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

Martina Deuchler martina.deuchler at sunrise.ch
Thu May 28 09:22:55 EDT 2015

Dear List members,

I could not agree more with Marion Eggert's points. Especially the last one, universality of the Chinese script, is important to remember, especially in regard to Korea.

Martina Deuchler

On May 28, 2015, at 2:35 PM, Marion Eggert wrote:

> Dear Frank,
> Good that you've found an (at least partial) solution with which you are happy, but lest my students - whom I encourage to seek answers to their questions on the KS list - confront me one day saying that your solution is the standard developed among KS scholars, I'd like to emphasize that I would handle this differently, using one writing style for all. (Of course, I am talking here of printed matter; I do recognize the problems involved in electronic researches.)
> There are several points I find problematic. Firstly, I still can't subscribe to this argument:
>>> traditional, Simplified and Japanese kanji are now - synchronically
>> speaking - independent scripts used to represent different languages <<
> Which different languages are represented by "traditional" and "simplified"?
> Not to speak of Taiwan, even in mainland China,  "traditional" characters can be used and are being used, depending on context, and while they may represent something politically and even culturally different, they certainly do not represent a different language. There have been publications in "traditional Chinese" from mainland China even in the 70s!
> Secondly, I am not sure why you would insert characters at all if you think what they represent is nothing but that word in that language. "Denshō" would be completely sufficient to represent the Japanese word for "folklore". (And no, homonyms are not a problem. Context does the trick.) In my mind, the additional information that you give by inserting the Chinese characters is that the same word (or should we say "word root" so as to acknowledge the different pronunciations?) that is otherwise used for "transmission" or "tradition" (in other East Asian languages, and in Japanese as well) has come to take on the additional meaning of "folklore" in Japanese. This information is not lost or changed when you use non-Japanese forms of the characters.
> Your "gut feeling" about personal names and discussion with Werner about Mr Kwôn points to the third problem: When applying your logic (which is basically one of doing justice to esthetically produced connotations) to romanization, we should romanize the Taibei palace museum as Ku-kung po-wu-yüan (or at least should have done so in the past when Taiwan had no use for pinyin).
> And a final point: The usefulness and resilience of the Chinese script lies in its power as a transnational medium of communication. Among other things, it has served to re-integrate the divergences in signification that always take place when knowledge, language, concepts travel, into a realm of shared understanding. I'm pretty sure it will survive the nation state.
> Regards
> Marion
>> To me this is plausible enough in order to now use each local variant
>> of characters for terminology and for bibliographic references. What I
>> am personally left with is the question about personal names though
>> (more so than institutional names). Would it really be the best to,
>> using another example, write the simplified version of the family name
>> Kwŏn 權, which is 权, when we refer to some Chinese Korean person
>> living in Jilin, China (while keeping the pronunciation at Kwŏn rather
>> than Quan)? If we 'push' that a little, we then get sentences like: "In
>> 1990 Mr. Kwŏn 权 xx visited his his nephew Mr. Kwŏn 權 yy in Seoul."
>> Even without such rather seldom cases, my 'gut feeling' tells me we do
>> not need that in case of personal names, simply because these are not
>> related to cultural semantics. Am I not thinking this through? Any
>> comments?
>> Best,
>> Frank
>> --------------------------------------
>> Frank Hoffmann
>> http://koreanstudies.com
> -- 
> Prof. Dr. Marion Eggert
> Ruhr-Universität Bochum
> Sprache und Kultur Koreas
> GB 1/46
> D-44780 Bochum

Prof. Dr. Martina Deuchler, FBA
Schoorenstr. 48
CH-8802 Kilchberg ZH
Tel. +41-(0)43-377 53 31
martina.deuchler at sunrise.ch

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