Isn't change just a nasty thing? Them old folk sitting around jawboning about the good ol' days have got it right. For example, how much better Korean used to be before the process of palatalization
Yep, those old listeners used to be able to tell the difference between, for example, "to fall 디다" and "to bear on the back 지다" or "to get fatter (살) 지다" just by the sound of the word and no need to rely on such frivolities as context.
There is a whole string of victims to the declining industry in pronunciation:
- "to pound with a pestle 디흘" ⇔ "to name (이름) 지흘."
- "good 됴흔" ⇔ "clean/clear 조흔" [both "으" are actually 아래아 but precious few have installed the archaic Korean font required to view it, your web diarist included.]
- "straw 딥" ⇔ "house 집"
- "that 뎌" ⇔ "to put physical effort in 져" or "chopsticks "져"
People used to have no problem saying their d-before-i and could even prove their tongue dexterity by slipping in a glide vowel! But then all of the sudden, around the end of the 16th century, things began to shift.
People began not saying 뎔 to mean Buddhist temple anymore.
Useful verbs like "to carry 디니다," and "to keep/protect 디키다" went the way of the chyrannosaurus rex. And there wasn't even a huge meteor impact to trigger the change!
"It's just to hard," I'm sure was their excuse as they gradually adopted "절" and "지키다."
Nowadays it looks strangely archaic to see something written "뎌." Rather like Chaucer's spelling. Or saying "Ye Olde..."임권택
thought it would be cool to lean on the archaic feel of the ㄷ as ㅈ effect in the title of his 판소리 move 춘향뎐
. But he confused a whole slew of little 중학생 who hadn't learned about palitazation in 국어 class yet. They began fretting and madly writing their friends to figure out the relationship between 춘향전 and 춘향뎐
Now, of course, The Story of Spring Fragrance was originally oral literature and, as such it existed in many versions that differed depending on the mood of the narrator as well as probably the response of the audience on any given day. The Sanchon Hunjang can't find any specific reference to 춘향뎐 as such, but the character 傳 is glossed with the pronunciation 뎐
. So, while we can't be sure whether Mr. Im is just trying to lend an archaic flavor or whether he's following an actual name that was written somewhere.
To recap, we now have 디 / 뎌 → 지 / 져 or 저, in spite of 임권택 trying to turn back the clock.
People adjusted to the changed sound of those vocabulary items. And it was accepted that ㄷ is not followed by ㅣ or ㅕ, just like leading ㄹ are simplified to ㅇ or ㄴ. Once again all was right with the world.
But then one day somebody came along with a nifty new electronic device. Everyone who beheld it wanted to have one. They asked the owner what the name was, and she, fresh returned from the West, said "radio." Everyone ooh-ed and ah-ed. But how are you gonna say "radio" when you can't say "디" any more (let's just ignore the point that leading ㄹ are also not allowed in Korean...unless you're a 빨갱이, that is)? 라지오? 너무 이상하잖아. A solution had to be found. Some bright soul who has doubtless been lost in the sands of time came up with the wonderful compromise of 라듸오. Wonderful!
Well, we can do the same with that other awkward word that we need to put on each architectural masterpiece in the country: 삘딍.
Then more time passed, and most people forgot why we needed that weird 듸 thing in the first place. So it was simplified in the official orthography. So now we have 라디오
. But every once in a while you run in to an ornery old coot who refuses to adopt the changes. Or worse, somebody who intentionally
archaizes by adopting these no longer accepted spellings. So you still find 라듸오
. Whachya gonna do with people like that? You've just got to shame them into adopting the new spelling by attacking their lack of 우리말 사랑.
So now, at a small fraction of the expense for re-claiming the land for an airport off 영정도, the Korean people have reclaimed the original 디! Except now it has a funny foreign feel to it. We've come full circle!
디 → 지 → 디
Now that it's kindly accepted by the Keepers of the Language, everyone should feel free to write "레이디" to their hearts' content. Just like the 경향 publishers do
But isn't life just a complex mess? Doesn't something always fall through the cracks? 역시. You can still see the 지 that should have turned back into a 디 at the stroke of twelve but somehow failed to transform in the funny word"다방레지
." How could this have been allowed to happen? And what the should be the effect on 티켓다방
휴 머리 아프려고 한다.
오늘 할일 다 끝났으니 딥에 가서 쉬어야디. ^^