[KS] uri

Stephane THEVENET stephane_th at yahoo.fr
Tue Jun 22 08:40:21 EDT 2010

About the uri question, may I recommend you to contact Dr Stephane COURALET in Paris: sotebane at gmail.com. His PhD thesis (EHESS, 2008?, 2009?) deals precisely on it.
Stephane Thevenet, Paris.

--- En date de : Lun 21.6.10, Dr. Edward D. Rockstein <ed4linda at yahoo.com> a écrit :

De: Dr. Edward D. Rockstein <ed4linda at yahoo.com>
Objet: Re: [KS] uri
À: tokita at flc.titech.ac.jp, "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Date: Lundi 21 juin 2010, 18h55

Of course, the usage of koku [a Sino-Japanese loan word] you describe has antecedents in Chinese usages such as  guoyu national language, guoshi national history, guowen national writing system or national literature, ddeung ddeung, nado nado, deng deng. 

Dr. Edward D. Rockstein 

ed4linda at yahoo.com  

”  Politics is the womb in which war develops. ” — Karl von Clausewitz

--- On Mon, 6/21/10, tokita <tokita at flc.titech.ac.jp> wrote:

From: tokita <tokita at flc.titech.ac.jp>
Subject: Re: [KS] uri
To: "Ruediger Frank" <ruediger.frank at univie.ac.at>, "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Date: Monday, June 21, 2010, 9:12 AM

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I know Japanese much better than I know Korean, but clearly the Korean uri has its equivalent in Japanese language and usage. The Japanese equivalent of uri has indeed been very frequent in recent decades as an aspect of Nihonjinron (theories or discourse of Japanese uniqueness), but is probably declining in the younger generation. The Japanese equivalent actually uses archaic forms of the pronoun. Some examples:
Japan is expressed as not only Nihon, but as waga kuni (our country; cf the softer watashitachi no kuni).
The Japanese are not only Nihonjin, but wareware Nihonjin (we Japanese).
My or our house can be wagaya (cf watashitachi no uchi).
Then there is the use of koku (country, nation):
Japanese literature is koku bungaku (recently the use of Nihon bungaku is starting to replace this); Japanese history is kokushi (now changing to Nihonshi); Japanese (national) language is kokugo: what is taught to Japanese in schools is kokugo and what is taught to non-Japanese is Nihongo.
The use of our and national instead of the country name conveys a somewhat closed country, nationalistic mentality, and as Japan is becoming more internationalized this seems to be going out of favour. These are only my impressions, but others may know of research on this linguistic phenomenon.
Alison Tokita
Tokyo Institute of Technology

----- Original Message -----
From: Ruediger Frank <ruediger.frank at univie.ac.at>
To: Korean Studies Discussion List <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Date: 2010-06-21 16:29:59
Subject: Re: [KS] uri

And here comes something even less directly related, yet not completely unrelated: In Russian, there is a similar way of saying "we" when actually meaning "I", for example "me and my mother" would literally be "us with mom" (my s mamoj). In other words, this is not necessarily a purely Korean phenomenon. I guess Russian is not the only example. What about "we won" (wir haben gewonnen) meaning "our team has won" in German (at least)?

on Montag, 21. Juni 2010 at 02:54 you wrote:

Thank you, Ross, for that very interesting piece.
Perhaps this is not directly related, but I witnessed some very interesting aspects of "uri" while raising my daughter in Korea. Not only my daugher but all of her "pure Korean" friends as well naturally used the words "I/my" almost exclusively. I saw and heard all of them say in Korean "my house," my school," "my Mommy/Daddy," etc. Of course, they were quickly corrected/reprimanded by parents and teachers until they capitulated and began to use "we/our" almost exclusively where they had once felt that "I/my" was more natural. In a word, "uri" is not somehow "organic" to Korean-ness or Korean language but rather externally injected and enforced. 

--- On Sun, 6/20/10, Ross King <jrpking at interchange.ubc.ca> wrote:

From: Ross King <jrpking at interchange.ubc.ca>
Subject: Re: [KS] uri
To: "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Date: Sunday, June 20, 2010, 12:34 PM

I discuss this a bit in this chapter: 

2007a. Language and national identity in the Koreas. In: Andrew Simpson (ed.), Language and national identity in Asia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 200-235 (references in back of book):

" Korean as an Embodiment of National Characteristics 
One important genre of the class of popular South Korean works on Korean language is
what might be called the ‘lexical fetish’ category, and within this one finds an
interesting sub-genre a kind of psychoanalytical ‘pop etymology’ that attempts to
read Korean national traits from lexical semantics.
     For example, Ceng Howan (1991) is titled ‘The Imagination of Korean: the Nation’s
Emotions and Consciousness as seen through the Origins of Korean Vocabulary’, and
there are many other works of a similar orientation, linking national characteristics to
aspects of the Korean language. One particular word that attracts constant attention is
the first-person plural pronoun wuli ‘we; our’. This is the first member of the most
common designation for ‘Korean’ in much of this literature: wulimal literally ‘our
language’, and is given special discussion in many essays, bringing to mind Silverstein’s
(2000: 115) reminder that ‘nationalism is an imaginative sense of Bakhtinian ‘‘we-voicing’’
’, serving to distinguish the in-group as nation from outsiders. Though this
general sub-genre is much less in evidence in the North than in the South, the everpresent
first-person plural pronoun interestingly shows up in works produced in
the North, too, for example ‘Wuli ‘‘we’’ the pronoun of love and faith’ (MH 2003
Vol. 2: 213)."

MH = Munhwae haksup, North Korea's popular/populist language planning journal. 

The Silverstein reference is: 

Silverstein, M. (2000), ‘Whorfianism and the Linguistic Imagination of Nationality’, in P.V.
Kroskrity (ed.), Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities (Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press; Oxford: James Currey), 85138.

One can also find various little pseudo-etymological essays in popular South Korean works about language: 

Chen, Soyeng. 1994. Pukkulewun alilang: wulimal eyseyi [Shameful arirang: Essays on 
Korean]. Seoul: Hyenamsa, has an essay on 'the cozy blanket of wuli';

Pak, Kapchen (1974/1982). Ewen swuphil: mal uy kohyang ul chaca [Etymological essays: in 
search of the hometown of language] and Pak, Kapchen (1995). Caymiissnun ewen iyaki [Fun etymologies] both have a little essay on 'wuli'.

Yi, Otek (1995/1996, vol. 3) (a very conservative, ultra-nationalist language ideologue) has this: "5.4. Wuli cip and na uy cip" (which, if I recall correctly, says what you would expect re collectivism vs. individualism).

Si, Cengkon, Ceng Cwuli, Cang Yengcwun and Choy Kyengpong. 2003. Hankwuke ka salacintamyen [What if Korean were to disappear?]. Seoul: Hankyeley Sinmunsa, in Chapter 5, has a section on "Teasing out the meaning of ‘wuli’ in ‘wulimal’". 

Anyway, 'wuli' is a favorite of Korean language ideologues, and there are also fanciful etymologies connecting the pronoun to the Korean word for 'fence' (cf. wulthali).

Imho, wuli is a great example of a 1st-person plural pronoun in a language that does not have the occasionally-found inclusive/exclusive grammatical distinction for "we" (i.e., two different pronouns for "we," where one is "we = including you, my interlocutor," and "we = excluding you, my interlocutor), but nonetheless ends up _functioning_ like an exclusive 1st-person plural pronoun because of Korean ethnonationalism. 


-----Original Message-----

> Date: Sun Jun 20 00:52:16 PDT 2010
> From: "will pore" <willpore at gmail.com>
> Subject: [KS] uri
> To: "Korean Studies Discussion List" <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Dear List:
> For any comparative Asian linguists, Ural Altaic linguists (?), or, maybe even Korean linguists on the list, I would like to inquire if a pronoun similar to the Korean we (i.e. uri) occurs with the same frequency/prominence in any related languages to the same degree that it does in Korean. Should we accept the assertion that I nearly always have had that the prominence of that pronoun in Korean is due to a particular Korean mindset alone? I have never read a discussion of this phenomenon by a Korean language scholar, however. I am not presenting this question merely as a random thought of mine or as a puzzle for the illumination of others on the list, but as part of a larger study. 
> I will greatly appreciate any authoratative replies.
> Regards,
> Will   -- William F. PoreAssociate ProfessorGlobal Studies ProgramPusan National University
Ross King
Professor of Korean and Head,
Department of Asian Studies, 
University of British Columbia, 


Dean, Korean Language Village, 
Concordia Language Villages

Mailing address: 
Ross King, Department of Asian Studies, UBC
Asian Centre, 1871 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

vox: 604-822-2835
fax: 604-822-8937

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