[KS] Is the word "외국인" an instance of "和製漢語"?

J.Scott Burgeson jsburgeson at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 1 08:41:02 EST 2014

Dear Adam and Frank --
   thank you very much for your comments. I should clarify that I did not mean to suggest that the many terms I mentioned in passing, such as 洋人, 南蛮人 or 코쟁이, mean "foreigner" in the English sense, but were merely given as examples of words that were used in the past to refer to different types of foreigners in Korea, China and Japan. In fact, it is very clearly the case that the word "외국인" itself cannot accurately be translated into English as "foreigner" since it simply means "a non-Korean," which is why Koreans abroad can and do use it meaningfully amongst themselves to refer to locals in whichever country they find themselves. These days the word may officially mean "an individual who does not have South (or North) Korean citizenship" -- there are two Korean "국"s after all -- but in practice there is often an ethnic component or assumption as well (this was stronger in the 20th century, but it still exists, especially among
 older generations.) There are, for example, many fluent speakers of Korean on this List who have lived in Korea for many years, and who may even have naturalized; have any of them been asked if they had Korean citizenship first before being referred to as a "외국인" by Korean strangers in public here? Not often, I'd wager. Clearly the racial connotation is present, for better or worse, and to varying degrees depending on the speaker.
   In any case, the question stands: What is the best Korean-Korean dictionary or book to trace etymologies?

On Sat, 3/1/14, Frank Hoffmann <hoffmann at koreanstudies.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [KS] Is the word "외국인" an instance of "和製漢語"?
 To: "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreanstudies.com>
 Date: Saturday, March 1, 2014, 7:30 AM
 Adding a note to Adam Bohnet's
 (1) It may not be "easy" to do so, exactly because of the
 lack of 
 extensive etymological dictionaries, but Scott, if I read
 your question 
 for once as an essay draft, then the problematic point is
 historiographic accuracy. Of course, what is first, hen or
 egg? You 
 will get to different and more precise questions then better
 and more 
 accurate etymological information you already have and
 reverse. As an 
 example: It seems very essential to draw a distinction
 between (a) the 
 popularity (or lack thereof) of a Sino-Korean term and (b)
 the new 
 introduction of such a term, (c) the invention of a new term
 (this last 
 one not being your topic). Several terms in your list of
 examples seem 
 not to have been introduced by the Japanese to Korea, e.g.
 sijang 市場, 
 but they were certainly popularized during the colonial
 period. Other 
 terms such as misul 美術, where invented during the Meiji
 period and 
 then introduced to both Korea and China in the 1880s. China,
 in fact, 
 adapted quite a number of those late 19th century term
 inventions from 
 Japan, but that seems not exactly a very popular topic in
 China. These 
 are typically the terms that relate to Western technology,
 science, to 
 new political systems and ideologies, bureaucracy,
 Western-style law, 
 but also new "concepts" that restructured and reevaluated
 existing culture, terms hat often provided different new 
 contextualizations. As a result, since with the
 modernization and 
 Westernization process Japan was mostly ahead, many such
 newly invented 
 terms traveled from Japan to Korea and China. Others did
 not, were 
 developed in parallel: 
 airplane ->
 in Japan/Korea: 飛行機 (ひこうき / 비행기) 
 in China:       飛機 (fēijī)
 It is therefore very important to always clarify which
 "group" a term 
 belongs to ... was it a neologism, was it a term that
 existed already 
 but was popularized by the Japanese during the colonial
 period -- *or* 
 earlier? If it was popularized by the Japanese, then why did
 happen? Was it simply a replacement for a purely Korean term
 or was it 
 offering a NEW concept of something already existing, thus
 shifting the 
 meaning of material or ideal culture? I would therefore
 argue that 
 Scott's question would certainly be as much in the territory
 of the 
 cultural and intellectual historian as the linguist's, and
 that the 
 discussion would have to be very "precise" and very
 taking into consideration the exact historical circumstances
 (as Adam 
 Bohnet already demonstrated). In other words, the "summary"
 you give 
 there, Scott, listing all these terms and *translating" them
 all as 
 terms meaning "foreigners" is probably more in the way of
 getting to 
 meaningful answers (and questions) than being helpful.
 (2) Scott wrote:
 >> According to Japanese linguists, the word
 "外國人" was promoted and 
 >> popularized during the Meiji period in contrast to
 the word "内国人" 
 >> (lit., "inside country person" or "내국인" in
 Korean), which was used 
 >> to refer to people of the Japanese Empire,
 including those in Korea 
 >> and Taiwan.
 The Meiji period lasted until 1912. Taiwan became a colony
 in 1995, 
 Korea became one in 1910. I would find it unlikely that the
 mould" of the term 外國人, which is 内国人, would have
 included "to 
 refer to people of the Japanese Empire" to include Taiwanese
 Koreans, as 外國人 was used in Japan before the
 territorial expansion 
 of Japan. I think you really talk about the post-Meiji
 period here.
 On Sat, 01 Mar 2014 01:00:48 -0500, Adam Bohnet wrote:
 > Hi Scott:
 > That sounds like a very interesting topic.
 > My ignorant thoughts on the subject:
 > I don't know if you have done a Sillok search.
 Obviously, one has to 
 > be careful about drawing too many  conclusions on
 that basis, but it 
 > is really notable that 외국인 appears throughout the
 Sillok, some 60% 
 > of all cases appear during and after the reign of
 Kojong. k 

 > A fairly simple 역사정보통합시스템 search
 turned up extensive use of 
 > the term in the Choson Ch'ongdokpu kwanbo even in
 1910-1911. If 
 > nothing else, this suggests an institutionalization of
 the term 
 > during the Japanese colonial period. It doesn't give
 you a smoking 
 > gun of whether it is from China or from Japan, I
 suppose, but if you 
 > are looking for the evolution of 외국인 as a
 standard, that might be 
 > a useful place to look.
 > In a sense, since the word was well used, but not
 universally used, 
 > before,  I wonder a bit whether it will be
 possible to trace its 
 > origins to either China or Japan. But who knows,
 perhaps there will 
 > be an article in an early newspaper discussing the
 value of 외국인 
 > over 번방. O
 > Finally, if I may engage in a bit of quibbling about
 your list, I 
 > notice that in the terms you provide for "foreigner" in
 various East 
 > Asian languages, a substantial number are actually
 terms generally 
 > used for Westerners in particular and not foreigners in
 general, so:
 > 南蛮人, 코쟁이, 洋人" and "洋鬼子.
 > I encourage you to broaden your list. If 洋人 is an
 equivalent to 외국
 > 인, then so is 胡人.
 > Alternately, perhaps you are interested in the process
 by which the 
 > typical 외국인 in popular consciousness became a
 Westerner (perhaps 
 > slapping his father's back and saying, "hey man"). That
 is also an 
 > interesting topic, but from your brief e-mail it isn't
 clear if you 
 > are discussing the changes in methods for referring to
 foreigners or 
 > to Westerners. I am sure that according to the Chosen
 > General, a Chinese person would have been a 외국인,
 but probably 
 > would not have been a 코쟁이 to the Koreans who
 encountered him or 
 > her (unless the Chinese person was blessed with an
 enormous nose).
 >   Finally, I am not a Koryo/Yuan expert,
 but my understanding of 색목
 > 인 色目人 ("people of the various categories") has
 a very strong 
 > legalistic meaning indeed. Indeed, it is a legal and
 > category of the Yuan empire, and really probably isn't
 to be 
 > understood as in anyway equivalent to 외국인, as
 색목인 were not, of 
 > course, outsiders to the Yuan empire, but one category
 of subjects 
 > (as were Mongols, northern Chinese and southern
 > Those are my brief thoughts on the subject.
 > Yours,
 > Adam
 > On 2014-02-28 11:45 PM, J.Scott Burgeson wrote:
 >> I have a question for the linguists on this List,
 specifically those 
 >> who work not only with the Korean language but also
 Chinese and 
 >> Japanese.
 >> It is well-known that hundreds, perhaps even
 thousands, of 
 >> Chinese-character based words in common use in
 Japan, China and 
 >> Korea were coined by the Japanese during the Meiji
 period, such as "
 >> 百貨店" ("백화점"), "時間" ("시간"),
 "国際" ("국제"), "民族" ("민족
 >> "), "市場" ("시장"), "社会" or "社會"
 ("사회"), "出版" ("출판") and 
 >> many, many more.
 >> My question has to do with the route of
 transmission of the word "外
 >> 國人" or "외국인" into Korea, which one would
 assume is not pure or 
 >> native Korean as it is based on Chinese
 >> I have consulted a dozen or more different
 >> dictionaries, both contemporary and of words in use
 during the 
 >> Choson Period, and in general etymologies are not
 given for this 
 >> word.
 >> According to Japanese linguists, the word
 "外國人" was promoted and 
 >> popularized during the Meiji period in contrast to
 the word "内国人" 
 >> (lit., "inside country person" or "내국인" in
 Korean), which was 
 >> used to refer to people of the Japanese Empire,
 including those in 
 >> Korea and Taiwan. Thus, those outside of the Empire
 were referred to 
 >> as "外國人" or "외국인" in Korean. Here, for
 instance, is a 1931 
 >> article from the 동아일보 that uses the word in
 the title and text:

 >> However, the studies I have seen do not make it
 clear whether or not 
 >> the word "外國人" was actually created by the
 Japanese during the 
 >> Meiji period, or merely popularized by the Meiji
 authorities. In 
 >> other words, it is not clear whether or not it is
 和製漢語. What is 
 >> clear, though, is that it was at this time that the
 word "外國人" 
 >> became the standard term for "foreigners" in the
 Japanese language, 
 >> as prior to this there was a variety of different
 terms used to 
 >> describe non-Japanese, such as "南蛮人,"
 "異人," "異国人," and "異邦
 >> 人." What seems to be the case is that the
 difference with "外國人" 
 >> is that it has more of a legalistic meaning or
 connotation, in 
 >> contrast to these other words, indicating a lack of
 >> citizenship or nationality, and this is certainly
 how the term is 
 >> used today, at least officially, in present-day
 South Korea.
 >> In China, meanwhile, there was also a great variety
 of different 
 >> terms for non-Han or non-Chinese people in the
 pre-modern period, 
 >> including "洋人" and "洋鬼子," while the
 concept of a "foreign 
 >> country" was sometimes expressed as "异国," and
 even "外國" can be 
 >> found as early as the Han Dynasty in "Records of
 the Historian":

 >> "外國人" is also the title of a story by the
 Early Qing writer Pu 
 >> Songling that appears in "Strange Stories from a
 Chinese Studio," 
 >> which is about shipwrecked Filipinos who float to
 Macau and are then 
 >> sent back home by the Chinese. However, as in the
 case of Japan, it 
 >> does not seem that the word "外國人" was in
 standard usage in 
 >> pre-modern China, and was just one of many others.
 This would seem 
 >> to be logical, since the modern nation-state system
 only comes to 
 >> East Asia in the latter part of the 19th century,
 and "外國人" as it 
 >> is used in China, Japan and Korea today has a very
 clear legalistic 
 >> meaning referring to citizenship and nationality in
 the full modern 
 >> sense of these terms.
 >> So the question is how to determine if the word
 "외국인" came to 
 >> Korea: Via China or via Japan? As I have mentioned,
 in dictionaries 
 >> I have consulted, such as 동광출판사's massive
 "조선말 사전" or the 
 >> 국립국어연구원's "표준국어대사전," no
 etymology or word origin is 
 >> given, and in 한국정신문화 연구원's
 "17세기 국어사전," only the term 
 >> "外國" is listed, not "外國人" or "외국
 사람." As in China and 
 >> Japan, it seems that in pre-modern Korea, there was
 no standard term 
 >> for "foreigner" but rather a variety that did not
 have an legalistic 
 >> connotations, such as "색목인," which dates to
 at least 1365, or "코
 >> 쟁이," a common term for Westerners.
 >> The reason I am interested in this question is
 because if it can be 
 >> determined that the term "외국인" became the
 standard term for 
 >> so-called "foreigners" in the colonial context of
 Japan's occupation 
 >> of Korea, the word would have a rather problematic
 history attached 
 >> to it, to say the least. And even if "외국인" is
 not an actual 
 >> instance of "和製漢語," it would still be worth
 knowing how much 
 >> influence Imperial Japan had in promoting and
 standardizing the term 
 >> within Korea.
 >> What is curious is how uninterested Korean-Korean
 dictionaries are 
 >> in listing word etymologies in them, which is
 standard in almost any 
 >> English-English dictionary. At a visit to Kyobo's
 Daegu store last 
 >> night, I could not find one 국어 dictionary that
 gave etymologies, 
 >> and the clerk had to take me to a different section
 on another floor 
 >> to find a few books devoted solely to etymologies
 of Korean words; 
 >> the largest, however, only contained 1,000 words,
 which is certainly 
 >> a rather meager selection. I asked her why most
 국어 or Korean 
 >> dictionaries did not give etymologies and she
 speculated that most 
 >> Koreans simply assume that the vast majority of
 Korean words are 
 >> Chinese-based and leave it at that. My own feeling
 is that there may 
 >> be nationalistic motivations at play here, but of
 course there could 
 >> be many other factors.
 >> In short, my question here is simple: Can anyone
 recommend the best 
 >> Korean-Korean dictionary or book to trace
 etymologies in the Korean 
 >> language? And if anyone has thoughts on the term
 "외국인" itself and 
 >> its history in Korea, those would be much
 appreciated as well!
 >> Cheers,
 >>          Scott Bug
 Frank Hoffmann

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