By Ross King, Professor of Korean and Head of Department Department of Asian Studies at University of British Columbia/Korea Colloquium Series
In this talk, I begin with an introduction to Korean kugyŏl 口訣 glossing—the technique whereby (usually canonical) texts in Literary Sinitic (hanmun) were provided with interlinear annotations that allowed the Korean reader to construe the text in Korean. Needless to say, texts with kugyŏl glosses that predate the invention of the vernacular script in the mid-15th century are of potentially great importance for Korean historical linguistics, but kugyŏl glossing in general raises important questions about the history of both writing and reading in Korea. I proceed with a short survey of old Korean editions held in North American library collections that also contain kugyŏl glosses, then spend the rest of the talk examining the Asami Collection Edition of the Ch’ŏllo Kŭmgang kyŏng 川老金剛經—the only Koryŏ edition in North America with kugyŏl glosses. This late 14th century text has late 15th century glosses that shed light on the impact of Sejo’s kugyŏl and Buddhist ŏnhae projects.
Ross King earned his BA in Linguistics and Political Science from Yale in 1983, and his PhD in Linguistics from Harvard in 1991. After teaching at SOAS from 1990-1994, he took up his current position at the University of British Columbia, where he serves as Professor of Korean and Head of the Department of Asian Studies. His research interests embrace Korean historical linguistics, Korean dialectology, the history of Korean linguistics (esp. the history of linguistic thought in Korea), Korean language pedagogy, and (more recently), the history of language, writing and literary culture in the ‘Sinographic cultural sphere’, with a specific focus on medieval Korea and the interplay of cosmopolitan and vernacular in other regions of the Sinographic cosmopolis.
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