Sunday, December 25, 2005

Sunday Reading

I doubt that anyone is out there reading on the internet. Contrary to most people, I am doing work before I light the first Chanukah candles in eight hours.

Joel at Far Outliers writes about "How Koreans Chose Japanese Names," an interesting analysis of how names get converted that bears some resemblance to how certain German names became Jewish. More and more, foreign names are being rendered into phonetic spelling because of pressure from Koreans:
But the practice now is to render such names into katakana approximations of their sound values in standard Chinese or Korean. I believe this change was driven partly by some activist Korean Residents in Japan who wanted to de-Japanize their names, but probably also by both the DPRK and ROK governments, which are both generally anti-hanja, pro-hangul (although the ROK Ministry of Education seems to have reversed its hanja-teaching policies many times during the past three decades). So now Korean Kims who Japanized their names to Kane-something can revert to Kimu, and Kim Ilsong can be rendered in katakana as Kimu IrusoN instead of in Sino-Japanese as Kin Nichisei.

Of course, katakana sound values impose a phonological straitjacket not much more elastic than the Sino-Japanese readings of Sinographic names, but at least the new practice treats Chinese and Korean names like those of other foreigners--and, more important, not like members of a special Japanese-dominated kanjisphere (or, alternatively, a China-dominated 汉字球 'hanzisphere').

One blogger is South Africa is sick of hearing Americanized English in radio advertizements:

[T]his whole adopting of the American accent thing, especially when you've never set foot in America - I just don't get it. What's wrong with our own ethnic African accents? Why do you have to be a pseudo-American to be cool? Frankly, I find it annoying. While on the subject of language, another thing that irritates me is the number of white people who phone in to radio talk shows, or write letters to the editor, and send in letters to radio and TV stations to complain about how black news readers and reporters "butcher" the pronunciation of the English language.

Marc at Cliopolitical has another post on the Barbary Pirates, something that he returns to often. This one, however, is not about American religion, but whether they were the type of jihadists that exist today.


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