Proposal to add "Kore' as Suppress-Script for 'ko'

Doug Ewell dewell at
Thu Jul 12 08:55:34 CEST 2007

Mark Davis <mark dot davis at icu dash project dot org> wrote:

> Similarly the preferred forms of
> ko-Kore-KO
> are
> ko-KO // should be suppressed IMO

There's no unified KO, of course; there's only KR and KP, which brings 
back the question of whether usage in KR and in KP is different enough 
to justify different script tagging.  As we will see, I think it is not.

Addison Phillips <addison at yahoo dash inc dot com> wrote:

> Adding "kore" to "ko" seems natural enough, but I also think it 
> problematic (shouldn't we suppress pure Hangul too??).

Well, obviously we can't, as there'd be no way to derive the missing 
script.  But wait.

> In fact and in practice, the script subtag says nothing about the 
> range of characters in a document bearing the subtag. I could label 
> this document as being "en-Latn-US", even though it includes the word 
> 文字化け.

And this is why I don't think there is a problem with suppressing Kore. 
Similar to the other "alias" script subtags (Hrkt and Jpan), Kore 
represents "some combination" of Hangul and Han (Hanja).  It isn't 
stated that the combination must be 50/50, and in fact it won't be 
anywhere near that for Korean.  Modern Korean is almost always written 
overwhelmingly in Hangul with (as CE called it) a smattering of Hanja, 
even in governmental and scholarly works.  (For Jpan there is typically 
a larger concentration of Kanji, but the principle is the same.)

In fact, consistent with Addison's observation that "en-Latn" text may 
contain some occasional non-Latin characters, I contend that a given 
sample of "ko-Kore" text *might actually not contain any Hanja at all*. 
The important determining factor that makes such text different from 
"ko-Hang" is that it is not *assumed* to be free of Hanja.  Rather, it 
is written in the typical Korean mixed writing system and just 
coincidentally happens to be all Hangul (just as this en-Latn message 
happens to contain no instances of the letter Z, until now :).

I understand this may be controversial, but I think it explains a key 
difference between Kore and Hang.  A children's book might be written in 
ko-Hang, meaning that a deliberate effort was made to avoid all use of 
Hanja.  A newspaper article would be written in ko-Kore, meaning that 
its author recognizes Hanja as part of the overall writing system, even 
if no Hanja are actually used.  This also explains how North and South 
Korea can both be considered to use Kore, if there is any use of Hanja 
at all in the DPRK (as says 
there is).

Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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