[KS] Hangul to hanja conversion online and the fate of cherry trees Nipponica: Apropos A Nasty Idea?

Kye C Kim kc.kim2 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 3 03:05:58 EDT 2012


*Apropos  "Nasty idea:.. streamlining the language ... erase traditional
thinking...cutting access to traditional texts"*
...
[Another nasty idea: the N wanted to train the minds of the people to be in
conformity with official ideology by streamlining the language ( later 문화어
) - would not some people in the S also find it convenient to forcably
erase traditional thinking by cutting access to traditional texts? - o.k.,
sometimes my brain comes up with horrible ideas...]

Dear Professor Sasse,

Thank you for your post.  Your last few paragraphs of musing seemed to
accurately reflect the history of language policies in N and S Korea.  With
the particulars of Hanja/Hanzi, I believe Prof. Ledyards insightful comment
on the earlier "Status of hanja education in Korea" thread, a decade ago,
seems to serve as an accurate assessment, to wit "Hangul Only" is a fact of
life in modern Korea.  This is well reflected in the media's and the
public's lukewarm or *Not-Interested* response to the
Marvelous-Hangul-Hanja converter news I mentioned.  With "Hangul Only"
having been the "official policy" for almost a half century, perhaps
anything else would have been a surprise. I recall below Prof. Ledyard's
comment.

*    I think it was totally obvious by the middle of the 1980s that Chinese
characters were not to be a part of Korea's cultural future. When one
considers Korea's vibrant modern literate life as reflected in both
traditional publishing and on the internet --virtually all of it in
hankul-only text-- the news that some former ministers of education are urging
more teaching of Chinese characters in the schools seems to be a vain and
fatuous exercise indeed.  If the modern day culture has rejected Chinese
characters and gets along very nicely without them, who is going to use the
characters they want taught?  I write this with some sorrow, because I have
always been an admirer of Korea's hanmun culture, and I
believe that the cultural cost --in terms of understanding Korean history,
literature, and values-- has already been and will continue to be great.
But modern day Korean society thinks otherwise, and it will determine the
future, not the former MOEs.*

That being as it is for "kanji/hanzi," I was curious to see if your last
paragraph, "A Nasty Idea," is possibly reflected in the Korean academia and
the public press.  Interestingly, there is not a single study or scholarly
article exploring the issue of "language, control/repression, thought,
freedom, Korean(National) language."  My search of Korean Studies database,
Library of National Assembly, and the useful Riss scholarly database came
up empty.  The public press side was slightly different.

I did a search in the news section of Nate.com, choosing to skip Naver.com
and Daum.net as their coverage reflect their partisan role in Korean
politics.  After trying out various keywords, I narrowed the search
parameters to the following words: 언어 통제/억제 사고 한국어/국어, (言語 統制/抑制 思考 韓國語/國語) and
optionally 한자.

There were altogether 58 articles over the last ten years that were caught
by the news search.

Of these 58 articles, only 4 or 5 actually describe the 언어 통제 사고 국어 that
you are describing.  2 or 3 articles are about 고종석 who is a critic and a
linguist, trained in France(as per P. Harbsmeier's Biodiversity article,
Mr. 고종석 is famous for declaring "We are all Greek!,".echoing Prof.
Harbsmeier's comment about Hellenized nature of Latin tradition)  One of
these articles tangentially touches of hanzi/kanji by poking fun at NK for
loudly claiming to be actively pursing the purification aim(구두선) while
hypocritically continuing to use all the Japan-speak they rail so
"volumnously" against.  Of course, same criticism could be laid to S
Korea.  Another is about the most current head of 국립국어원, a US trained
historical linguist, describing his assessment that Korean is in danger of
extinction and how National Language Institute(국립국어원) has been waging a
crusade against 외래어(foreign words) and 한자(Kanji/hanzi).  True to the
rhetoric, this is precisely the campaign he and the National Language
Institute have successfully waged.

*As to "Nasty idea:.. streamlining the language ... erase traditional
thinking...cutting access to traditional texts," we actually have an
exact-match.  Oddly, it has nothing to do with Kanji/Hanzi but everything
to do with English.

*This very recent article, on Hankyoreh, fully satisfies all the "Nasty
idea" conditions you enumerated. The article is by 황현산, former professor of
French literature at Korea University, and well known critic.  He invokes
Orwell, naturally, and you should find it interesting that he echoes all of
your hypothetical evils.  Here is the article

[삶의창] 영어강의와 *언어통제* / 황현산 <http://news.nate.com/view/20120504n25584>한겨레 칼럼 *|
* 2012.05.04 19:25 ... 목적은 그 체계에 걸맞은 세계관과 *사고* 습성을 표현하고, 그 국가 이념 ... 이렇게 *언어
*가 *통제*되고 사상이 *통제*된다. 남의 일 같지 않다. 인터넷에 ... 강의가 *한국어*에서 벗어나니 외국 학생들을 불러오기도
좋을 ...In any case, your instinct does you service.

Regards,

Joobai Lee


Searching the news for "언어 통제 사고 한국어," we had 44 results:

http://search.nate.com/search/all.html?z=A&s=&tq=&sg=&nq=&sc=&afc=&thr=sbus&q=%BE%F0%BE%EE+%C5%EB%C1%A6+%BB%E7%B0%ED+%C7%D1%B1%B9%BE%EE&asn=000000540&csn=0&ml=1&sof=1

Under the following search "언어 통제 국어 한자," we have 14 results:

http://search.nate.com/search/all.html?z=A&s=&tq=&sg=&nq=&sc=&afc=&thr=sbus&q=%BE%F0%BE%EE+%C5%EB%C1%A6+%B1%B9%BE%EE+%C7%D1%C0%DA&asn=000000540&csn=0&ml=1&sof=1




On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 9:54 PM, Werner Sasse <werner_sasse at hotmail.com>wrote:

>  Dear colleague,
> thanks for patting me on the back...
>
> A few remarks:
> 1. The link * GLOBALISATION AND CONCEPTUAL BIODIVERSITY *made wonderful
> reading, thanks. Much to think about, thank you, especially if you made the
> decision to live and work in Korea like I did...!
>
> 2. > "최남선(崔南善)'s statement that "'나막신'은 '나무신'이 와전된 것"(Namaksin is
> NamooSin distorted) may have to be inverted/upturned to "나무신은 나막신이 와전/진화된
> 것'(NamooSin is NamakSin distorted/evolved)?"
> Yes, and I wonder why Choe Namseon of all people ever came up with that
> idea.
>
> 3.>"Justas an aside, I don't recall ever seeing 나막신(NamakSin) or Koreans
> portrayed as wearing wooden clogs in any modern portrayal of pre-modern
> Korea, across movies, illustrations, or historical dramas(straw and leather
> shoes yes, but no clogs). I wonder if Namaksin did not suffer the same fate
> as the post-WWII cherry trees which were hacked, chopped, and burned down
> to ashes immediately following liberation from Japan because of their
> association with Japan(Cherry tree=Japanese), despite having been very much
> a Korean favorite by tradition all through its history. This account is
> provided in Prof Ramsey's *The Korean Language(2000)*. I guess I am
> thinking of the way Japanese are always portrayed as wearing Geta(Clog
> Nipponica), whether in thongs or kimonos."
>
> Interesting observation (and new to me who does not like to go to cinemas
> or look TV) When I read this, immediatly the fact came to my mind that most
> Japanese building have been erased, too. Plus , I stopped eating 야끼만두 and
> nowadays eat 군만두 sometimes...
>
> 3. > "One wonders if same fate did not fell the Kanji in Korea, by
> association with the first introduced general public education under
> Imperial Japan."
>
> Well, I think it rather had to do with the fact that N-Kor had done this
> and S-Kor language policy wanted to keep N- and S-Korean from drifting too
> far apart. Vague memory, but was this not one of the arguments?
> Also, the N-Kor language policy followed Hangeul-hakhoe policy (look at
> who was in charge of the implementation in the academy and the university),
> and there was also a sizable part in the S's linguistic community, where
> these ideas were favoured.
> [Another nasty idea: the N wanted to train the minds of the people to be
> in conformity with official ideology by streamlining the language ( later
> 문화어 ) - would not some people in the S also find it convenient to forcably
> erase traditional thinking by cutting access to traditional texts? - o.k.,
> sometimes my brain comes up with horrible ideas...]
>
> Best,
> Werner Sasse
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
> Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2012 20:23:00 +0900
> From: kc.kim2 at gmail.com
> To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> CC: werner_sasse at hotmail.com
> Subject: [KS] Hangul to hanja conversion online and the fate of cherry
> trees Nipponica
>
>
> Dear Professor Sasse,
>
> I would be happy to trade your sketchy( and impressive) memory any day for
> my regrettable slip-of-the-finger which created  the non-existent Prof.
> Harbmeir and left the real Prof.C. Harbsmeier and his famous
> Coca-colanization presentation before the *Union Académique
> Internationale in a limbo,** *(Link here : GLOBALISATION AND CONCEPTUAL *
> BIODIVERSITY*<http://www.hf.uio.no/ikos/english/research/projects/tls/publications/Globalisation.pdf>
> .)
>
> Thank you for your interesting post.  Your 木曰南記 citation seemed to be a
> case of "*the exception proving the rule,*"  with the proposition ,
> regardless of Heavenly bidding, that  "ANY Korean word would be writable
> with Chinese characters."
>
> Interestingly, *"the exception proves the rule"* stands in the exactly
> the same relationship to the Latin *"exceptio probat regulam in casibus
> non exceptis"* as Prof Harbsmeier's modern EA languages' relationship to
> modern English.  Placed against the German *"Ausnahmen bestätigen die
> Regel"* or the French* "L'exception confirme la règle,"* the English
> version seems oddly less immediately sensible.*
>
> *In light of your post, I guess 최남선(崔南善)'s statement that "'나막신'은 '나무신'이
> 와전된 것"(Namaksin is NamooSin distorted) may have to be inverted/upturned to
> "나무신은 나막신이 와전/진화된 것'(NamooSin is NamakSin distorted/evolved)?
>
> Just as an aside, I don't recall ever seeing 나막신(NamakSin) or Koreans
> portrayed as wearing wooden clogs in any modern portrayal of pre-modern
> Korea, across movies, illustrations, or historical dramas(straw and leather
> shoes yes, but no clogs).  I wonder if Namaksin did not suffer the same
> fate as the post-WWII cherry trees which  were hacked, chopped, and burned
> down to ashes immediately following liberation from Japan because of their
> association with Japan(Cherry tree=Japanese), despite having been very much
> a Korean favorite by tradition all through its history.  This account is
> provided in Prof Ramsey's *The Korean Language(2000)*.  I guess I am
> thinking of the way Japanese are always portrayed as wearing Geta(Clog
> Nipponica), whether in thongs or kimonos.
>
> One wonders if same fate did not fell the Kanji in Korea, by association
> with the first introduced general public education under Imperial Japan.
>
>
> Regards,
>
> Joobai Lee
>
> 6/1/2012
>
> On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 2:14 PM, Werner Sasse <werner_sasse at hotmail.com>wrote:
>
>  Response to the following (sorry to be so late, I was travelling...),
> and sorry to be a little sketchy, but I am writing from memory...
>
>
> >Prof. Harbmeier recently noted that most recently modernized languages
> despite sounding "native," are actually mirroring English concepts and
> >rhetoric, under the guise of native sound. "나막신" appears to be just such
> an instance, only Chinese replacing English. It is puzzling that 나막 is
> >used instead of 나무 to calque "tree" 신 as "wear"?  "
>
> ==> 나막 is a fossilized form of an old Korean word. The development was 나막
> > 남ㄱ (남기, 남ㄱaㄹ, 남ㄱaㅣ [a = arae-a]) . 나모 is the Middle Korean form without
> suffix and before -와. ModKor 나무 comes from the latter...
> 鷄林類事 has 木曰南記
> dial. also 남구, 남게, 낭게, 낭기, 냉기...
>
> ==> 신 is Middle and Mod Korean for "shoe"
>
> No Chinese involved here
>
> Best wishes
> Werner Sasse
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
> Date: Mon, 28 May 2012 19:02:55 +0900
> From: kc.kim2 at gmail.com
>
> To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> Subject: Re: [KS] hangul to hanja conversion online
>
> Yes indeed! Heaven forbid, that "ANY Korean word would be writable with
> Chinese characters."
>
> There was a news item last year describing a wondrous program capable of
> making this automatic conversion from hangul to hanja.  Not surprisingly,
> Korean media's and the public's response can best be described as "so
> what," and "means nothing to me" and "does nothing for me."  All quite
> true!  While 92% may sound good, if you imagine that 8% of your text is
> gobbledy-gook, you really can not avoid ending up with gobbledy-gook.  Not
> surprising and quite necessary.  But looked at from another perspective,
> that is from the view of Chinese or Japanese students, wives, husbands,
> children, etc (the only two hanzi countries remaining), who must wrestle
> with Korean text, it could be a heaven-sent.  While the hanja to hangul is
> easy as cake, hangul to hanja is not a trivial problem and still looking
> for a solution.  It is also not so unimportant a problem as every
> translation software's accuracy is just as equally determined by the
> performance of hangul to hanja conversion.  Every time you look at the
> translate.google or any translator and wonder why the output is
> gobbledy-gook, this is always a large part of it.
>
> Prof. Harbmeier recently noted that most recently modernized languages
> despite sounding "native," are actually mirroring English concepts and
> rhetoric, under the guise of native sound.  "나막신" appears to be just such
> an instance, only Chinese replacing English. It is puzzling that 나막 is used
> instead of 나무 to calque "tree" 신 as "wear"?  Yoo Kwang-on shows prescience
> with his recent post about 지렁이 which he glossed as 地龍'이.
>
> Altaic question?  Just how many words are we talking about here?  What
> percentage of modern Korean?
>
> On Sun, May 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM, <gkl1 at columbia.edu> wrote:
>
> Hi List,
>
> Admittedly a huge number of Chinese words and compounds have become part
> of Korean's vocabulary, just as a huge number of Greek and and Latin words
> have become a part of the vocabulary of English (and the other European
> languages too). But it's distressing to learn that people might think ANY
> Korean word would be writable with Chinese characters. If that were so,
> then Korean would be a language in the Sino-Tibetan family. It's hard
> enough to get scholarly agreement on what language family CAN claim
> Korean's ancestry, but any linguistic reference work would make it clear
> that it's not a Chinese-type language.
>
> Gari Ledyard
>
>
> Quoting Clark W Sorensen <sangok at u.washington.edu>:
>
>  Caren,
>
> Namaksin is a native Korean word, so it doesn't have corresponding
> Chinese characters. However, any of the on-line dictionaries will give
> the characters for Korean words such as at naver.com. The problem is
> you have to input the Korean in hangul.
>
> Clark Sorensen
>
> On Fri, 25 May 2012, Freeman, Caren (cwf8q) wrote:
>
>
> I’m asking this question on behalf of a colleague who is a sinologist.  He
> asks:
>
>
>
> “i want to see what chinese characters correspond to korean "Namaksin"
>  wooden clogs.  Namaksin (나막신)
>
>
>
> Is there an online dictionary that gives the classic readings for korean
> words entered in pinyin type western alphabet?”
>
>
>
> Many thanks for your recommendations,
>
> Caren Freeman
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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