[KS] Fwd: Re: Exporting Hanguel Writing System

Eugene Y. Park epa at sas.upenn.edu
Mon Aug 10 02:03:29 EDT 2009

Dear all,

I can't agree more with Walter's observation. This thread reminds me of how in
the medieval period, the Turkic Khazars adopted Judaism after weighing all its
pros and cons, along with Christianity and Islam's. As Gari and others have
rightfully pointed out, Han'geul just is not suitable for many of the languages
in the world, but I also agree with Stephen and Robert's observations that
almost no writing system can represent every possible sound of all languages in
the world--unless some flexibility is allowed for the sound value of each

Remaining open to the charge that the motivating force on the part of the Korean
promoters is nationalism, personally I'm more interested to learn about what the
Jiajia (spelling?) people themselves have been considering -- in the same way
the manner in which the Khazars adopted Judaism remains
proverbial in world history.


Eugene (Gene) Y. Park
Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History
Department of History
University of Pennsylvania
E-mail: epa at sas.upenn.edu

Quoting Walter Lew <wlew at mail.as.miami.edu>:

> And yet history provides important examples of this "strange idea."
> Sometimes it was not limited to the idea of adopting the writing
> system of a "culturally subordinate" country, but even its entire
> language. Notions of an international cultural hierarchy are,
> furthermore, not particularly stable, and are relative to many other
> dimensions and considerations (that are also temporarily configured).
> Walter K. Lew
> Dept. of English
> University of Miami
> P.O. Box 248145
> Coral Gables, FL 33124
> <wlew at miami.edu>
> On Aug 9, 2009, at 7:47 PM, koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws wrote:
> > Message: 2
> > Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 02:17:15 +0900
> > From: "Jeremy M. Kritt" <jmkritt at gmail.com>
> > Subject: Re: [KS] Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 74, Issue 7
> > To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> > Message-ID:
> >        <15feddb00908091017v34ce76d4qbe2d0138c1b3e410 at mail.gmail.com>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> >
> > [...] Given that language is such a core aspect of a community's
> > identity, it is a
> > rather strange idea to think that a country like China would even
> > remotely
> > consider adopting a writing system developed by a country it
> > considers to be
> > culturally subordinate. While it may have been attempted on a small
> > scale,
> > it was clearly destined to fail from the outset and the premises
> > fueling
> > such a movement seem to be misguided.

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