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

Andrew zatouichi at gmail.com
Fri May 29 11:49:50 EDT 2015

Dear all,

I think the distinction is worth making about the intended audience. Frank
wrote that his article mostly deals with Korea, but not that it is written
for Koreans, or purely for a Korean Studies readership (e.g. it might be
about Korea but for a more general readership of art historians). Obviously
the distinction of readership would likely be made automatically depending
on the main language of the article, i.e. if it's written in Korean then it
is primarily for a Korean readership. In that case, using 'traditional'
characters for all Sinic (Chinese-Korean-Japanese) names and terms would
seem appropriate (although this could be argued to be using 'Sino-Korean'
hanja script as it's purely for the benefit of Korean readers who will read
them with Sino-Korean pronunciation).

If the article is not written in Korean language, then for terminology I
agree with Marion on the point that strictly speaking, nothing is
semantically gained by giving the characters, unless the discussion is
specifically highlighting the pan-East Asian spread/usage of the terms

For names, arguably nothing is gained, other than the benefit of being able
to look them up, (or as historical information to inform us how the person
wrote their own name but then you start to need to give their style names
etc too). The characters used for personal names can't always be easily
guessed so I think it would be genuinely useful extra information. In that
case, if the person happens to be someone whose name was mostly written in
Simplified, then it would be more useful to give the authentic Simplified
form. (In the post-nation state future when Simplified script has been
forgotten, this would still represent useful historical information helping
to identify the person as having lived in that short era).

However, if you are discussing an ethnic Korean, in Russia or America, of a
generation who never learnt any Chinese characters but has a "Korean" name,
there wouldn't seems much reason to give characters, even for the surname
which would at least be guessable.

Concerning my 'political' argument and Marion's response; I think I have
perhaps over-estimated the political import of Simplified script, if
mainland China is not as strict as I had thought. Some may have seen that I
recently posted a question on the "Sinologists" Facebook group asking about
this, and the response similarly observed that traditional characters are
becoming fashionable again, at least amongst the educated. Still, I imagine
there are many mainland Chinese who cannot read traditional script.

In that case, is Simplified nothing more than a font type?

sincerely to all,
Andrew Logie
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