Re: Korean kugyol

From: Tom Emerson (
Date: Tue Nov 28 2000 - 12:10:44 EST

Thomas Chan writes:
> I'd like to ask what the rationale is for including Korean kugyol as a
> subset of CJK Ideographs in Unicode, while Chinese bopomofo and Japanese
> katakana are treated as distinct from their CJK Ideograph origins and
> look-alikes.

The difference, as I understand the kugyol, is that the kugyol were
wholly derived from the Hanja in use to represent native Korean
sounds. They were not initially simplified in any way. This is
discussed at some length in various papers in the collection:

  editor = {Kim-Renaud, Young-Key},
  title = {The Korean Alphabet: Its History and Structure},
  publisher = {University of Hawai`i Press},
  year = {1997},
  isbn = {0824817230}

> Korean kugyol are derived in a similar manner as Chinese bopomofo and
> Japanese katakana (and even some "simplified Chinese" characters), by
> taking CJK Ideographs in part or whole, and perhaps modifying some strokes.

Yes, but often these were not simplified to the degree that Bopomofo

> I can think of a few possible reasons why Chinese bopomofo and Japanese
> katakana have been treated as distinct from CJK Ideographs, such as 1)
> distinguished in source legacy CJK character sets: 2) not included in
> Chinese and Japanese character dictionaries; 3) technically capable of
> being used in the absence of CJK Ideographs as a complete script; 4) used
> solely for phonetic value; 5) in widespread contemporary use, so
> regular people care for the distincton.

(1) hits the nail on the head, as far as I am concerned. None of the
current Korean character set standards that I'm aware of include
the kugyol: in particular the code points you mention in your
message are not found in KSX 1001.

(2) isn't true: these are in the Hanyu Dacidian and the Kangxi
dictionaries. I have not been able to find the code points you mention
in the Korean Hanja dictioanries that I have.

(3), (4), and (5) are irrelevant.

So, by the source separation rule, the presence of these characters in
the source standards (various Chinese and Japanese dictionaries) as
well as in existing character sets such as Big 5+ where these
characters are part of the generic ideograph rows, speaks to having
them in the Unified Ideograph Blocks.

Just my 24 Won worth.


Tom Emerson                                          Basis Technology Corp.
Zenkaku Language Hacker                  
  "Beware the lollipop of mediocrity: lick it once and you suck forever"

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