[KS] my second comments on the ‘Subject: the Romanization of Korean surnames.’

Sangoak Lee sangoak2 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 9 05:24:22 EDT 2013

*Dear all,*

*Here is the second round of my comments on the 'Subject:  [KS]  A new
proposal on the Romanization of Korean Surnames.'*

*Prof. Rudiger Frank or others may post here result of discussion on
Romanization (esp. on surnames) at the AKSE 2013 conference in Vienna. That
will be of great help to urge the government to FINISH(?)* *the tough
issues such as surnames. *

2 Jul 2013, Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 3: Dr. Edward Rockstein
said "Governments are political entities and, therefore, efforts such as
this government-sponsored transcription system avoid the tough issues such
as names.* [That was exactly the situation in 1999 official committee of
six experts including me.] *Also it leaves us up in the air as to how we
should deal with North Korean usages, for example, in which certain r/l
sounds may be retained and pronounced in initial positions."* [It is
predefined by the upper rule that keeps a position of not allowing
arbitrary initial r/l in ANY Korean.]*

2 Jul 2013,  Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 4: Dr. Stefan Knoob
quoted like "Romanization of family names will be determined separately"
and also said "that there seem to have been some commissions at work on
this around 2009, perhaps they or at least the government never reached a
final consensus?"* [As I addressed in my report before I started there were
at least two proposals in 2001 and 2009 but neither were fully developed to
be chosen. My project in 2011 was the first full-scale research on this
issue. However, the government is still hesitant to further any action.]*

4 Juli 2013, Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 9: Prof. Rudiger Frank
said "a system makes little sense as there simply is no one-size-fits-all
solution. The idea to let individuals make their own choice is thus a smart
idea, as they know best what kind of foreigners they will most likely
encounter in their lifes." *[In practice Korean nationals have to have a
single passport with a single name among the same family to travel in
various countries and by law nobody is allowed to change the romanized name
depending on the destination. As a Humboldt Fellowship recipient, I don't
feel like to incline to Anglophonic monopoly. Yet it is unavoidable trend
in international fashion bearing no relation to my earlier Fulbright
Scholarship.] *

4 Jul 2013, Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 9, From: Prof. Charles

"This proposal allows for the use of popular forms for some surnames (e.g.
Kim, Lee) along with the systematically prescribed forms (e.g. Gim, Yi),---
Is there a place where Yi is systematically prescribed?" *[In my proposal
entitled as "The Romanization of Korean Surnames" published by the Ministry
of Culture, Sports and Tourism* *in 2011, Kim and Lee were recommended
because of their favoring majority by 99.8% out of 21.59% in the whole
population and by 98.4% out of 14.78% respectively. (pp.118-110) Gim is
very minor in terms of favoring rate. Yi is also quite minor but appeared
from the days of 'Dongnipsinmun' (late 19th c.) and adopted in MR in 1939.
(p.60 in my report which is the first reliable data on the history of Yi)
RR never advocates Yi but many people have been misled. What I suggested in
my research is to assign Yi for Yi Chadon (the first Buddhistic martyr in
Korea) or Yi Hayun. This Yi means not 'plum'(Lee) but 'difference.'
Likewise I suggest Lim for 'woods' and Im for 'entrust.' These two pairs
need special treatment since neither of those families like to be mixed up
by their surnames since in Korea "Change your surname!" is the greatest

*, 4 Jul 2013,* *Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 121, Issue 10, From: Brother

The best idea, I think, would be to ignore the differences and use "o" and
"u" for both "eo" and "o" "eu" and "u" sounds but no Korean would accept
that. *[**"Change your surname!" is again related to this pair of surnames:
Seong 'complete' vs. Seung 'inherit.' Not only in surnames but also in own
names nobody likes to be indistinct.]*

. The dogma of "no diacritics" was extended to include "no hyphens or
apostrophes" and the result is the hideous set of unpronounceable names
containing endless strings of consonants: Cheongyeollu, Hyeopgyeongdang,
Geoncheonggung are halls in Gyeongbokgung; even worse are the dreadful new
street names: Bukbuganseondoro, Gangbyeonbukno in Seoul,
Gyeonhwonwanggungro, Jeonjujeonseoro, Seongjeongjungangro in Jeonju.

*{As we can see below there are many other cases of allowing hyphens in RR:*

(2) When there is the possibility of confusion in pronunciation, a hyphen
'-' may be used.

(4) Personal names are written by family name first, followed by a space
and the given name. In principle, syllables in given names are not
separated by hyphen, but the use of a hyphen between syllables is permitted.

(5) Administrative units such as 도, 시, 군, 구, 읍, 면, 리, 동, and 가 are
transcribed respectively as do, si, gun, gu, eup, myeon, ri, dong, and ga,
and are preceded by a hyphen. Assimilated sound changes before and after
the hyphen are not reflected in Romanization. *[ro/no can be added here.
Maybe the reason why* *the result of unpronounceable names containing
endless strings of consonants is because of (6). However, (6) permissive
'may' can also be interpreted as positively with hyphens. So you may also
insert hyphens when necessary.]*

(6) Names of geographic features, cultural properties, and man-made
structures may be written without hyphens.

(8)----When ㅇ has no sound value, it is replaced by a hyphen may also be
used when it is necessary to distinguish between syllables. *[Again hyphens
are used.]*

*In my class of Korean Culture the second generation of overseas Korean
could fluently pronounce all those names containing endless strings of
consonants without knowing them in advance but with only understanding
Korean syllable structure. They are not fluent Korean speakers.}*

*[To be continued]*

2013/7/9 Sangoak Lee <sangoak2 at gmail.com>

> 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...
> http://www.korean.go.kr/09_new/minwon/qna_view.jsp?idx=81112
> *[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
> seventies).*
> * *
> 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.'
> Best,
> 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

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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