[KS] Korean typewriters
sa_ewing at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 20 13:01:40 EDT 2006
Thanks to Messrs. Hoffmann and McCann for their replies.
Thanks also to one offline correspondent who provided a list of four
different keyboard layouts that appeared on Korean typewriters, all in
addition to the du-beolsik and se-beolsik that are popular today...all
developed to deal in different ways with the challenge of handling final
consonants. At his suggestion, I'll post a brief summary after I've sorted
through the links he provided me.
In reply to Frank, I am not that young--old enough to have gone owned three
manual typewriters and an electric in my life! But over the course of the
last decade in which I've visited Korea, not once have I seen a typewriter
in anyone's home, much to my disappointment. (This problem drew me in
initially because one of my first Korean-learning textbooks used what was
clearly typescript for its Han'gu^l sections, with rather ungraceful
syllables because in single-consonant syllables, there would be a gaping
space at the bottom where the final consonant would normally go.)
I've only written in Korean on computers, where of course such mechanical
problems as where to divide syllables or position consonants are irrelevant,
handled as they are by program logic and modern printers.
And David, yes, a virtually unending roll of paper would have been so
wonderful for stream-of-consciousness writing! A computer works just
fine--and being able to easily fix typos (let alone endlessly reformat and
revise!) is a gift from heaven--but somehow, it will never quite be the same
as the feeling of inked metal on paper.
>From: Frank Hoffmann <frank at koreaweb.ws>
>Big smile ::)
>How old are you, Stefan? I am sure you can still buy Korean typewriters
>today as well -- still useful for filling in forms, for example.
>The input method is exactly the same as you have it now on your computer
>keyboard. There were (and still are) two methods: 2-bôlsik and 3-bôlsik.
>The first one is far more popular.
>I think if you look at the keyboard images on above website all is pretty
>self-explanatory ... all basically the same as with a standard Latin
>character typewriter -- the Han'gûl characters in the lower position take
>the position of small characters (on Latin character typewriter). Of
>course, a type-written text did not look as elegant as it looks today with
>a computer. When you hit an initial vocal the carriage would not move, same
>as if e.g. adding a French accent on a non-French typewriter.
>From: David McCann <dmccann at fas.harvard.edu>
>The office person in the school where I taught The Andong Agriculture and
>Forestry High School had a big typewriter. Looked like those old manuals,
>but big. I tried it, and it had shift keys that would move the roller
>carriage up and even back into position for the completion of the
>combination of letters, syllable by syllable.
>I also remember some years later, in 1974, to be precise, sitting with some
>other grad students then in Korea for dissertation research, dreaming about
>the perfect machine. We pictured a typewriter with a huge roll of paper so
>you could just keep going and going, when you broke through the logjam of
>research and out into the swift currents of thought. Wishful thinking.
>And then, of course, Screens! Computers! Bliss!
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