and not any system. Personal names, for
example, probably the most essential case in
point, show up in all varieties:
And, same question as in 2000: How long will
South Korea use this system? 10 years, 20 years?
I am in good health, I go with McCune-Reischauer.
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