Sunday, June 13, 2010

[World Cup & South Korea] Commentary on Korean Surnames & Jerseys & Phonetically sounding out Chinese names in Korean *update1*

Edit: For clarity and readability, 9:54 am, 06/13

Aside from the usage of Korea Republic instead of South Korea [and that of Korea being double represented], what I find to be the next funniest thing about the World Cup are the names listed on Korean soccer jerseys -- the conspicuous absence of surnames on jerseys.  This is the 23-man South Korean soccer team in 2010 World Cup in South Africa :

1 LEE Woon Jae 26/04/1973 GK Suwon Bluewings (KOR) 182

2 OH Beom Seok 29/07/1984 DF Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) 181

3 KIM Hyung Il 27/04/1984 DF Pohang Steelers (KOR) 187

4 CHO Yong Hyung 03/11/1983 DF Jeju Utd. (KOR) 182

5 KIM Nam Il 14/03/1977 MF Tom Tomsk (RUS) 180

6 KIM Bo Kyung 06/10/1989 MF Oita Trinita (JPN) 178

7 PARK Ji Sung 25/02/1981 MF Manchester Utd. (ENG) 178

8 KIM Jung Woo 09/05/1982 MF Gwangju Sangmu (KOR) 183

9 AHN Jung Hwan 27/01/1976 FW Dalian Shide (CHN) 177

10 PARK Chu Young 10/07/1985 FW Monaco (FRA) 183

11 LEE Seung Yeoul 06/03/1989 FW FC Seoul (KOR) 183

12 LEE Young Pyo 23/04/1977 DF Al Hilal (KSA) 177

13 KIM Jae Sung 03/10/1983 MF Pohang Steelers (KOR) 180

14 LEE Jung Soo 08/01/1980 DF Kashima Antlers (JPN) 185

15 KIM Dong Jin 29/01/1982 DF Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) 184

16 KI Sung Yueng 24/01/1989 MF Celtic (SCO) 187

17 LEE Chung Yong 02/07/1988 MF Bolton Wanderers (ENG) 180

18 JUNG Sung Ryong 04/01/1985 GK Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma (KOR) 190

19 YEOM Ki Hun 30/03/1983 MF Suwon Bluewings (KOR) 182

20 LEE Dong Gook 29/04/1979 FW Jeonbuk Motors (KOR) 187

21 KIM Young Kwang 28/06/1983 GK Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) 184

22 CHA Du Ri 25/07/1980 DF SC Freiburg (GER) 181

23 KANG Min Soo 14/02/1986 DF Suwon Bluewings (KOR) 186
Nine of the 23 players have the surname Kim and two of arguably the three most popular South Korean soccer players have the same surname -- Park. Almost as if to avoid the occurance of "Kim passes to Kim" or "Lee to Park to Park to Lee, now, again, to Park ...", South Korea has only listed given names on the jerseys. It's particularly funny when you think about the fact that in Korean, names are read surname first. Also, just for added emphasis to show how important surnames are in Korea, Korean surnames are traditionally for life as when a Korean woman gets married she keeps her surname.

I wonder how hard it must be for non-Korean speaking sports announcers to memorize South Korean players' names. Anyways, Wikipedia has a nice table (and listed below) on the most common surnames in South Korea. Apparently, Chang (Or, Jang as it is now apparently romanized) was the tenth most common surname in South Korea back in 2000 (2.05%). Of course, it gets a little more complicated than that as what may appear to be the same surname may just be a homonym with the same spelling in Korean and English. The surname I carry -- Chang/Jang, 장 () is a homonym -- in both Korean and English -- with a different Chang/Jang 장 (). Of course, even among surnames with the same spelling (same Chinese character) it can also mean that they are actually two different names(for example, Kim/김/金). 

Funny thing is this should just reinforce the notion of how important it should be to teach Sino-Korean characters in primary school and, also, goes to show, how South Koreans are keen about the way the rest of the world perceives the country.

On a side note, I find it absolutely ridiculous that South Koreans pronounce Chinese names and cities phonetically rather than spelling out the Korean character that corresponds with these characters. It's like having a loanword for centuries and while the loanword is still in use, such as say, Caesar, and then to suddenly change the spelling to "Kaiser" as, well, in Latin it was supposedly pronounced as "Kaiser." Or, going out of your way many hundreds of years after "Veni, Vidi, Vici" was taken as loan word(s) and deciding, well, we should now spell it "Wheni, Widi, Wiki." I know these are not the best examples as, well, English uses the Roman script; hopefully, however, this conveys the gist of it.

Of course, as Chinese is a tonal language, whereas Korean is not, I'm not sure how many of these homonyms with the same spelling in Korean are also homonyms in Chinese languages, but, of course, the Chinese script is not alphabetic. Anyways, it seems to be a rather transparent attempt for South Koreans to minimize the historical influence that China has had.

But, here's the list of the most common surnames in South Korea out of a population of about 45 million in 2000.

Source: Wikipedia

Hangul Hanja Revised McCune-Reischauer Popular spellings 2000 South Korean population *

김 金 Gim Kim Kim, Kym 18,925,949

이 (S)/리 (N) 5 李, 伊, 異 I (S) Ri (N) 5 Yi (S) Ri (N) 5 Lee, Yi, Rhee, Ree, Rey, Rhie 6,796,227

박 朴 Bak Pak Park, Pak, Bark, Pack 3,895,121 
정 丁, 程, 鄭 Jeong Chŏng Chung, Jung, Joung, Chong, Cheong, Choung 2,230,611

최 崔 Choe Ch'oe Choi, Che, Choy, Chey 2,169,704

조 趙, 曺 Jo Cho Cho, Joe, Joh, Jou 1,347,730

강 姜, 剛, 康, 强, 彊 Gang Kang Kang, Kahng, Kwang, Khang 1,169,805

유 (S) 류 (N) 4 柳, 劉, 兪, 庾 Yu (S) Ryu (N) 4 Yu (S) Ryu (N) 4 Yoo, You, Ryu 1,040,984

윤 尹 Yun Yun Yoon, Youn, Yune, Yeun 948,600

장 莊, 章, 張, 蔣 Jang Chang Chang, Jahng, Jhang, Gang, Zhang 943,257

신 申, 辛, 愼 Sin Sin Shin, Shinn, Sheen, Chin, Seen 911,556

임 (S) 림 (N) 6 林, 任 Im (S) Rim (N) 6 Im (S) Rim (N) 6 Lim, Yim, Rim, Leem, Rhim 735,493

한 韓, 漢 Han Han Hahn, Hann 715,556 오 伍, 吳 O O Oh, Oe, Au 706,908

서 西, 徐 Seo Sŏ Suh, Su, Sur, So, Seu 695,249

전 全, 田, 錢 Jeon Chŏn Jun, Chun, Chon, Jeun, Cheon 687,867

권 權 Gwon Kwŏn Kwon, Kweon, Kwun, Gwon, Kwan 652,495

황 黃 Hwang Hwang Whang, Hoang 644,294

송 宋, 松 Song Song Soung, Shong, Sung 639,082

안 安 An An Ahn, Ann, Aan 637,786

홍 洪 Hong Hong Houng, Hyong 518,635

양 (S) 량 (N) 1 梁, 楊, 樑, 襄 Yang (S) Ryang (N) 1 Yang (S) Ryang (N) 1 Ryang, Yaung, Lyang 486,645

고 高 Go Ko Ko, Koh, Goh, Kho, Gho, Kor 435,839

문 門, 文 Mun Mun Moon 426,927

손 孫 Son Son Sohn, Shon, Soon, Soun, Sun 415,182

배 裵 Bae Pae Bai, Bea, Pae, Pai 372,064

백 白 Baek Paek Baik, Back, Paik, Paek, Beak 351,275

허 許 Heo Hŏ Hur, Huh, Her, Hu, Ho 300,448

노 (S) 로 (N) 盧, 魯, 路 No (S) Ro (N) No (S) Ro (N) Noh, Roh, Ro, Rho, Nho 290,434

남 南 Nam Nam Nahm, Nham, Narm 257,178

심 沈 Sim Sim Shim, Seem, Sheem, Shimn, Sihm 252,255

주 周, 朱 Ju Chu Joo, Chu, Choo, Jou, Zoo 215,010

하 河, 夏 Ha Ha Hah, Har 213,758

성 成, 星 Seong Sŏng Sung, Soung, Seung, Song 185,363

차 車 Cha Ch'a Char, Chah, Tchah, Tcha 180,589

우 于, 禹 U U Woo, Wu, Ou, Wo, Uh 180,141

나 (S) 라 (N) 羅 Na (S) Ra (N) Na (S) Ra (N) Ra, Nah, La, Rha, Rah 172,022

진 晉, 眞, 陳, 秦 Jin Chin Chin, Jean, Gin, Zhin, Chen 170,980

민 閔 Min Min Minn, Mihn 159,054

지 智, 池 Ji Chi Jee, Ch, Gi, Chee, Gee 147,572

엄 嚴 Eom Ŏm Um, Eum, Uhm, Aum, Oum, Ohm 132,990

변 卞, 邊 Byeon Pyŏn Byun, Byon, Pyun, Byoun, Pyon 131,554

원 元, 袁, 苑 Won Wŏn Weon, Woon, Wone, Wun, One 120,465

방 方, 房, 邦, 龐 Bang Pang Pang, Bhang, Bahng, Pahng, Phang 119,703

채 采, 菜, 蔡 Chae Ch'ae Chai, Che, Chea 119,251

천 天, 千 Cheon Ch'ŏn Chun, Chon, Chen, Choun 112,227

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