[KS] my comments on the ‘Subject: RR romanization rules and conventions.’

Sangoak Lee sangoak2 at gmail.com
Mon Jul 8 11:54:20 EDT 2013

Dear all,

Here are some of my comments on the 'Subject: Re: [KS] RR romanization
rules and conventions.'

Since Rudiger Frank said this will be a hot topic for discussion at the
upcoming AKSE 2013 conference in Vienna which started on last Saturday, I
cannot delay my response any more. l miss you who have shown great
interests to this issue and participate in Vienna where Schubert might
compose his 'Unfinished' Symphony!

Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 3, Tue, 2 Jul 2013

From: Charles La Shure

-----A question asked in May of this year (2013) on the website of the
National Institute of the Korean Language regarding the romanization of
surnames basically received the answer that people should follow the
original RR rules...


*[Bold parts by Sang-Oak Lee] This answer (Gang, I, Bak according to RR) in
Online ganada by an anonymous irresponsible novice in the National
Institute of the Korean Language was wrong. I have to warn them to answer
all questions by a responsible expert with his/her real name. *

*RR system states "(7) Proper names such as personal names and those of
companies may continue to be written as they have been previously." RR has
NEVER spoken authoritatively on person's names or company names.* (quted
from *Ed Rockstein,*Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 6, *2 juli 2013)*

* *

Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 3, 2 Jul 2013

From: Sophie Bowman

-----Romanization of place names for example should strictly follow the
system, however many institutions that use these places do not, thus we get
Kyungpook National University in Gyeongbuk province.

*[Bold parts by Sang-Oak Lee] This contradiction is caused by RR system in
(7) shown above and "(6) Names of geographic features, cultural properties,
and man-made structures may be written (by RR) without hyphens"
respectively. Also in "(3) The first letter is capitalized in proper names.
E.g. Busan (again by RR). Under the circumstances one should avoid
geographic names in making institutional names to solve this contradiction.
However, old 'brand' names are almost 'untouchable' no matter how wrongly
'Kyungpook' was made from the better form 'Kyungbook.'*

* *

Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 5, Tue, 2 Jul 2013

From: Richard McBride

-----In fact, just looking at my business cards of scholars shows that few
people (if any) follow the RR system as it is explained. People tend to
adopt _eo_ or _eu_ in some cases, but not all.--*vs*.--

My experience has been that for students who do not already know Korean
they do not know what to do with _eo_ and _eu_. Most non-Koreans separate
the vowels when they read a word written in RR

*[Bold parts by Sang-Oak Lee] This trend of disliking RR system in business
cards is a solid base that customary writings like Kim & Lee are saved for
individuals. *

*However, in the above statements it is interesting to see that -eo- or
-eu- is preferred by some Koreans while -eo- and -eu- are shunned by
non-Koreans. This contrast is related to the issue whether the Romanization
is for Koreans or foreigners. I myself have been against -eo- and -eu-but
many Koreans have been gradually accustomed to this awkward vowel sequences
since 2000 (with earlier exposure to these sequences in sixties and

* *

I will come back later with the second part of this discussion after my own
contribution to the 'Subject: [KS] A new proposal on the Romanization
Korean Surnames.'


Sang-Oak Lee

이상억 Sang-Oak Lee/www.sangoak.com
Prof. Emeritus, Dep't of Korean
College of Humanities, Seoul Nat'l Univ.
Seoul 151-745, Korea
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