[Dialogue] Modern Korean: Its Turbulent History and Promising Present / Paik Nak-chung, Lim Hyung-taek, Jung Seung-Chul, Choi Kyeongbong

The Quarterly Changbi 188, Summer 2020

 

Abstract

After considering the ups and downs that the Korean language has gone through in our tumultuous modern history, four intellectuals—Korean linguists Jung Seung-Chul and Choi Kyeongbong, Chinese literature scholar Lim Hyung-taek, and literary critic and English literature scholar Paik Nak-chung—take a careful look at its current status. While overviewing how the attempt at standardizing the Korean language, ongoing since the late 19th century, has been carried out as a project of modernization, they also critically examine various contemporary institutions controlling our language, such as standard language and loanword orthography. By going beyond the boundary of Korean linguistics and expanding our thoughts into the areas of the double project of modernity and the theory of the commons, we hope that this dialogue, touching in broad strokes on where our language life stands now and what possibilities it has, will lead us to a livelier discussion about issues regarding language, including Korean.