[KS] backward apostrophes

William B. McCloy wbmccloy at u.washington.edu
Thu Nov 5 20:30:56 EST 2015

The Library of Congress changed their practice to use “normal” apostrophes in both cases when they updated their romanization rules a few years ago.  I believe that records created before that time were updated in OCLC Worldcat but perhaps not in the Library of Congress’ own catalog.


Bill McCloy

Contract Korean Cataloger


From: Koreanstudies [mailto:koreanstudies-bounces at koreanstudies.com] On Behalf Of S Hwang
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2015 4:48 PM
To: Korean Studies Discussion List
Subject: [KS] backward apostrophes


Dear all,


I have been checking some Korean words in McCune-Reischauer system and find the use of backward apostrophes somewhat confusing. 


Based on my earlier training, words like ch'angjak (창작) and T'aeguk 태국 should use backward apostrophes, while Han'guk (한국) and in'gan (인간) should use normal apostrophes. I verified these words in the Library of Congress Online Catalog by searching book titles and it showed a clear difference between backward and normal apostrophes. Most titles are, indeed, accurately recorded. 


But when I checked recently published works from various publishers, the use of apostrophes was inconsistent. Many texts did not distinguished the two (backward and normal) apostrophes and used normal apostrophes for both T'aeguk and Han'guk. Even LOC manual did not distinguish the two (see https://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/korean.pdf)--unlike their online catalog. Does it mean that it is okay to use normal apostrophes for both T'aeguk and Han'guk? Perhaps the mix-up was due to an error? or was there an official change in the McCune-Reischauer system? 


I would appreciate if someone could explain this. Thank you. 







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