[KS] formal question (which version of Chinese characters?)

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreanstudies.com
Mon May 25 14:31:34 EDT 2015

Hi Andrew:

Just two things in your last response that confuse me:

> Even if the publication primarily deals with Korea, if you mention 
> non-Korean people, there's no reason to give their name in 
> 'Sino-Korean'. It would arguably be like transcribing a Russian name 
> into hangul, or romanizing a Japanese name with Sino-Korean 
> pronunciation.

(a) Sino-Korean: I am not a linguist. Thus far I used the term 
"Sino-Korean" to basically mean the same as traditional Chinese 
characters (as they are used in Korea) -- of course *in* Korean 
pronunciation. Maybe the correct, precise definition of "Sino-Korean" 
is more complex (including possible semantic differences of Sino-Korean 
vs. traditional Chinese characters as used in China? 

(b) Whatever the answer to (a), I am confused by what you mean using 
Sino-Korean for non-Koreans? Most obviously none of us would give the 
pronunciation (in Latin letters) following the Sino-Korean 
pronunciation, just because I (we) would, for example, use (NOT 
Sino-Korean but) traditional characters for the rendering of a 
post-1949 Chinese personality from the mainland (or a new term or a 
book title). I am not quite sure therefore how to understand you here.

To Marion:

You bring in an additional issue, one that's indeed tricky. HOWEVER, 
the example case you give:
 >> if you have materials from Taiwan and the mainland and use 
Simplified, (...)
That is not a real-world example! I have not seen anyone doing that in 
Korean studies -- just the other way around: names, terms, and titles 
in simplified characters from mainland China would be rendered in 
traditional encoding. If we think for a real long time we may even here 
come up with a problem case -- but hardly so, and in such an 
exceptional case one can always use some parenthesis to clarify. 

As Gertrude Stein already phrased it -- or was it me?:
A dilemma is a dilemma is a dilemma.
Your responses indicate that Korean studies as a field of study has no 
strategy of how to deal with that dilemma. Maybe so because it is not a 
field of study, and an archaeologist has different needs and views than 
say a historian. Reading your replies I still do not know what the 
*simplest* solution would be (for a general, historic text, nothing 



Frank Hoffmann

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list