The Transmission of Writing Technology between Korea and Japan in the 8th Century
Discussions of the genealogy of writing systems – and more broadly of the transcultural spread of literacy – tend to focus on the lineage of graphs. More recent work emphasizes the nature of writing and reading as a system, and the role in early transmission of what Gershovich (1979) termed alloglottography, or vernacular reading (Whitman et al 2010): reading prestige language texts in the reader’s vernacular language. Research since Kobayashi (2002) makes a strong case for a major role of Korean, specifically Sillan models for the technology of kunten 訓點 that provides the scaffolding for vernacular reading in Japan, that is kanbun kundoku. This talk updates that case, and reopens the longer-standing and more vexed debate over abbreviated sinographs, specifically Korean kugyŏlcha 口訣字and katakana.
This event will take place in person and online.
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Reischauer Institute Japan Forum co-sponsored by the Japanese Language Program and the Korea Institute at Harvard University