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994 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 60, NUMBER 4 (1984) Yet, for all these problems, SKE nevertheless represented R's own personal winnowing of his files—his personal gleaning ofsome 1800 entries which, in his final months, he had culled from the nearly 5,000 cards in his decades-old collection of Korean etymological notes. But some 3,000 of R's Korean etymological cards remained unedited and unpublished at the time of his death. These eventually found their way into the library of the Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura, and it is from among these that Kho has now pieced together some 1,100 Paralipomena. Given Ramstedt's pioneering role in Altaic historical linguistics, one can easily understand our Finnish colleagues' determination to make his Nachlässe available to scholarship. But it is more difficult to agree with them that this volume , at least in the form in which it has now appeared, will either enhance his reputation, or increase our understanding ofthe history ofKorean . The same problems to which Rosen's study drew attention are present to an even more striking degree in all these fragments which Ramstedt himself had earlier decided not to publish; yet these fragments are now published 'as closely to their original shape as possible , i.e. as they were written on the cards and in margins of the books left by [R] ... it was unanimously decided not to add any evaluations or fundamental corrections to [R's] materials' (p. 4). R's Korean citations were always one of the weakest links in his comparative work, mainly because he had no access to speakers ofthe language apart from the ten busy years that he had spent as a diplomat in the Far East (1919-29). Kho is a native speaker of Korean. But our Helsinki colleagues, instead of (at the very least) setting him to verify the forms and meanings of R's Korean citations, have had him spend two years learning to decipher R's handwriting in half a dozen languages, and then type the camera -ready copy for this volume (p. 6). Am I alone in finding this a curious misuse of a native speaker? Also puzzling are Kho's strident strictures both against the genetic relationship of the Altaic languages themselves, and against any Korean -Altaic link—documented in the 'Foreword ' to this volume (p. 4), and elsewhere (e.g. Hangül 177.179-90 [1982], where Kho dismisses Korean-Altaic comparison as 'this kind of absurdities', 181). One begins to wonder whether the ultimate reason for this curious volume may not be an equally curious dialectic concerning R and his work that appears to be increasingly in vogue in Helsinki linguistic circles—a dialectic that would make ofR a great man and a memorable Finnish scholar, but for all that one who foolishly devoted his life to the obstinate pursuit of a scientific chimaera, the 'Altaic hypothesis'. Or, as Kho here verbalizes it. '[R's] work on Korean has a value quite irrespective of whether Korean should be considered an "Altaic" language or not' (4). If accumulating evidence that might appear further to bolster this Looking-Glass Land dialectic was the ultimate aim of this publication, then Kho has done his work well. Fortunately, R's position in the history of Altaic linguistics, and in the study of Korean, is secure. Those of us who daily work with his enormous œuvre will continue to honor his memory, despite the many puzzles and problems with which his work always confronts us. Nor need we concern ourselves with hair-splitting neo-Thomistic distinctions between the man and his work: both were truly great. Both the Altaic field and Korean linguistics still sorely need a complete revision and reworking of SKE, along the lines explored by Rosen. When that work can at last be undertaken, portions of these Paralipomena fragments will naturally find their proper place within the total context of R's work with Korean. Until then, this ill-considered publication, though frequently infuriating, must simply be dismissed as the minor annoyance that it actually is. [Roy Andrew Miller, University of Washington.] Japanese in action: An unorthodox approach to the spoken language and the people who speak...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 994-995
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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