Discussion in 'Korean Culture and History' started by rlobrecht, May 10, 2012.
My wife sent this to me. I found it to be interesting.
It also turns out that Korea had no national flag at one time. There was an event that a Korean was to attend in Japan. Seeing other countries with their flags, the man sat down and created what is now the Korean flag. I don't recall any more about it. I heard that from several Koreans of my acquaintence while in Korea, but don't recall the whole story, nor the time frame, nor the event. Not much help, eh?
When the Football World Cup was held in Korea a couple of years ago, the BBC did a profile of Korea where they said the word Korea used to be spelt with a 'C' ie Corea but the Japanese when they invaded didn't like Korea with a C preceding it alphabetically so changed it. Any truth in this does anyone know?
Korea had a flag for some time. The origins of what we see today started back in the 1800's with King Gojong who based the design off of the I-ching design. I due believe that prior to that, the Korean flag displayed the full I-Ching. Prior to that it was a dragon banner. The flag that King Gojong designed kept the four symbols of the I-Ching that we see today, but the Um-yang design in the middle was different. During the the Japanese occupation, where they banned the hanging of Korean flags, the flag that we see today was used as a sign of rebellion. After the occupation the Taeguki flag, that we see today was adopted as the national flag.
For speech class my wife had to do a report on something from her heritage and she chose to talk about the flag. I had the pleasure of having to put the slide show together for it, which is how I came to be quite acquainted with the history of its development.
There is a controversy dealing with this particular aspect of why it was spelled with a 'C' at first and then 'K' later. I do not know with 100% certainty but it the story that the Japanese changed it to a 'K' is supposedly a N.K. propaganda thing that was pushed during the World Cup. It is said that when Japan invaded Korea, at the time Korea romanized their name with a 'C' not 'K', they did not like the fact that Korea's name would come first alphabetically. As such they forced the spelling of the name to begin with a 'K' so they fall after Japan in the alphabet.
However, the most likely of reasons, though a bit more complicated, is due to language pronunciation and romanization of the word itself. English written books used to the spelling of Corea due to the early understanding of the Korean language. As we became more familiar with Korean language the spelling of the name changed to what we use today. Even now they are changing romanization of words due to understanding the Korean language better. Example is that Pusan is now Busan. Chunju is being written as Jeonju.
Much of the world still use the 'C' spelling, but I believe English speaking countries such as America and U.K. still stick to the 'K' spelling. This may be due to how we pronounce it in general. We, at least Americans for the most part, tend to run the first three letters together softly 'Kor-ea' which gives it more of a 'K' sense. However if pronounced correctly it would be 'ko-rea' with harder emphasis on the 'ko'. So it is not a far stretch to spell it Corea.
(Note: I make no claims at being a linguistic expert. This is just my basic understanding)
We all know the true meaning behind the flag is we will take over the world with Olympic TKD YEA BUDDY !!!!!!!! JK
Just to clarify, this is the flag of South Korea. The North Korea's flag is a much different.
Yes that is correct. Just a bit of a little trivia. After the Japanese occupation, NK also adopted the Taeguki for a short period of time prior to creating the flag they used today.
Agreed. One of the reasons why some nations stick with the "C" spelling is that their home language does not utilize the letter K, the letter is only adopted for specific foreign terms (often technical), such as kilo- or Kelvin. In Spanish, for example, there are no indigenous words that use the letter K. The "koh" sound as heard in rico (rich) or corazón (heart) is spelled with a C, as is Corea.
[/QUOTE](Note: I make no claims at being a linguistic expert. This is just my basic understanding)[/QUOTE]
First off, neither do I. But I have always enjoyed reading about it and languages in general.
I never heard that one before. I heard we call Korea as such from the Koryo kingdom. I always just assumed it was spelled with a 'c' from Portuguese Navigators being the first in that area and using that pronunciation, which they would have spelled with a 'c.'
EDIT: When I started to answer this, I was called away from my desk, and I see Carol covered the part about the letter 'c' before I got back, finished, and submitted my reply. Thanks Carol.
Sorry, maybe I don't understand what you mean. Changes such as Busan and Jeonju are just what you said, acceptance of different romanizations. Nothing to do with 'better' understanding of the Korean language. They didn't change their pronunciation, nor did we fail for several hundred years to understand them.
I don't know how much of the world uses the letter 'c.' But all the latin based languages certainly would. They don't have a letter 'k' to use. And latin speakers certainly make up a large part of the world. Languages without a romanized alphebet, I don't know.
As to pronunciation being kor-ea or Ko-rea, that was interesting. When I first read it I frankly thought is was way wrong. Then I remembered when I was young, and the Korean war was going on, I think we did pronounce it Kor-ea, and to the best of my recollection, the 'o' was pronounced more like the German umlauted 'o.' These days, I think I am more likely to pronounce it Ko-rea, but I couldn't remember when I changed or why.
But I am curious, why would you would state that one was more correct than another? I don't know that word was ever in their language, so they would have never referred to themselves as Koreans.
Have I misunderstood something?
It is interesting. One of the Korean dramas that I enjoy was called King Sejong the Great. It told about his life and what he went through in developing the Korean hangul. It was interesting how they briefly explained how the Koreans pronounce their words and based the hangul on that.
This dives a little deeper into the linguistics of it all. What you stated is pretty much true. However, the correct spelling of Koryo, using correct romanization would have been with a 'G'. It would have been Goryeo. The Korean 'G' or 'ㄱ', when put in front of a word, makes a 'K' sound. There is a lot more technical details on this but I personally do not understand enough about linguistics to begin describing it.
Yeah...thanks for stealing his thunder Carol. ha.ha.ha.ha...kidding
True. More or less I am just pointing out that as we better understand proper pronunciation so do we understand the correct romanization of the words. Our emphasis of the first word '부' was a soft 'P'. However it now being dictated as a hard 'B'. Emphasis on certain letters in Korean words makes a difference in not only spelling but meaning. Example the word nephew is Cho-ka '조카' . However if you pronounce cho-ga it takes on a whole different meaning, one which is not too polite. I don't know if the better illustrates my point or not.
Exactly. I believe for the most part we all say it as Kor-ea.
Not at all. I do not believe one is more correct than the other. The reason for the sudden change back in the World Cup was due to propaganda. NK was trying to push the idea that Americans were insulting Korea by using the 'K' as it represents support of their Japanese oppressors. This is why they took on the 'C' spelling. It is as you said, a westerner's word, not their own.
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