"Korean is the world's most superior language"
Astounding news from respected University of Hawaii professor of linguistics Sohn Ho-min:
"When we say Korean is superior, we are basing this on scientific examination. The Korean language's method of making sound through a combination of vowels and consonants is very scientific and economical, even."And we can believe it because in this Korea Herald article, "Korean language scientifically superior," the reporter, Shin Hae-in, assures us that:
"As a scholar who has spent the past four decades studying his mother-tongue and language in general, professor Sohn Ho-min should know what he's talking about when he says Korean is the world's most superior language."Unfortunately, the article never explains in what way the "combination of vowels and consonants" in Korean is "scientifically superior" because the term "scientific" remains undefined, unless this has some connection to "economical," but that term seems to be a separate adjective, intended to describe the language, not to define "scientific."
Moreover, I have to wonder if this reporter has really understood Professor Sohn Ho-min. Perhaps the good professor actually is a linguistic chauvinist, but a close reading of the entire article does not turn up an exact quote with Sohn claiming that "Korean is the world's most superior language." The reporter supposedly paraphrases Sohn as saying this, but no quote is provided.
I presume that Sohn was speaking in Korean, and I suspect that Sohn was talking not about the Korean language (한국말, Hangungmal), but about the Korean alphabet (한글, Hangul), instead. In that case, the statement by Sohn would read:
"The Korean alphabet's method of making sound through a combination of vowels and consonants is very scientific and economical, even."If Sohn said that and maintained merely that "When we say the Korean alphabet is superior, we are basing this on scientific examination," then his statement is more reasonable, for he's not speaking of a natural language but of an invented alphabet, and he does not directly state that the Korean alphabet is "the world's most superior" alphabet.
Sohn might, of course, actually mean that it is "the world's most superior" alphabet, and if so, then his statement is the problematic sort of nationalist claim that Koreans often make about Korea's writing system, i.e., Hangul, but offering only reasons that seem unconvincing to most non-Koreans.
But I'd need to know exactly what Sohn claimed.
Labels: Korean Language