[KS] two formal questions - Japanese/Korean

Knoob, Stefan stefan.knoob at asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de
Wed Apr 16 06:59:21 EDT 2014

Dear Frank, 

As you are so unfortunately mixing up questions regarding Japanese and Korean practices, and all in one breath, one is indeed tempted to blow your warnings in the wind and embark on a long discourse about assertion of cultural difference and (perceived or real) vestiges of colonial domination. One could even go further in a personal direction: Why would anyone be surprised that things are different in both languages?

Anyway, I shall resist temptation and try to give you a short answer, Korean first:
띄어쓰기 (i.e. orthographic segmentation, including of word boundaries) is one of the main underlying principles of Hangul orthography since the first systematisation in the early 20th century. This is what the 1988한글 맞춤법 regulation has to say 
제2항: 문장의 각 단어는 띄어 씀을 원칙으로 한다.   제41항: 조사는 그 앞말에 붙여 쓴다.

I am not sure what kind of regulation has existed before, but obviously the application of paragraph 2 to compounds depends on what you consider to be a word in any kind of compound. I.e. do you think that 중앙은행 is one word or two words? Where, however, the particle 의 intervenes (as in your example 漢字의研究, following the rules clearly means segmentation. 

It is my general impression that publishers have moved towards a strict interpretation of the segmentation rule over the past two decades, for whatever reason. Hence nobody writes漢字의研究 together anymore and many write 중앙 은행 as well. As an aside, while writing groups such as 漢字의研究 together was not too unusual in mixed script, Hangul groups such as 한자의연구 have not been written together for a long time, if ever!

Japanese has just been answered by Mark Morris, but here a slightly longer answer:
Japanese orthographic custom is not to leave any gaps at all within a sentence and there is probably some regulation to this effect in force. 띄어씌기 style segmentation was considered by some thinkers at some point after the Pacific war, but never caught on. The only cases I know of where this rule is not adhered to is in Japanese language textbooks for Beginners and some books for young children. As an aside, I believe the simple reason why segmentation never caught on is that the mixing of Hanja and Katakana for nouns (and Hanja for many verb stems) and Hiragana for particles and verb endings represents us with a natural form of segmentation that allows for equally fast cross-reading.  

No gaps between Surname and Given Name, or between words in the title, simply follows from the fact that NOTHING is segmented with gaps in Japanese (apart from the clear space they use after commas and full stops). 

Stefan Knoob

Stefan Knoob
Lecturer for Korean and Korean Studies, Frankfurt and Heidelberg Universities

-----Original Message-----
From: Koreanstudies [mailto:koreanstudies-bounces at koreanstudies.com] On Behalf Of Frank Hoffmann
Sent: 15 April 2014 20:23
To: koreanstudies at koreanstudies.com
Subject: [KS] two formal questions - Japanese/Korean

Dear All:

These are two very minor small questions, and I hesitated posting it. 
But then, where else to ask?

Is there any rule among Japanologists (in the U.S., that is, in Europe all are anarchists anyway), for the word (name) division of Japanese names in Kanji?
  Hidemichi Tanaka 田中英道
  Murai Osamu 村井紀
  Hidemichi Tanaka 田中 英道
  Murai Osamu 村井 紀
I see both variations. Always wondered about that, never asked. 

A similar formal question, this time for both Japanese and Korean:
In titles of articles or books, when I have something like this ...
 (J)  Kanji no kenkyū_ 漢字の研究
 (K)  Hanjaŭi yŏn'gu (or: Hanja ŭi yŏn'gu) 漢字의研究
... I see that more and more Korean publishers do insert a space there (
漢字의 研究) while Japanese still do not. My question (again, this is about the rendering of the original script, not the transcription): do we ignore however this appears in books or magazines and just insert a space in any case, and is this done the same way for Japanese and Korean (this is what I did so far), or are there any rules for this. 
Are there any such "spacing rules" for Korean and for Japanese in Japan and South Korea?

As I warned -- these are just minor questions. Nothing exciting.


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