[KS] QUERY> Opinions on lexicographical/orthographical point

Charles Muller cmuller-lst at jj.em-net.ne.jp
Wed Aug 25 07:20:40 EDT 2010

Dear Koreanists,

Some of you know that I have been editing a pair of online 
dictionaries for East Asian studies for some time now. We've been 
running dictionaries off of the same backend framework and 
functionality for the last ten years, since Michael Beddow[1] first 
created the Perl/XSLT infrastructure to deliver the data through a 
search engine.

After ten years with basically the same infrastructure, I am happy to 
tell you that we are in the midst of a major overhaul of the entire 
system, and that we expect to be able to announce this much improved 
version within a couple of weeks. I will of course make an 
announcement here at that time.

In the process of getting the new search engine to work efficiently 
with Korean, Michael has forced me to go through the Korean 
pronunciations and clean up the inconsistencies and errors as much as 
possible. While the situation is not perfect yet (sometimes my head 
swims in assimilation rules...) it is certainly far better than it 
was a few weeks ago.

One issue has arisen, for which I would appreciate the opinions from 
any members of this learned group who might interested. This is:

For a long time, we were handling the presentation of phonemes 
beginning with _rieul_ ᄅ in a variety of inconsistent ways. For example:


  [ko-hg] 량 (양)

or this:

[ko-hg] 량/양

or else reversed, and also just one or the other. The problem was that 
this was handled in the XML node (I'm simplifying here) as <pron>량/양 
</pron>, etc, which made the node difficult to search.

We have now changed this  to

<pron initial="양">량</pron>

...which the user sees in HTML output as:

  [ko-hg] 량 (initial = 양)

However, it was suggested to me by a colleague that it may in fact be 
better to put the actual pronunciation in the main node, and move the 
orthographic reading to attribute status, thus resulting in:

  [ko-hg] 양 (orth = 량)

Do any learned scholars on the list have an opinion about this?

I think that the major Hanja dictionaries do something closer to the 
first option, but that need not be determinative.





[1] In the process, Michael has become a fanatic about the Korean 
language and culture, having basically taught himself to speak, read, 
and write by downloading soap operas, studying Korean through the 
Internet, and so forth. So much of his energy has been focused on 
getting the Korean aspect of the dictionaries to work well.

A. Charles Muller

Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology
Faculty of Letters
University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

Web Site: Resources for East Asian Language and Thought


More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list