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Topics - Korean Language

The following explanation about the suffixes on Korean words was supplied to the Korean War Educator by Young Kyun Oh, Lecturer of Korean, Arizona State University.

I believe that Koji-do is Ko^je-do (o^ indicates the vowel o with a breve on it, a lax vowel similar to English u as in 'gun', in McCune-Reischauer System of Korean romanization). Ko^je-do is located on the southern sea (towards the east) of Korea near Pusan. There used to be a POW camp during the Korean War, where my father was detained as a young man in 1953. In the romanization system set out by the Korean government (enacted 3 years ago), it is spelled Geoje-do.

Ri is a rural district unit, similar to 'town' in the US system. Rural admistratative districts are formatted (from larger to smaller units): do/to (province) - kun/gun (county) - myo^n (district) - ri (town). This -do/to as in 'province' is different from -do as in Ko^je-do, the latter meaning 'island'.

I believe -ni is a variation of -ri caused by a phonological rule of Korean. The segment /ri/ becomes nasalized after certain consonants, such as -k, -p, or other nasal consonants (-m, -n, -ng): e.g. Yangchon-ni, but Misa-ri.

If I guessed correctly, -song is '-so^ng' meaning 'castle' or 'fortress', such as Nam Han san-so^ng "Mountain Fortress of South Han River"

Contact Information:

Young Kyun Oh
Lecturer of Korean
Arizona State University


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