Idu script

Last updated
Idu script
Yuseopilji.jpg
A page from the 19th-century yuseopilji.
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanization Idu
McCune–Reischauer Idu

Idu (이두, hanja : , meaning official's reading) is an archaic writing system that represents the Korean language using hanja. The script, which was developed by Buddhist monks, made it possible to record Korean words through its equivalent meaning or sound in Chinese. [1]

Contents

The term "idu" may refer to various systems of representing Korean phonology through Chinese characters called hanja, which were used from the early Three Kingdoms to Joseon periods. In this sense, it includes hyangchal, [2] the local writing system used to write vernacular poetry [3] and gugyeol writing. Its narrow sense only refers to the "idu" proper [4] or the system developed in the Goryeo period (918–1392), and first referred to by name in the Jewang Ungi .

Background

The idu script was developed to record Korean expressions using Chinese graphs borrowed in their Chinese meaning but it was read as the corresponding Korean sounds or by means of Chinese graphs borrowed in their Chinese sounds. [5] This is also known as hanja and was used along with special symbols to indicate indigenous Korean morphemes, [6] verb endings and other grammatical markers that were different in Korean from Chinese. This made both the meaning and pronunciation difficult to parse, and was one reason the system was gradually abandoned, to be replaced with hangul, after the invention of such in the 15th century. In this respect, it faced problems analogous to those that confronted early efforts to represent the Japanese language with kanji, due to grammatical differences between these languages and Chinese. In Japan, the early use of Chinese characters for Japanese grammar was in man'yōgana, which was replaced by kana, the Japanese syllabic script.

Characters were selected for idu based on their Korean sound, their adapted Korean sound, or their meaning, and some were given a completely new sound and meaning. At the same time, 150 new Korean characters were invented, mainly for names of people and places. Idu system was used mainly by members of the Jungin class.

One of the primary purposes of the script was the clarification of Chinese government documents that were written in Chinese so that they can be understood by the Korean readers. [7] Idu was also used to teach Koreans the Chinese language. [7] The Ming legal code was translated in its entirety into Korean using idu in 1395. [8] The same script was also used to translate the Essentials of agriculture and sericulture (Nongsan jiyao) after it was ordered by the King Taejong in 1414. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japonic languages have been grouped with other language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

Korean language East Asian language

Korean is an East Asian language spoken by about 77 million people. It is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each country. It is a recognised minority language in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin province, China. It is also spoken in parts of Sakhalin, Russia, and Central Asia.

Kana are the syllabaries that form parts of the Japanese writing system, contrasted with the logographic Chinese characters known in Japan as kanji (漢字). The modern Japanese writing system makes use of two syllabaries: cursive hiragana (ひらがな) and angular katakana (カタカナ). Also classified as kana is the ancient syllabic use of kanji known as man'yōgana (万葉仮名), which was ancestral to both hiragana and katakana. Hentaigana are historical variants of modern standard hiragana. In modern Japanese, hiragana and katakana have directly corresponding sets of characters representing the same series of sounds.

Logogram Grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme

In a written language, a logogram or logograph is a written character that represents a word or morpheme. Chinese characters are generally logograms, as are many hieroglyphic and cuneiform characters. The use of logograms in writing is called logography, and a writing system that is based on logograms is called a logography or logographic system. All known logographies have some phonetic component, generally based on the rebus principle.

Written Chinese Overview of writing varieties of Chinese

Written Chinese comprises Chinese characters used to represent the Chinese language. Chinese characters do not constitute an alphabet or a compact syllabary. Rather, the writing system is roughly logosyllabic; that is, a character generally represents one syllable of spoken Chinese and may be a word on its own or a part of a polysyllabic word. The characters themselves are often composed of parts that may represent physical objects, abstract notions, or pronunciation. Literacy requires the memorization of a great number of characters: educated Chinese know about 4,000. The large number of Chinese characters has in part led to the adoption of Western alphabets or other complementary systems as auxiliary means of representing Chinese.

Chinese characters Logographic writing system used in the Sinosphere region

Chinese characters, also called Hanzi, are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system where they are known as kanji. Chinese characters are the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world. By virtue of their widespread current use in East Asia, and historic use throughout the Sinosphere, Chinese characters are among the most widely adopted writing systems in the world by number of users.

Hanja Korean language characters of Chinese origin

Hanja is the Korean name for a traditional writing system consisting mainly of Traditional Chinese characters that was incorporated and used since the Gojoseon period. More specifically, it refers to the Traditional Chinese characters incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation.

<i>Manyōgana</i> System of writing Japanese based solely on Chinese characters

Man'yōgana is an ancient writing system that employs Chinese characters to represent the Japanese language, and was the first known kana system to be developed as a means to represent the Japanese language phonetically. The date of the earliest usage of this type of kana is not clear, but it was in use since at least the mid-seventh century. The name "man'yōgana" derives from the Man'yōshū, a Japanese poetry anthology from the Nara period written with man'yōgana.

Japanese writing system Overview of how the Japanese language is written in contemporary times, and the writing systems evolution

The modern Japanese writing system uses a combination of logographic kanji, which are adopted Chinese characters, and syllabic kana. Kana itself consists of a pair of syllabaries: hiragana, used primarily for native or naturalised Japanese words and grammatical elements; and katakana, used primarily for foreign words and names, loanwords, onomatopoeia, scientific names, and sometimes for emphasis. Almost all written Japanese sentences contain a mixture of kanji and kana. Because of this mixture of scripts, in addition to a large inventory of kanji characters, the Japanese writing system is considered to be one of the most complicated in current use.

Korean calligraphy Korean tradition of artistic writing

Korean calligraphy, also known as Seoye, is the Korean tradition of artistic writing. While early Korean calligraphy was written in Chinese characters, including Hanja, modern Korean calligraphy may be written using Hangul, the native Korean alphabet.

<i>Hyangchal</i>

Hyangchal is an archaic writing system of Korea and was used to transcribe the Korean language in hanja. Under the hyangchal system, Chinese characters were given a Korean reading based on the syllable associated with the character. The hyangchal writing system is often classified as a subgroup of Idu. The first mention of hyangchal is the monk Kyun Ye's biography during the Goryeo period. Hyangchal is best known as the method Koreans used to write hyangga poetry. Twenty-five such poems still exist and show that vernacular poetry used native Korean words and Korean word order, and each syllable was "transcribed with a single graph". The writing system covered nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, particles, suffixes, and auxiliary verbs. The practice of hyangchal continued during the Goryeo Dynasty, where it was used to record native poetry as well.

Gugyeol

Gugyeol is a system for rendering texts written in Classical Chinese into understandable Korean. It was chiefly used during the Joseon Dynasty, when readings of the Chinese classics were of paramount social importance. Thus, in gugyeol, the original text in classical Chinese was not modified, and the additional markers were simply inserted between phrases. The Korean reader would then read the parts of the Chinese sentence out of sequence to approximate Korean (SOV) rather than Chinese (SVO) word order. A similar system for reading classical Chinese is used to this day in Japan and is known as Kanbun.

Old Korean is the first historically documented stage of the Korean language, typified by the language of the Unified Silla period (668–935).

Tangut script Chinese character-based writing system for the extinct Tangut language

The Tangut script was a logographic writing system, used for writing the extinct Tangut language of the Western Xia dynasty. According to the latest count, 5863 Tangut characters are known, excluding variants. The Tangut characters are similar in appearance to Chinese characters, with the same type of strokes, but the methods of forming characters in the Tangut writing system are significantly different from those of forming Chinese characters. As in Chinese calligraphy, regular, running, cursive and seal scripts were used in Tangut writing.

Korean mixed script

Korean mixed script, known in Korean as hanja honyong, Hanja-seokkeosseugi, 'Chinese character mixed usage,' or gukhanmun honyong, 'national Sino-Korean mixed usage,' is a form of writing the Korean language that uses a mixture of the Korean alphabet or hangul and hanja, the Korean name for Chinese characters. The distribution on how to write words usually follows that all native Korean words, including grammatical endings, particles and honorific markers are generally written in hangul and never in hanja. Sino-Korean vocabulary or hanja-eo, either words borrowed from Chinese or created from Sino-Korean roots, were generally always written in hanja although very rare or complex characters were often substituted with hangul. Although the Korean alphabet was introduced and taught to people beginning in 1446, most literature until the early twentieth century was written in literary Chinese known as hanmun.

Chinese family of scripts Writing systems derived from the ancient Oracle Bone script

The Chinese family of scripts are writing systems descended from the Chinese Oracle Bone Script and used for a variety of languages in East Asia. They include logosyllabic systems such as the Chinese script itself, and adaptations to other languages, such as Kanji (Japanese), Hanja (Korean), Chữ nôm (Vietnamese) and Sawndip (Zhuang). More divergent are Tangut, Khitan large script, and its offspring Jurchen, as well as the Yi script and possibly Korean Hangul, which were inspired by Chinese although not directly descended from it. The partially deciphered Khitan small script may be another. In addition, various phonetic scripts descend from Chinese characters, of which the best known are the various kana syllabaries, the zhuyin semi-syllabary, nüshu, and some influence on hangul.

The traditional periodization of Korean distinguishes

Written Hokkien Written form of the Hokkien language

Hokkien, a Min Nan variety of Chinese spoken in Southeastern China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, does not have a unitary standardized writing system, in comparison with the well-developed written forms of Cantonese and Vernacular Chinese (Mandarin). In Taiwan, a standard for Written Hokkien has been developed by the Republic of China Ministry of Education including its Dictionary of Frequently-Used Taiwan Minnan, but there are a wide variety of different methods of writing in Vernacular Hokkien. Nevertheless, vernacular works written in the Hokkien are still commonly seen in literature, film, performing arts and music.

Hangul Native alphabet of the Korean and Cia-Cia language

The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul (Hangeul) in South Korea and Chosŏn'gŭl in North Korea, is a writing system for the Korean language created by King Sejong the Great in 1443. The letters for the five basic consonants reflect the shape of the speech organs used to pronounce them, and they are systematically modified to indicate phonetic features; similarly, the vowel letters are systematically modified for related sounds, making Hangul a featural writing system.

Comparison of Japanese and Korean Linguistic comparison

The geographically close Japanese and Korean languages share considerable similarity in typological features of their syntax and morphology while having a small number of lexical resemblances and different native scripts, although a common denominator is the presence of Chinese characters, where kanji are part of Japanese orthography, while hanja were historically used to write Korean. Observing the said similarities and probable history of Korean influence on Japanese culture, linguists have formulated different theories proposing a genetic relationship between them, though these studies either lack conclusive evidence or were subsets of theories that have suffered large discredit. More recently, however, there has been new research which has revived the possibility of a genetic link, such as the Transeurasian hypothesis by Robbeets et al, supported by computational linguistics and archeological evidence, as well as recent genetic studies revealing modern Koreans and Japanese share as much as a 90 percent overlap in ancestry, which is difficult to reconcile with the hypothesis the two populations had divergent origins.

References

  1. Lowe, Roy; Yasuhara, Yoshihito (2016). The Origins of Higher Learning: Knowledge networks and the early development of universities. Oxon: Taylor & Francis. p. 80. ISBN   978-1-138-84482-7.
  2. Grimshaw-Aagaard, Mark; Walther-Hansen, Mads; Knakkergaard, Martin (2019). The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 426. ISBN   978-0-19-046016-7.
  3. Grimshaw-Aagaard, Mark; Walther-Hansen, Mads; Knakkergaard, Martin (2019). The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 426. ISBN   978-0-19-046016-7.
  4. Li, Yu (2019-11-04). The Chinese Writing System in Asia: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Routledge. ISBN   978-1-00-069906-7.
  5. Lee, Peter (2003). A History of Korean Literature . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.  27. ISBN   9780521828581.
  6. Hannas, William C. (2013-03-26). The Writing on the Wall: How Asian Orthography Curbs Creativity. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN   978-0-8122-0216-8.
  7. 1 2 Allan, Keith (2013). The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 222. ISBN   9780199585847.
  8. 1 2 Kornicki, Peter Francis (2018). Languages, scripts, and Chinese texts in East Asia. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 197. ISBN   9780198797821.