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

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreanstudies.com
Tue Mar 11 07:58:54 EDT 2014

Apologies -- just now noted that there is a logical inconsistency in my 
thought as presented in the last posting:

Let me rephrase:

*If* Professor Ledyard's assumption is correct (the ㄴ tended to be 
dropped in both, the Korean vernacular and Sino-Korean), then this 
means a generic change of pronunciation in southern Korea that can be 
seen independent of strengthening nationhood trends.
*If*, however, Professor Sasse's note is correct that that this was a 
phenenomen in Sino-Korean terms only, then we could hypothetically link 
that to generic changes in what we might call pre-modern 
nation-building developments.


On Tue, 11 Mar 2014 01:18:09 -0700, Frank Hoffmann wrote:
> Werner Sasse wrote:
>> I should have said more precisely: "this problem arises only 
>> in Sino-Kor words in contemporary Korean as spoken in South Korea."
> Gary Ledyard's point was different. QUOTE:
>> I'm pretty sure that the process of dropping ㄴ(and also ㄹ) did not
>> originate in Sino-Korean. Rather it must surely have started in
>> ordinary vernacular Korean speech.
> These are *both* interesting assumptions.
> As a convinced non-linguist, I am again intrigued by the question that 
> this brings up about script, culture, and POSSIBLY even pre-modern and 
> modern state formation. This last point is, agreed, a quite a bold and 
> ambitious hypothesis (depending on the answer to the above).
> To simplify the question: 
> *If* Professor Ledyard is correct and this late Chosŏn period "trend" 
> of dropping the initial ㄴ (and ㄹ) did not discriminate between pure 
> Korean and Sino-Korean, given that the Chinese pronuciation of 年 (in 
> THIS example) was/is nien in Chinese and that Koreans *emulated* that 
> Chinese pronunciation by trying to get close (as they did with all 
> other characters also) by pronouncing it more or less like nyŏn 년, and 
> if in the later Chosŏn period they started to drop the initial n ㄴ, 
> then is this not an indication of a "Koreanization" of Sino-Korean that 
> comes exactly at the same period we see nationalization trends in art 
> and literature? Pre-17th century painting styles, for example, are hard 
> to differentiate from Chinese ones, but that changes in the later 
> Chosŏn period, some styles take on a more distinctive Koreanness. 
> As I said, this is a very bold assumption -- a thought I would 
> appreciate to get your feedback on. So, before you raise your hands, 
> this is indeed no more than a thought and a question by someone only 
> interested in getting the tasty juice out of linguistics (while I 
> happily leave the squeezed skin to you).
> Best,
> Frank
> --------------------------------------
> Frank Hoffmann
> http://koreanstudies.com

Frank Hoffmann

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list