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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Tracking Ramstedt's scholarship on Korea

I wrote some time ago that a filming crew from KBS will be coming around to make some documentary on the early 20th century Altaic linguist G.J. Ramstedt, who for example published the first linguistically valid grammar of Korean in 1939.
I went briefly to an archive couple of days ago to see what kind of a filming material his notes on the Korean language would make. Fascinating to see the heaps of word slips with the Korean word written on top, the explanation an the tentatively corresponding term in a Tungusic language or Mongolian, and the notebooks for learning and studying Korean. There was a notebook with "Telegrams" written on the cover - Ramstedt was a "diplomatic minister" to Japan then - with a few pages of recorded telegrams, and Korean language notes for the rest of the pages. Interesting thing is that there's quite little han'gûl overall in his notes. He had sribbled notes in Korean script when he was learning the language, but all the linguistic work seems to have been done by having Korean in a Romanized form.

Word slip of the word hae (해), with a tentatively corresponding word in a Tungusic language (I thing that's what the tung. means).

Will be guiding the tv crew for the next couple of days, so more Korea notes will follow after that.

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