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Punctuation / 구두점

At the beginning, Han-geul and Hanja were unpunctuated. Now, they are, in the Western style, unlike Korea's CJK neighbours.
Other than having a space before the colon (like French), how else do Korean punctuation differ from the English?
-- Menchi, 2003년 6월 2일 (月)

I can answer this!

[http]Hangeul spelling is the current South Korean national standard. (Ministry of Culture, Notification No. 88-1. That is, last revised in 1988.) It's exceedingly nice document... (I love Hangeul spelling!) but I'm not aware of any translation. This regulation consists of five parts and an appendix, and in the appendix punctuations are treated. Sorry, since I don't know well about English ones, I'm afraid that I cannot answer your question on differences now. I'll read Wikipedia articles on English punctuations and will answer.

On the other hand, since you wrote the most of Hangeul article on Wikipedia, you must know that we don't need any hyphens for syllabication purpose. Hangeul's block structure does that for us.

Standard for grammar, if I can help your understanding. --PuzzletChung

I must disagree with PuzzletChung. Although it is called "hangeul majcumbeob", it is *not* a grammar standard. It is a *spelling* standard. Although modern Korean writing system doesn't write phonemes blindly but tries to reveal word-root, so there's many gramatical stuffs there, they must be differentiated. --서상현

Sorry I mistook. Spelling and punctuation. --PuzzletChung

[http]This one (1987) seems to be North Korean standard. One difference I can make out is that South's regulation defines distinct punctuations for vertical writing, and North's specifically mentions "punctuation in vertical writing is identical to those of horizontal writing".

Both standard are not very different, since both are derived from "Proposal for unified Hangeul spelling (1933)", which shaped the current form of Modern Hangeul writing. (pre-1933 documents use some glyphs we no more use, and not consistent, so hard to read for modern Koreans.) 1933 proposal was the result of three-year standardization effort, of 125 meetings. (From the foreward of the proposal.) And note that at that time Korea was under Japanese rule... I respect them. And it seems that it was very quickly adopted by almost all Koreans, from authors to journalists.

Thanks. That Culture SK page is very clean. However, there lists some punctuation marks whose usage I can't understand from the examples given.
  1. 숨김표(××): Are they to draw attention? Or to mark mistakes? Or...?
  2. What are the differences between:
    1. 큰따옴표(" "), 겹낫표(『 』)
    2. 반점(,), 모점(、 )
    3. 온점(.), 고리점(。 )
  3. Are the latter (full character-space) ones traditional? Are they still used in modern writing and publications?
    -- Menchi, June 9, 2003

Here's my crude translation:

1) 숨김표(×), Hiding mark: Used for hiding information, deliberately, even if they are known to the writer. Case 1: To hide taboo words or vulgarism. "How can the learned say words like ××?" Case 2: To hide confidential information. "Brigade No. ×× also participated in the operation." This is different from 빠짐표(□), Missing mark, used when the writer doesn't have information.

2) I already answered that, but you didn't notice. :-) South Korean regulation defines distinct punctuations for vertical writing, and North Korean one specifically mentions "punctuation in vertical writing is identical to those of horizontal writing". The latter punctuations are full character-spaced, traditional, and intended to be used only in vertical writing. There are some rare cases they are used in horizontal writing, but it is non-standard.

Your translation isn't crude at all. They convey the style of the precise official language well.
Sorry, I did see your points the directional difference, but I think what it means is that in in horizontal writing, the punctuation mark's direction is changed as well somehow, like rotated 90%. Now that I think about it, I realize that it's impossible, because vertically or horizontally, the characters always face downward, therefore, so should the punctuation marks. ;)

Q: So there's no difference between ×× and ㅇ ㅇ?
-- Menchi, June 10, 2003, 09:10

A: No difference. --서상현

Spaces / 띄어쓰기 (Unanswered: AnswerMe)

How are the empty spaces, as a word-divider, used differently from English?
  1. Do you place a space around the possessive (the 's in Mary's dog)?
  2. Why is "한영사전" one continous word when there are three things: Korean-English Dictionary?
-- Menchi, 10:00 June 11, 2003


For emphasizing a word, do Koreans use italics (like the English) or "quotation marks" (like the Chinese)? -- Menchi, 19:44 August 10, 2003

Technically, you are supposed to place dot over every letter you want to emphasize, like this:
And small circles when you write vertically, like this:
(These are Korean for "like this.") However, when you do some of these, you have to write in two raws of character. (None of the word processor provide us to do this naturally.) Hard to find a character for a full-row dot, either. (Finally, I choose to use arae-a ?.) In the internet we use any of the alternatives: italics, bolds and quotation marks. But Korean in italics would find low readability. I prefer to use single quotation marks. --PuzzletChung
Answer from PuzzletChung is indeed a very technical answer ;) Here is some more practical answer in daily office / internet life.
  • Bold always works.
  • Changing font to 'Dotum' from 'Gulim' would work.
  • Underline would work.
  • Changing font size bigger than normal would work.
  • Changing font color would work.
- 김민수 2003.8.10

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