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

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreanstudies.com
Thu May 28 17:18:41 EDT 2015

Dear Marion, dear Professor Deuchler:

Just to say this much:
I think none of us discussing the issue did make a really *strong* 
"for" or "against" point. I myself have thus far always used 
traditional characters (except for bibliographic references, where I 
followed the original). And the very reason I posted my question was 
that I see a large variety, diverse ways of how this issue is being 
handled, and so I felt I wanted to better understand what the reasons 
are everyone has for how to deal with this, and if there is possibly 
some general agreement on the best STRATEGY of how, most sensibly and 
smoothly deal with this -- I say it again -- dilemma.

It continues to be a dilemma, and dilemmas cannot be "solved" -- they 
can just strategically be dealt with. Nobody said this or that solution 
is the "right" one. That is agreed.

However, some arguments seem certainly to make more sense than others, 
AT LEAST if isolated. That issue of isolation is always important in 
cases of dilemma situations. In this case one can easily come up with a 
whole set of arguments that would overwrite such isolated logical 
approaches -- you can look at the political situation and/or 
technical/formal issues such as the standardization of bibliographic 
forms that libraries and publishers and universities may want to 
follow  in order to make things simple and workable. These arguments 
may well be considered to have more weight that singular, isolated 
logical arguments. So, that is then an issue of OUR institutional and 
administrative and also technical politics and dealing with the 
cultural (and well, not just "cultural") politics of other nations. 
Obviously, we had the same issue with the transcription system.

For me, if I look at Andrew's argument that was cited several times "in 
isolation," then that makes more sense than the one of "Chinese scripts 
system is a universal one" (if you allow me to summarize it this way). 
It once had been one, but it is no more an universal one. And I cannot 
understand why, as Professor Deuchler argues, we need to emphasize that 
("important to remember") for Korea. Korea is obviously at dropping 
Chinese characters all together. And other East Asian nations have 
developed their own versions of that ancient picture communication 
system. So ... if I JUST look at Andrew's argument in isolation, then 
that is sure what does convince me as the politically most apt and 
contemporary smooth solution, one that pays attention to regional and 
historic differences. Yet, there are other issues to look at also, as I 
mentioned, and so I would say "everything goes" and good points can be 
made for whatever solution one prefers.


Frank Hoffmann

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