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Re: Fwd (from Conculture): Accepted Crimes

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Monday, November 13, 2000, 23:55
On Tue, 14 Nov 2000, Kristian Jensen wrote:

> Yoon Ha Lee wrote: > > >On Sun, 12 Nov 2000, H. S. Teoh wrote: > > > >> On Mon, Nov 13, 2000 at 12:37:44AM +0100, Kristian Jensen wrote: > >> > OK... since no one reacted to this in Conculture, then I must assume > >> > there are no Koreans in that list. I'm therefore forwarding this message > >> > here in CONLANG. Yooohooo! Koreans!!! ;) > >> [snip] > >> > >> * /me expects a loooong juicy post from YHL ;-) * > > > >Eh? What post was this? Grad school applications have been putting me > >out of action. Any chance you could forward the message to me off-list? > >I'd like to take a look at it. :-p > > > >YHL, token Korean(-American) > > I take it you're not in the Conculture mailing-list then... however, > I already forwarded the message to Conlang-L, but it seems you always > miss my posts and Teoh has conveniently snipped it above... Oh well, > here it is again (and I hope you're not too busy to have a look at it > this time).: 8)
Heh, it's not just your posts, I summarily delete tens of posts every day without looking at them based on the subject header. I'd like to join Conculture someday when I find I'm *not* summarily deleting Conlang posts because even skimming them all would take too long. And even when I skim the first screen of a post, I don't necessarily *finish* reading the thing, and may delete it as well. I know there was an intriguing of geminates, but not knowing what a geminate is, and having missed the first part of the discussion, convinced me to delete all those messages. Prioritization, is all. <sigh>
> I wrote: > >OK... since no one reacted to this in Conculture, then I must assume > >there are no Koreans in that list. I'm therefore forwarding this message > >here in CONLANG. Yooohooo! Koreans!!! ;) > > > >Brad Coon wrote: > >>Kristian Jensen wrote: > >>ans... > >>> > >>> Something that has always bugged me about the Boreanesian > >>> kinship/marriage system is its viability in a large population. The are > >>> no precedents in the real world where moieties exist in a society with > >>> quite a large population. I have this creepy feeling that there are bound > >>> to be many Boreanesians that will commit incest as dictated by the > >> > >>Aacckkk, stepping in where my ignorance will show, I believe that > >>Korea has this problem. Something I vaguely recall from a newspaper > >>article (and we all know that newspapers are always correct) is that > >>there are a limited number of clan (?) names in Korea and one is not > >>allowed to marry within one's own. Not sure where to tell you to > >>look for more information but I seem to recall that either conculture > >>or conlang has Korean members who can surely tell you more than I. > > I'm wondering if the article Brad Coon had read is true. Are there > limited clan names in Korea, and are they exogamous (i.e., one is not > allowed to marry one from the same clan)? If they are exogamous, are > there problems of interclan incest (i.e., people DO marry others from > the same clan despite the rules of exogamy)? If so, how is it delt > with? I'm asking because it seems that the Boreanesians might be > experiencing a similar problem with intermoietal incest, and I'm > curious as to how real world cultures deal with the problem (if it is > a problem).
Well, the newspaper-data cited above is no longer correct. There *was* a law forbidding members of the same clan name to marry, and it's true that there are a limited number of clan names (have you ever looked at a Korean phone book? <shudder>). However, this is complicated by the fact that you have *subclans* within the clan names. My dad, for example, is an /i/ from a particular Han River area. He could legitimately have married an /i/ clan member from, oh, the Pusan area even before the law was repealed (amidst considerable opposition from traditional/conservative Koreans, according to my mom). So it's not completely correct to say you can't marry within the same clan name, because there used to be some sort of system for determining which people in-clan were "Safe" and which weren't, based rather more on tradition than anything to do with modern genetics. OTOH since women were (I believe) stricken from their own family's records when they were married off into another family, keeping track of this could be a pain in the butt. Also, even when the law *was* in force, people would find ways to get around it sometimes (especially if a marriage match was advantageous to both families--Korea even today has many arranged marriages, though my parents' wasn't one; my mom's family strongly opposed her marrying an unknown pauper). I think fudging records and so on were involved, but I don't recall details clearly. Frankly, if enough village elders and family heads-of-house and so on are willing to look the other way, "intermoietal incest" (if that's the term?) could happen, and the way my mom tells it, it probably happened a lot. Korea's a great place for shoving things under the carpet. :-/ So while the name-business makes it look like it'd be hard to get married in Korea, it never to my knowledge reached any sort of crisis point; there must be tens, if not hundreds, of "subclans" each of Kims and Lee's/Yi's/Rhee's and Oh's, etc. I must add that the above discussion applies to post-WWII/Korean War South Korea. I don't actually know what the system was *legally* under Chosun Korea or the Japanese occupation, though I imagine the tradition does date back to the Chosun period or thenabouts. You'd probably be better off asking a "real" Korean, who'd have a better chance of knowing such details! YHL