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Month: October 2016

Yirgacheffe coffee from Ethiopia and writing Amharic names in Korean

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and the aromatic Yirgacheffe coffee is one of the most prized local varieties. In Korea, where it has earned the nickname ‘Noblewoman of Coffee’, this coffee bean most often goes under the name 예가체프 , while more recently some people have also started calling it 이르가체페 . But the form closest to the original pronunciation would in fact be 이르가처페 . Yirgacheffe is a town in south central Ethiopia that lends its name to the surrounding…

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How do you write Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s name in Korean?

Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (born 1938) is a giant of African literature. His name comes up every year as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and though he was passed over in favour of a certain Bob Dylan this year, last month he was awarded the 6th Pak Kyongni Prize, the literary award established in honour of Korean author Pak Kyongni (박경리, 1926–2008) best known for her 16-volume saga Toji (토지 ‘Land’). In 12 December 2014, the…

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Writing the name of Thai Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn in Korean

After the recent death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช [pʰuː.mí.pʰon ʔà.dun.já.dèːt], 1927–2016) of Thailand, who was the longest reigning monarch in the world, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn (วชิราลงกรณ [wá.ʨʰí.rāː.lōŋ.kɔːn], born 1952) is expected to be crowned the next king after a period of mourning. In 26 April 2005, the 62nd Council of the Joint Committee of the Government and Press on Loanword Review (정부·언론 외래어 심의 공동위원회) decided that ‘Maha Wajiralongkorn’ (including the title มหา meaning ‘great’) should be written 마하…

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Starting out

I have decided to stake out a tiny corner of the internet as a repository for my language-related musings in the English language that don’t fit into my previous online ventures. These include a blog in Korean and more recently pronouncer.org, a website conceived as an online pronunciation resource.

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