[KS] Variable Romanization of 년(年) in McCune-Reischauer

Werner Sasse werner_sasse at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 25 14:09:48 EST 2014


Hey, great, thank you Clark: dialect variants?
and, of course, the 외 after consonants is pretty close to the German / ö/ . ==> PRETTY CLOSE....
Best, Werner

> Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 10:35:25 -0800
> From: sangok at u.washington.edu
> To: koreanstudies at koreanstudies.com
> Subject: Re: [KS]	Variable Romanization of 년(年) in McCune-Reischauer
> 
> When I lived in rural Kangwŏn-do in the mid 1970s, the residents of the village in which I lived habitually pronounced 외 as ö--thus 외국 사람 became ö:guk saram and 교회 even sometimes became köhö. I don't remember hearing those pronunciations in Seoul at the time, except possibly in the Ch'ŏngnyangni area where lots of Kangwŏn-do people lived.
> 
> Clark Sorensen
> 
> On Tue, 25 Feb 2014, Samuel Robert Ramsey wrote:
> 
> > You're certainly right that we don't hear 외 pronounced as [ö], or 위 as [ü], very often today, at least not in Seoul. But in the past the vowels were certainly described as having those phonetic values, just as Martin says.  The ROK government document 표준바름범 'Standard Pronunciation' published in 1989 informs us that the umlaut pronunciations are standard, which means that the authors of the document must have been taking the speech of older Seoul natives (think of Lee Sung Nyong) as the model.  Cf. Lee and Ramsey, "The Korean Language" (2000), page 64.
> >
> > Best,
> > Bob Ramsey
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Koreanstudies [mailto:koreanstudies-bounces at koreanstudies.com] On Behalf Of Otfried Cheong
> > Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 1:57 AM
> > To: Korean Studies Discussion List
> > Subject: Re: [KS] Variable Romanization of 년(年) in McCune-Reischauer
> >
> >
> >
> > On 24/02/14 13:38, Werner Sasse wrote:
> >> Right you are. Reminds me of Korean scholars in "Germanistik", who try
> >> to convince me that Korean 외 is identical with German /ö/ : The
> >> linguist's need or wish to make a rule, which sometimes is overriding
> >> simple observation, a not uncommon occupational disease amongst us
> >> scholars (and not only linguists)
> >
> > I have been wondering about this for a long time.  When I first learnt Korean,  I had some tapes that turned out to have been recorded a long time ago, possibly in the 1950's (with example sentences like "This towel costs 23 Won").
> >
> > One of the speakers on those tapes systematically pronounced 외 as /ö/
> > and 위 as /ü/.   If I remember right, the textbook explained that this
> > pronunciation was a valid variant used by some speakers.
> >
> > I have met two (unrelated) senior Professor Choi's, who both told me that their name is properly pronounced /chö/, even though they did not seem to use the /ö/ variant in their own speech.
> >
> > Samuel Martin's "A reference grammar of Korean" (my copy was published in 1992) describes /외/ on page 24 as the front rounded mid vowel, that is /ö/.  However, he says that "in standard Seoul speech 외 is not distinguished from 웨", and "many speakers tend to pronounce 위 as a long monophthong /ü/ rather than the more common diphthong".
> >
> > I personally do not remember meeting a Korean who used the monophthong variants, and when I ask younger Koreans about this, they are completely baffled.  They never heard about this variant, and have no idea why Goethe is spelled 괴테.
> >
> > When I point out to them that adding 이 to 아 and 어 moves the vowel from the back to the front of the mouth, and that the logical generalization would be for 외 and 위 to be fronted 오 and 우's, they agree (with surprise) that Hangul is inconsistent - but they still can't accept the variant as correct Korean, or think of anyone who speaks like that.
> >
> > When did this variant fall out of usage?  Or has it always been a regional variant?  Is it still alive somewhere?
> >
> > Best wishes,
> >  Otfried Cheong
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
 		 	   		  
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