[KS] Romanisation

Walraven, B.C.A. B.C.A.Walraven at hum.leidenuniv.nl
Sat Apr 25 19:16:57 EDT 2009

The use of diacritics in McC-R. has been given as the major argument for
switching to the current official system, because the diacritics were
judged unsuitable to the digital age. Note that English is about the
only European language that does without diacritics and that none of the
countries that use diacritics has even considered giving them up for
this reason, and still no great harm seems to have befallen them.

Brother Anthony is right that every system is up to a point a matter of
convention, but the new system is remarkably unsystematic because of the
many compromises that were made in its development. And most people
don't fully know how to apply it.

Boudewijn Walraven

-----Original Message-----
From: koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws
[mailto:koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws] On Behalf Of Brother Anthony
Sent: zaterdag 25 april 2009 15:39
To: Korean Studies Discussion List
Subject: [KS] Romanisation

Romanization rears its head again! Like Werner, I have no problems with
the current official Korean system, since no matter what you do, the
result is a set of conventions, the exact pronunciation of which will
have to be learned (e.g. 'u' tastes different in French and German and
English) and that includes 'eo' (which I deplore but cannot find a
convincing substitute for). It seems clear to me that nobody will ever
get the 'ordinary Korean' to use letters with diacritics, it goes too
deeply against the grain. But since no ordinary Korean is ever taught to
use the official system, it is not surprising that there are as many
variants as before.

Just to warn against a false sense of security, I should report that I
was phoned some weeks back by an official saying that the Government was
aware of widespread dissatisfaction with the current system and asking
would I be prepared to attend a consultation on a possible reform? I
said yes, so have heard nothing more but we all know that in Korea,
Nothing is Ever Settled Once and for All.

Brother Anthony
Sogang University, Seoul

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