An international collaborative project led by professor John Whitman (Linguistics and EAP Associate Director for Korean Studies) has been awarded a five-year grant from the Academy of Korean Studies. The Academy of Korean Studies (한국학중앙연구원) makes only five such Laboratory Grants for Korean Studies to institutions around the world. The grant to Whitman’s project totals roughly USD1,250,000.
The project, “Korean at the Nexus of the Northeast Asian Linguistic Area”, will examine the status of Northeast Asia as a linguistic area or sprachbund. Korean has central role among the languages of this region. It shares features with languages to its north, east, and south, mirroring the central cultural and political placement of Korea that continues to this day. The project team is comprised of ten researchers from Asia, Europe, and North America, including internationally recognized experts in both the diachronic and synchronic linguistics of Northeast Asia. The team will grow to include postdoctoral and graduate assistant researchers. International conferences for the project are planned in Seoul in 2018 and St. Petersburg, Russia in 2020, as well as several workshops at Cornell.
A first workshop at Cornell, developed in collaboration with the East Asia Program’s Korean Studies Initiative, was held Sunday, October 30, 2016. “Book Culture and Vernacular Identity in Premodern Korea and East Asia” brought together a group of leading scholars to discuss the related issues of book culture and the emergence of vernaculars in a Sinocentric context: Vernacular workshop on CU Events Calendar. How local and literary vernaculars adapted Chinese characters to build texts is a question that naturally engages interdisciplinary research bridging the fields of linguistics, literary studies, philology, and media studies.
Image: Mongeonogeoldae (蒙語老乞大/몽어노걸대), first roll (卷之一), displayed in Seoul National University Kyujanggak Institute for Koreanology Studies.