Re: Romanized Korean (was Re: Annotated writing)

From: Glen Perkins (
Date: Fri Dec 17 1999 - 13:49:23 EST

Edward Cherlin <>

> At 20:37 -0800 1999/12/11, Gregg Reynolds wrote:
> >Edward Cherlin wrote:
> >
> > > At 13:20 -0800 1999/12/10, =?UTF-8?B?UmV5bm9sZHMsIEdyZWdn?= wrote:
> > > > - How does Korean annotate Chinese characters? Hangul?
> > >
> > > It's more the other way around. The text will be in Hangul, with
> > > occasional references to the Hanja for Chinese loan-words, as in the
> > > Sino-Korean
> > >
> > > U+C704 AE14 0028 570D 7881 0029
> > > wi gi ( surround board game )
> > > hangul hangul ASCII hanja hanja ASCII
> > >
> > >
> >
> >Very interesting. But presumably Hanja are annotated somehow in
> >materials, no?

Yes, they are. As you suspected, Hangul is used in parentheses after the
Hanja in such cases. I've seen this in "okpyeon" (Korean Hanja dictionaries)
and occasionally in newspapers for a particularly obscure name character
where it is the style of that particular newspaper to use Hanja for personal
names (varies by newspaper).

Edward is right, though. Usually the Hanja explains the Hangul, not
vice-versa. In almost all cases, in modern text, Hanja isn't used if there's
some question about the target audience's ability to read it. The major
exception to this is in academic writing, where the author is using obscure
vocabulary (often made up by him) to express an obscure technical concept.
Hangul is the primary script, with explanatory Hanja following in
parentheses, serving as part (or all) of the definition of the otherwise
incomprehensible new term.

Hangul ruby is also occasionally used. The only examples I can think of
offhand are an old vertical-text Korean Bible I have in a box somewhere that
I used to use for Hanja practice and some cases, like movie billboards,
where they'll have a giant, dramatic Hanja and a little equivalent Hangulja
nestled inside.

Glen Perkins

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