[KS] term for children of concubines during Joseon
Kay Richards Gmail
richards.kyungnyun at gmail.com
Sat Oct 16 18:38:30 EDT 2010
I have found 逸名 (일명) in the Korean dictionaries (한글학회 큰사전,
현대국어대사전) as a definition of 庶孼 (서얼). There is also 椒林 (초림)
listed in the 큰사전 next to 일명.
The word 一名(일명) may be an entirely different word. However, I wonder if
it has any connection to 逸名 (일명) besides the homophony of the two
----- Original Message -----
From: <gkl1 at columbia.edu>
To: <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Sent: Friday, October 15, 2010 3:07 PM
Subject: Re: [KS] term for children of concubines during Joseon
I have also wrestled with the term 一名 (일명), literally, "one name". It
appears in interrogations of the Catholic martyrs of 1801, and appears
to refer to their illegitimate status.
For some reason when I clicked to respond to this question, the text
had a bunch of garbled computer stuff in the middle of her message,
which I deleted. In her message as copied below, there is a line or
two still missing. I copied the key sentences from her message by hand
andretype them here:
1. She notes that 一名 appears to be synonymous with 庶孼 (서얼), in her
words "a term referring to children with a yangban father and a
The term 庶孼 does indeed mean a child of a yangban father and a
concubine mother, as she says, but it can also refer to a later
descendants. So not only is the child of the marriage tainted, his
children and further generations of descendants will be tainted as well.
2. She asks: "Does the literal meaning of the phrase--"one name"-- relate
directly to the status of the child?"
Yes it does.
3. She asks further: Is it a reference to the fact that only one parent is
legitimate? Also, was this term used for daughters as well?"
In the primary instance, a fully statused sadaebu or yangban will
not himself be tainted. His female partner may also be "legitimate" in
terms of her own class origins, whatever they might be--commoner or
slave. What is illegitimate is their cross-class marriage itself,
because it can only generate an illegitimate child. The term 서얼 is
usually seen as applied to males. But in the interrogations, the term
일명 is also seen in the context of females who are under interrogation.
Deberneire also seeks an etymology of the term 一名 (일명). This is the
hard part. No dictionary or glossary I have seen has a definition
relating to class status. But I had an interesting response from my
late Chinese friend and colleague Wu Peiyi, who interpreted it in the
interrogation context as meaning "a certain individual or person," in
other words, a person so unspeakable that he (she) may not be named.
Whether this holds or not I do not know. But it is most credible
explanation that I have heard so far.
Quoting DEBERNIERE JANET TORREY <djt188 at psu.edu>:
> Dear List,
> I've been trying to find the etymology of the term "il-myeong" (
GARBLED MATERIAL not copied
> 庶孼), as a term referring to children with a yangban father and a
> mother. Does the literal meaning of the phrase--"one name"-- relate
> directly to
> the status of the child? Is it a reference to the fact that only one
> parent is
> legitimate? Also, was this term used for daughters as well?
> Thanks in advance.
> Deberniere J. Torrey
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