Clark W Sorensen
sangok at u.washington.edu
Mon Apr 27 13:10:19 EDT 2009
Dear List Members,
The question of diacritics in the McR system is a red herring. First of all the breve is freely available in any Word program, now. But even ignoring that 'convenience' one can search any American library catalog's Korean holdings fine in McR without diacritics. One can even use McR without diacritics for students, and their pronunciation is better with the new system. Nobody intuitively knows what "eu" means, and since it is a sound that exists in few European languages anyway, non-speakers of Korean (the target audience of a romanization, don't forget) don't pronounce it properly anyway. Little harm for practical purposes is caused by not distinguishing between "u" and "eu".
Clark W. Sorensen
Korea Studies Program
University of Washington
On Sat, 25 Apr 2009, Brother Anthony wrote:
> 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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