Forum for List of Korean names

Editing policy of this list [#1232]

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tapir: Editing policy of this list (2007-12-12 21:10) [#4129]

I regularly see different spellings on webpages (english, french, somewhere else), but i'm not sure whether i should add them indiscriminatedly or only the correct spellings. But I don't know which are correct which not. So - is this list a mere tool for recognizing about whom texts are written or is it intended to be correct as well?

reply Original motivation (2007-12-12 23:07) [#4130]

John F. My motivation behind the original list was that the form on the left was meant to be a standard reference form - McCune?-R form by which it was possible to re=create the original hangeul. The forms on the right were variants from other romanisation systems or idiosyncratic preferences that I had observed in print. These forms cannot be converted back to hangeul with certainty. These variant forms sometimes include the form that the Korean player himself uses on his passport, which superficially misy seem to be the preferred version, but on the whole it is just not possible to know for certain which form a Korean uses personally, and those who have to write his name without knowing the person just make up their own versions,

There is no standardisation within Korea. Sometimes there is something close to a standard, e.g. Yi is romanised about 90% of the time as Lee (but is still pronounced Yi), but there are famous Koreans who use Yi, Rhee or Leigh or Ni. But with other names the most popular version may only be used about 50$ of the time or less. Surnames are officially excluded from the government's romanisation rules. Since 2002, personal names are supposed to be in the new romanisation, but nobody has taken a blind bit of notice except in government publications. If anything, the new romanisation made things worse because it generated yet another variant. In due course, as more and more people adopt this 2002 romanisation, it will be possible to reconstruct the hangeul of personal names from it, as the official rules require names to be hyphenated and sound changes not made. But that will take decades and will still not solve the problem of surnames.

The upshot is that romanisation of Korean names is still a mess and will remain so for the foreseeable future. However, the name is nearly always spelt consistently in hangeul (the native script). There are some cases where yu is written instead of lyu and so on (even both in the same document), but this is as close as we will ever get to a consistent record. That seems to be the form to follow.

The McR version I have given has the merit of equating to hangeul. Other romanisations used by westerners (but not the ones used in Korea) can be made to equate to hangeul but McR is still preferred by western libraries and scholars.

The McR version should therefore be regarded as the *reference* or canonical version. An individual may choose to write a name another way (e.g. Lee Changho instead of Yi Ch'ang-ho) but it would be a courtesy to his readers if he pointed out the existence of a reference list. The Hanguk Kiwon versions are NOT reliable, and my list seems to be the only one that approaches a suitable list..

The version of the list on this site has been corrupted over time (there are non-McR versions on the left hand side) and is rather out of date compared to the one on the GoGoD CD. It is therefore not as useful as it could be. Adding further noted variants is useful but the left-hand column needs attention if the original motivation is to be kept.

tapir: Re: Original motivation (2007-12-17 23:42) [#4152]

So, I will stop corrupting this list further. Hoping, somebody knowing the language will show up, putting again the correct forms on the left side, putting marks on the incorrect romanizations on the right... me doing something else in the meantime.

Just if JohnF happens to read this again: I'm so very grateful for what you have done for Go in the western world. Thanks tapir.

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