[KS] Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 74, Issue 9

Jeremy M. Kritt jmkritt at gmail.com
Sun Aug 9 22:37:37 EDT 2009


I just wanted to clarify a few of my comments in response to what has been
written.

Rob:

I am not confused about Hangul (as in the written expression of spoken
Korean, and yes I know about romanization) and Korean (as in the spoken
form). My usage of 'Korean' in the instance you took issue with was
referring to the written expression of the language which is formally
identified as Hangul. At times, it is difficult to avoid equivocation when
talking about these matters.

Walter:

Yes, I agree. Perceptions of other cultures are dynamic and subject to
change. However, it is very hard for me to imagine China adopting a Korean
writing script on a large scale given their past relationship. Can you
imagine China putting itself in a position where it must acknowledge
indebtedness for such an important aspect of daily life and culture? I
certainly cannot, but I guess anything is possible...

Sincerely,

Jeremy M. Kritt

On Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 10:32 AM, <koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws> wrote:

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> <<------------ KoreanStudies mailing list DIGEST ------------>>
>
>
> Today's Topics:
>
>   1. Re: Exporting Han'g?l -- small correction (Robert Provine)
>   2. Re: Exporting Hanguel Writing System (Walter Lew)
>   3. Re: Exporting Han'g?l -- correction  tothe correction
>      (Robert Provine)
>   4. historical uses of the Korean term YO^BO (Todd Henry)
>   5. Re: Exporting Hangeul Writing System (gkl1 at columbia.edu)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun,  9 Aug 2009 20:17:19 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Robert Provine <provine at umd.edu>
> Subject: Re: [KS] Exporting Han'g?l -- small correction
> To: "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Message-ID: <20090809201719.BNP10910 at po3.mail.umd.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
>
>
> ---- Original message ----
> >Date: Sun, 09 Aug 2009 15:47:33 -0400
> >From: Robert Provine <provine at umd.edu>
> >Subject: Re: [KS] Exporting Han'g?l
> >To: Korean Studies Discussion List <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> >
> >Jeremy Kritt's observations ask for some further consideration.
> >
> >> The only problem with Hulbert's argument is that it is linguistically
> >> incorrect. Hangul falls short of being able to capture the significant
> >> tonal structure of various forms of spoken Chinese. That is probably one
> >> reason why this project failed miserably in China.
> >
> >Every writing system falls short of capturing all languages, though IPO
> does a pretty good
> >job overall.  IPO looks like roman letters with modifications and
> additions.
> >
> >> Hangul was not developed to capture all the sounds that are humanly
> >> possible. Instead, the orthography was designed to meet the needs of a
> >> very specific sociolinguistic situation for a particular spoken
> language.
> >
> >Again, like all other writing systems, apart from hybrid fabrications like
> IPO.
> >
> >> 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.
> >
> >Yet, to take an example, tonal Vietnamese is written with (highly)
> modified roman letters,
> >and it has the advantage that a lot of people around the world can make
> noises that bear
> >at least a passing resemblance to Vietnamese.
> >
> >My main point:  yes, Han'g?l was designed for writing Korean, but, like
> roman letters, it
> >can be modified to become more appropriate for denoting the sounds of
> non-Korean
> >languages.  Indeed, there are historical instances where this was done in
> Korea, the prime
> >example probably being the translator's dictionary _Han Han mun'gam_ ????
> of about
> >1780, in which a much-extended Han'g?l is employed to depict the
> (decidedly foreign)
> >sounds of Manchu and Chinese.  Those interested to look up this work
> should consult the
> >opening section of rubrics that explains the extended Han'g?l.  The _Han
> Han mun'gam_ was
> >in effect a rip-off of a five-language dictionary (Chinese, Manchu,
> Tibetan, Mongolian,
> >and Uighur, but not Korean), _Wuti Qing wenjian_ ?????, published in China
> in
> >something like 1770.
> >
> >In other words, the point is not whether an unmodified writing system is
> suitable for a
> >language different from the language for which the writing system was
> initially designed,
> >since it can be appropriately modified.  The main problem surely lies in
> the political
> >aspects that Jeremy and others have already mentioned.
> >
> >> Of course, my comments are not meant to diminish the accomplishment of
> >> Hangul. Korean people should be proud of their language; however, as was
> >> previously mentioned by a distinguished scholar, at times that pride
> >> leads to rather strange ideas.
> >
> >Let's don't confuse Han'g?l and the Korean language!
> >
> >Cheers,
> >
> >Rob Provine
> >
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 20:28:09 -0400
> From: Walter Lew <wlew at mail.as.miami.edu>
> Subject: Re: [KS] Exporting Hanguel Writing System
> To: "koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Message-ID: <38BE2851-FB77-4306-A53D-978729848ADD at mail.as.miami.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; Format="flowed";
>        DelSp="yes"
>
> 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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> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Sun,  9 Aug 2009 20:30:07 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Robert Provine <provine at umd.edu>
> Subject: Re: [KS] Exporting Han'g?l -- correction  tothe correction
> To: "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Message-ID: <20090809203007.BNP11207 at po3.mail.umd.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> Dear list:
>
> Sorry for previously sending in a message before it was finished; another
> attempt here, with apologies.
>
> When I said, "Indeed, there are historical instances where this was done in
> Korea, the prime example probably being the translator's dictionary _Han Han
> mun'gam_ ???? of about 1780 ...", the romanization of the title, of course,
> should have been _Han Ch'?ng mun'gam_.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Rob Provine
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 18:01:21 -0700
> From: Todd Henry <htodd98 at hotmail.com>
> Subject: [KS] historical uses of the Korean term YO^BO
> To: <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Message-ID: <BLU105-W22468D13B6721E90DBD47FBD060 at phx.gbl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
> Dear all:
>
> I am currently completing an article on colonial racialization with a focus
> on how Japanese settlers and journalists appropriated the native term
> "yo^bo" to derogatorily refer to colonized Koreans, particularly lower class
> laborers.  I am also analyzing Korean critiques to this racialized usage of
> "yo^bo," but am not completely satisfied with the explanations they (the
> Korean critics) give as to the social etymology of this term.
>
> I would, therefore, be interested in any scholarship (or other information)
> that deals with how this term was used during the late Cho^son period and
> into the colonial period.  It would also interest me to hear more about
> post-liberation/colonial uses of "yo^bo" and if they had anything to do with
> the sort of derogatory usages I have been investigating from the colonial
> period.
>
> Thanks in advance for your guidance and help.
>
> Todd A. Henry
>
> Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (2008-9)
> Korea Institute, Harvard University
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> Assistant Professor in Residence
> University of California-San Diego
> Department of History
>
> Humanities and Social Sciences Building Room 3008
> 9500 Gilman Drive
> La Jolla, CA 92093-0104
>
> Phone: (858) 534-1996
> Email: tahenry at ucsd.edu
> Webpage: http://historyweb.ucsd.edu/
> _________________________________________________________________
> Get back to school stuff for them and cashback for you.
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> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Sun, 09 Aug 2009 21:21:37 -0400
> From: gkl1 at columbia.edu
> Subject: Re: [KS] Exporting Hangeul Writing System
> To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> Message-ID: <20090809212137.4sjzsic00wsocg4o at cubmail.cc.columbia.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=ISO-8859-1;     DelSp="Yes";
>        format="flowed"
>
> Sorry, Mr. Yoo, I'm afraid I have to be counted among the cynics. I
> still hope that some on this list who may have links with or
> colleagues in Indonesian Studies might try to find some
> independent Indonesian news source that would give us an Indonesian
> perspective on this business. There is another unknown in that the
> Jia-Jia minority seems to be Islamic-- a situation in which we often
> see cultural difficulties in writing systems alien to Arabic.
>
> Given Frank Hoffman's contribution a few days ago noting that a good
> amount of Korean toxic waste is exported for processing to the area
> where the hangul-using Cia-Cia (romanized as Jjia-Jjia on some Korean
> sites) minority lives, we
> might speculate on Cia-Cia workers laboring in the processing sites
> coming upon labels in Hangul, somehow figuring out the phonetics and
> devising a Hangul application for their language. Now THAT would be a
> tremendous story well
> worth praise and admiration--somewhat like the famous application and
> imitation of roman letters by Chief Sequoiah in developing a writing
> system for Cherokee. And if that is what happened and if the
> adaptation actually worked well, I would be among the first to offer
> praise, suggest that some graduate student might find in it a great
> thesis topic, and join Yoo Kwang On in his enthusiasm. But until I
> hear the story from an independent Jia-Jia or Indonesian source, I
> will hold my breath.
>
>      But Mr. Yoo (his message copied below) is not wrong about one
> thing. There was indeed some interest in Hangul in China in Hulbert's
> day, but it was not in a way that recognized or even understood the
> structure and application of Hangul. In the same year that Hulbert
> published <The Passing of Korea> and the remarks Mr. Yoo
> quotes--1906--a Chinese scholar named Shen Shaohe, a native of Jiaxing
> in Zhejiang, published in Shanghai a booklet on language reform which
> unmistakably demonstrates a link with Hangul, though there is not a
> word in it that suggests any Korean provenance or even an awareness
> that it was a Korean script..
>
>      What Shen did was identify six basic consonantal categories that
> come from a somewhat unorthodox conception of traditional Chinese theory.
> For these categories he used six basic forms, five of which are
> clearly Korean, and four of those are applied to the corresponding
> consonantal categories in Korean. The five letters are a perfect
> squarish kiyOk or ka (ga), applied to the velar initials as in Korean;
> niUn or na, applied to the dental initials in Korean; a bent or
> cursive form of kiyOk (ka or ga), applied perversely to labial stops;
> a circle and partly applied to the laryngals (h and others) as in
> Korean; and a dead ringer for piUp or pa (ba), which is used for
> Chinese dentilabials f and v, and for l- (go figure).
>
>      These five Korean letters are used for the voiceless unaspirated
> consonant in each group. To write the remaining consonants in each
> group, Shen adds strokes to each base form for as many letters as he
> needs for each category.
>
>      But that's the end of any system. The remaining parts of the
> syllable after the initial consonant--the vowel, the final consonant
> if any, and the tone, are engraphed all together as a single graphic
> unit. This is very much the traditional Chinese syllabic analysis. For
> these units, Shen devised combinations of vertical, horizontal, and
> diagonal lines, in no particular order or system. A few of the
> combinations look like other Korean vowel letters, but that's just
> accidental, with no corresponding phonetic link. And some of Shen's
> prescriptions appear to derive from the rather different dialects of
> the lower Yangtze region.
>
>      In Chinese phonological terms all of the above indications
> present a somewhat chaotic array, even if some degree of systematic
> application is apparent. But there are five unmistakable Korean
> letters there, and except for the bent kiyok, they apply in whole or
> in part to the same phonetic categories as directed by King Sejong
> himself. Most interesting is that we see the principle of adding
> strokes to represent differences within the same same consonantal
> category, often and justly trumpeted as one of King Sejong's great
> formulation.
>
>      It's obvious that Mr. Shen had seen or learned something about
> Hangul, whether he understood it or not. Could Mr. Shen be the guy
> Hulbert was talking about?? Shanghai was packed with Western
> missionaries, and Hulbert was well known among them.
>
>      Interestingly enough, Shen's 10 double-page (20 pages western
> style) pamphlet was reprinted in Peking in 1957 as reference material
> for people involved in the project to simplify Chinese characters and
> look at romanization, cyrillic, and other options for an aphabetic
> script. That's when I picked up a copy of Shen's booklet in New York.
> For a Korea scholar who got his degrees in Chinese, it was truly a
> great souvenir item!
>
>      Of course Jeremy Kritt (copied below) is completely right that Hangul
> is quite ill-equipped to deal with Chinese phonology. The Koreans did
> a lot of linguistic research on Chinese in the 15th and 16th century,
> but you have to know Chinese and understand the theoretical structure
> in traditional Chinese terms to pronounce the Hangul equivalents
> correctly. Hangul itself is not at all "objective" in this sense.
>
>      It is difficult and awkward to write other languages in Hangul,
> as Dr. Kontsievich has noted. The biggest limitation Hangul presents
> is the necessity to write in syllabic units. There was once a movement
> to write the Korean letters side by side as with most alphabets in the
> world. But this movement was dictated by the perceived impossibility
> of writing syllabic units with a Western-style typewriter. Well,
> people came along and engineered a typewriter that could write Hangul
> syllables, which took some wind out of that movement. But since the
> computer, we haven't seen hide nor hair of it.
>
>      If the Jia-Jia language fits Hangul, fine. I just would need to
> know more about the language and the circumstances in which it was
> adopted by the Jia-Jia.
>
> Quoting Kwang On Yoo <lovehankook at gmail.com>:
>
> > To All,
> >
> > The Indonesian story has excited many scholars but there were some
> cynicism
> > too.
> >  But the idea of exporting Korean writing system is not new at all.
> >
> > Well over 100 years ago, even before the word Hangul was coined, non
> other
> > than
> > Homer B. Hulburt* wrote:
> >
> > p34 "There are a great many foreigners in China who are trying to evolve
> a
> > phonetic system
> > of writing for that country."
> >
> > p35  " - - - the present writer has urged that the Chinese people be
> invited
> > to adopt
> > the Korean alphabet, which is as simple in structure as any, and capable
> of
> > the widest phonetic adaptation."
> > "- - - and the only work to be done in introducing it is to overcome the
> > sentimental prejudice
> > of the Chinese in favour of the ideograph."
> >
> > *The Passing of Korea, 1906
> >
> > Kwang-On Yoo
> >
>
> Quoting "Jeremy M. Kritt" <jmkritt at gmail.com>:
>
> > Hello everyone!
> >
> > The only problem with Hulbert's argument is that it is linguistically
> > incorrect. Hangul falls short of being able to capture the significant
> tonal
> > structure of various forms of spoken Chinese. That is probably one reason
> > why this project failed miserably in China.
> >
> > Hangul was not developed to capture all the sounds that are humanly
> > possible. Instead, the orthography was designed to meet the needs of a
> very
> > specific sociolinguistic situation for a particular spoken language.
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Of course, my comments are not meant to diminish the accomplishment of
> > Hangul. Korean people should be proud of their language; however, as was
> > previously mentioned by a distinguished scholar, at times that pride
> leads
> > to rather strange ideas.
> >
> > One observation from the Hulburt quotes in the previous post that I find
> > interesting is the following. While the adoption of Hangul was
> > representative of a linguistic shift initiated by a language policy
> > formulated by some Koreans (pushed from within), the attempt to change
> > written Chinese to Hangul in China was from foreigners (pulled from the
> > outside). That seems like a big difference to me.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > Jeremy M. Kritt
> >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> End of Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 74, Issue 9
> ********************************************
>
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