Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PBS Newshour on President Lee's and President Obama's chummy visit to Detroit

I've long said that PBS's Newshour is probably the single best source of news in the United States, and when it came to ROK President Lee Myungbak's visit to Washington DC and Michigan, they have not let me down. If you want to get a useful, objective, and meaningful overview of Lee's trip to the US and what it all means, this is where you'll find it.

The eight-minute piece covers all the bases, from the recently ratified free-trade agreement to the challenges the two close allies face with North Korea. (After you listen to them discuss North Korea, go read this inspiring piece I wrote on what we can do about North Korea.)

As an added bonus, the Korea-US trade relationship is also discussed in the opening of this piece on the politics of job creation in the US.

Oh, I forgot to editorialize a bit on the way the PBS reporter grossly mispronounces "Cheonan." Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm an advocate for the McCune-Reischauer system of Romanization that was made official in preparation for the 1988 Seoul Olympics but which was replaced by the current "Revised" Romanization (a throwback to a failed older system) in preparation for the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup. You can get a taste for some of my reasons in this lengthy comment.

Though many don't care for writing breves over the o and u to get ŏ and ŭ, the eo and eu that have replaced them are far worse options (explained in more detail here). Reading "Cheonan," the reporter (just past the 2:30 mark) as chee-OH-nahn. Did you catch that? She looked at eo and thought it was ee-oh, not uh or the o in son or computer. Instead of 천안 (or even 초난), we got 치난.

Romanization fail. She seems to get it better a little later when she pronounces the vowels in Yŏnpyŏng-do as just one syllable. She's still off, but I'd say she's closer, and I'm guessing she was reading "Yonpyong" instead of "Yeonpyeong" (I don't pretend to think McCune-Reischauer will, with or without breves, make people magically pronounce the 어 and 으 perfectly correctly every time, but it will be far closer than eo and eu).

I really need to get going on my uber post on the superiority of McCune-Reischauer, especially if they really decide to scrap Revised Romanization (Brian doesn't agree with me).



  1. Im looking forward for the job creation in the US, whic Korea-US trade were discussed.

  2. Reading "Cheonan," the reporter (just past the 2:30 mark) as chee-OH-nahn. Did you catch that? She looked at eo and thought it was ee-oh, not uh or the o in son or computer. Instead of 천안 (or even 초난), we got 치오난.

    Romanization fail.

    I don't think it was the romanization, but the reporter's own errors. 'Cheonan' looks the way it should be pronounced, especially since there's an 'n' after the 'cheo'.

  3. It looks the way it should be pronounced? Maybe you're so used to seeing eo as a stand-in for 어 that it starts to make sense to you. But there are few or no words in English where "eo" would be pronounced 어, and when native English speakers and others who are unfamiliar with this diphthong see it, they think two syllables.


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