[KS] Romanization systems survey
hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Sat Sep 19 14:09:36 EDT 2009
Can you be more explicit? Could you explain what problems you are
facing *if* applying (South) Korean rules of word division when
transcribing article titles or names of institutions?
I must admit that I do not really know what these rules are in Korean
(my own personal deficiency?) -- I do it "by feeling and experience,"
other than in e.g. English or German, where I know where to look
these rules up if I have doubts. Only have two rule sets for Korean
place names (provinces, etc.). From what I know there are no "clear"
rules for word division in Korean, at least not with the 1988 rule
And this is the only one I know of ... is there a newer one? Where
can we find these rules?
What are the reasons a transcription (in whatever
transcription/transliteration system) should not follow the exact
same word division as the Korean original (which may differ for
certain terms or names depending on author, publisher, edition,
period of publication)? I remember Professor Ledyard talking about
*long* terms as a problem in transcription. But then, to me this
problem seems to be limited to native English speakers' feelings
toward long terms. If you would work in a German bank, for example,
you would have to deal with the term "Lastschrifteneinzugsverfahren"
50 times a day. In spite of these negative feelings of English native
speakers towards long terms, would it not be easier and costing far
less of our brain power to mechanically follow the Korean original,
whatever rules the Korean author/s applied?
Another example from daily practice:
I noticed that the majority of U.S. based Korean studies scholars
seem to have shifted over the past 25 years or so to write Korean
two-syllable first names in one word rather than divided by a hyphen.
THAT would then follow Korean division rules. However, in the
62-pages draft "Korean Romanization and Word Division" that was
posted here about two months ago, you had it with hyphens (same as in
the original McC-R system): Yi T'oe-gye instead of Yi T'oegye. Fine
with me. But I wonder, if (a) it would not be easier to simply follow
Korean word divisions in every case, and (b) to "disregulate" word
divison rules for general usage. (That does not hinder libraries to
follow stricter rules internally.) Why should there be stricter rules
for transcription than there are in Korean language itself?
A final thought: I believe you (librarians in this committee) are
doing a disservice to Korean Studies as a field by revising the 1939
McCune-Reischauer system. As was already pointed out by others on
this list, no Romanization system is perfect, one is as bad and as
good as any other (just a slight overstatement). The main point
really is to stick to one and not 'mess' with it.
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