As a rule, the earliest texts in classical Chinese outside of today’s PRC borders (in the second to fifth-sixth centuries CE) were of an administrative or sacral character, and mostly were generated either by early states or by aristocrats playing an important role in the formation of early statehood. As the Buddhist faith penetrated through different social layers in the societies of the Korean Peninsula
Chinese writing was not completely unknown to the proto-Korean contemporaries of the Chinese Warring States period
On having conquered the territory of ancient Chosŏn, the Han Empire
Given that the remnants of a brush and knife used for making wooden tablets
However, it should not be thought that all those who were literate in classical Chinese in Koguryŏ were necessarily either high-ranking Chinese migrants or aristocratic officials. We know that fifty-four Koguryŏ tiles with inscriptions have been excavated up until the present day (in most cases, in Jian county, Jilin province of today’s PRC, nearby the North Korean
Koguryŏ’s proximity to the Chinese dynastic states, and the large number of Chinese migrants integrated into Koguryŏ society, seem to have made any attempt to invent a separate local writing system
The situation of at least one state in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula
The cultural policies of Paekche’s eastern neighbor, Silla
By the late seventh century—when Silla
At the same time, it is important to note that idu in reality, was a complimentary writing system rather than an alternative to classical Chinese. It underwent a course of development—from the earlier, late fifth to late seventh century documents (typified by the wooden tablet
In the late Silla
Some subdivisions of idu possessed a distinctive functionality. For example, hyangch’al (literally “native script”) was utilized exclusively for ritual poetry
While the invention in 1443–1444 of the Korean alphabet
Third, the alphabet was used by lower-ranking administrators for certain documents—especially these pertaining to the legal proceedings—that were to be announced to or read by the broader community, including the women and commoners who sometimes could read the alphabet but were almost completely illiterate in Chinese writing. Typically, personal attests or certificates of various kinds (sugi, or sup’yo)—for example, sale and purchase receipts or the divorce agreements between commoners (in the families of aristocratic officials, with their strict Confucian norms
Before the status of classical Chinese as the state’s official script was abolished as a part of modernizing reforms in 1894,35 it used to function as the main administrative tool and the main medium of elite communication in various states on the Korean peninsula for two millennia. The locally devised systems, originally based on Chinese writing (idu
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Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (2010, 168–169).
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Table of Contents
Markham J. Geller, Jens Braarvig
Markham J. Geller, Jens Braarvig
Part I: General Reflections
2 Dependent Languages
Part II: Europe
4 Konrad of Megenberg: German Terminologies and Expressions as Created on Latin Models
5 What Language Does God Speak?
Florentina Badalanova Geller
6 Islamic Mystical Poetry and Alevi Rhapsodes From the Village of Sevar, Bulgaria
Florentina Badalanova Geller
Part III: Ancient Near East
8 Sumerian in the Middle Assyrian Period
9 The Concept of the Semitic Root in Akkadian Lexicography
Markham J. Geller
10 Multilingualism in the Elamite Kingdoms and the Achaemenid Empire
12 Some Observations on Multilingualism in Graeco-Roman Egypt
Alexandra von Lieven
Part IV: India and Central Asia
14 Aspects of Multilingualism in Turfan as Seen in Manichaean Texts
Part V: China
15 Multilingualism and Lingua Franca in the Ancient Chinese World
William G. Boltz
17 Classical Chinese as Lingua Franca in East Asia in the First to Second Millennia CE: Focusing on the Linguistic Situation in Traditional Korea
Part VI: The Americas
18 Multilingualism and Lingua Francae of Indigenous Civilizations of America
Lars Kirkhusmo Pharo
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