[KS] The Mystery of the Breve
jrpking at interchange.ubc.ca
Sun Sep 13 14:21:39 EDT 2009
> WHY is there still, in 2009, no concerted move among the (very limited) number of people regularly using MR to revise it and get rid of those impossible breves? What is the great advantage of retaining them? Do they have magic powers? I just do not understand it.
They do indeed have magical powers -- they render unambiguously and without resorting to clumsy digraphs vowels that the Korean sound system insists be distinguished and that otherwise would go undistinguished in roman script. They signal, through their unitary unigraphicity, that a single vowel is being represented -- something that Seong-su or Seung-mi from Incheon cannot do with the new system. Yes, there is a trade-off between the clumsiness of the special character and the clumsiness of a digraph, but even those of us without the secretary and typesetter of which you write manage to deal with this just fine...
And is it really a 'very limited' number of people? How do we know?
Professor of Korean and Head,
Department of Asian Studies,
University of British Columbia,
Dean, Korean Language Village,
Concordia Language Villages
Ross King, Department of Asian Studies, UBC
Asian Centre, 1871 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
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