Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What happened to Timothy J. Warnberg (1954 - 1993)?

In September 1982, I started Level 3 classes at the Yonsei Korean Language Institute in Seoul, Korea. In a Level 6 class, there was a young man about my age who I was told was quite fluent in Korean. The person who told me gave me an example of how fluent he was, but I cannot remember what the example was. Anyway, I got to hear the guy speak Korean at his graduation ceremony, and he seemed pretty fluent to me, especially since I had just finished the Level 3 courses. The guy's name was Tim Warnberg, an ex-Peace Corps volunteer who was an eyewitness to atrocities committed during the Kwangju Uprising.

I got to talk to Tim before he left to study at the University of Hawaii, but we did not talk about Kwangju because I was more curious to know how he learned to speak the Korean language so well. I was hoping he could give me some tips on studying the language. I do not remember what he told me, but I do remember being impressed by him, and I remember him being a nice guy. At the time, he was my idol in the sense that I wanted to learn to speak Korean as well as he did.

After Tim left Korea, I never heard anymore about him, which surprised me because he seemed like someone who would become well-known in the field of Asian Studies. I kind of expected him to get a professorship at some university, maybe even the University of Hawaii, but he just seemed to disappear until a 1987 article entitled "The Kwangju Uprising: An Inside View," by Tim Warnberg.

After that article, Tim Warnberg really did seem to just disappear. I do not know of anything else that he wrote. I assumed that he got a job with some US government agency and just disappeared into the system.

A few years back I did a computer search on Tim Warnberg and found something to make me think he had died, but nothing else. Tonight I did another search and found that he did, indeed, die on February 7, 1993 at the age of 38. The only thing I was able to find was part of an obituary from the February 8, 1993 edition of the "St. Cloud Times" of Saint Cloud, Minnesota.
1954, in Brainerd to Chuck and Lorraine Warnberg. He was a 1973 graduate of Brainerd High School, a graduate of the University of Morris, University of Hawaii and was working on his PHD under a fellowhip at University of Hawaii. He was in the Peace Corps in South Korea for three years with one year at a leprosy village and taught at the University of Yonsei-Seoul. Survivors include his parents; sisters and brothers, Roxanne Wilson, Sartell; Susan Silvernale, Lakeville; Lisa Tuomi, Brainerd; Todd, Antwerp, Belgium; Tom, Barron, Wis.; and Dave, Sacramento, Calif. He was preceded in death by a brother, Jeffrey. The family requests no flowers. Burial will be Oakhill Cemetery, Sartell.
It is sad to think that the only thing left to remember Tim Warnberg are the memories of his friends and family and an article he wrote in 1987, even though it was a very good article.

P.S. I found additional information on Tim Warnberg:
Tim Warnberg
Class of 1973
Passed Feb 07, 1993
Tim died of Aids. He used his illness as an education tool for others. He spoke at workshops about Aids & how it has affected him."
The following is an apparent scan from what I have read was a Peace Corps yearbook or something

Monday, November 28, 2016

What does 遠水難濟近火 (원수난제근화) mean?

In Naver's Chinese Character Dictionary (한자사전), the following Chinese expression appears:
Instead of translating the expression, Naver, for some reason, paraphrases and explains it as follows:
"먼 데 있는 물은 가까운 데의 불을 끄는 데는 쓸모가 없다는 뜻으로, 무슨 일이든 멀리 있는 것은 급할 때에 소용()이 없음을 이르는 말"
Why paraphrase instead of translate? The translation is easy:
“Distant () water () is no () help () [for] a nearby () fire ().”
"먼 물은 가까운 불에 도움이 없다." 
What was so hard about that? Why put a Chinese expression in a Chinese dictionary if you do not translate it?

Anyway, believe it or not, this is not what I wanted to post about. What I wanted to post about was the original expression, the one from the "Records of the Three Kingdoms," which was as follows:
Distant () water () is reluctant () to help () [with] a nearby () fire ().
Instead of "不救 (불구)," the original had "難濟 (난제)," so I wondered why it was changed. Maybe because 難濟 was too difficult to translate? I have not seen any accurate translations of the original; they all seem to be paraphrased, sometimes in Yoda-like language.

If people were confused by the original, I do not think they were confused by 濟 (제) since both  救 (구) and 濟 (제) can mean "to help" and together form the word 구제(救濟)하다, which means "to help," "to save," or "to give relief to." Koreans and Chinese may have switched from 濟 (제) to 救 (구) to avoid confusion since 濟 can also mean "to cross a river." In other words, maybe they worried people would think 濟 meant "cross a river," especially since "water" was mentioned in the expression.

But why not use the 難 (난) from the original expression? Maybe because they could not figure out how to translate it. 難 (난) is normally associated with the meaning "to be difficult," but it is hard to use that meaning to translate this sentence, even though many people try. However, besides meaning "difficult," 難 (난) can also mean "to shun," "to avoid," or "to be reluctant," which translates in Korean as "꺼리다."

In the original, I think "distant water" (遠水) was personified with the human ability to choose to help or not. Whether I am right or not, my translation flows much more smoothly than some of the translations I have seen on the Web. Plus, I can justify my translation. That's important.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How do you translate 讀書 (독서)?

讀書 (독서) can be translated as "reading (讀書) ," "reading (讀) books (書)," "books to read (讀書), or "books that are read (讀書)." With that said, here is an interesting sentence I recently translated for a book I am writing. It reminds me that the ancient Chinese were not very different from people today:
()()()()(), ()()()(), ()()()(), ()()()()()().  
[If] a person () loves himself (自愛其身), [he] only () has () books to read (讀書). [If] a person () loves () [his] children (子弟), [he] only () has () books to teach them to read (敎之讀書).

As a pronominal adverb, () means “self” or “personally,” and since it is an adverb, it always immediately precedes the verb, so 自愛 (자애) literally means “self () love ()” or “personally () love (). That means 自愛其身 (자애기신) literally means “personally () loves () his () body (),” which can be translated simply as “loves himself.” 讀書 (독서) can mean “read () books (),” so 惟讀書 (유독서) would mean “only () read () books (),” but here there is the verb (), which means “to have,” suggesting there should be an object that follows it. That means 讀書 (독서) should be translated here as a noun phrase or clause. As a noun phrase, () would be treated as an adjective, in which case 讀書 would be translated as “reading () books (),” “books for reading,” or “books to read.” As a relative clause, 讀書 (독서) would translate as “books that are read” or “books that [one] reads.” Likewise, 敎之讀書 (교지독서) can mean “teach  () them () to read () books (),” but here it should be translated as “books to teach them to read” or “books that [one] teaches them to read.”

In Korean, the
讀書 (독서) here would be translated as “읽는 () (),” and 敎之讀書 (교지독서) would be translated as “그들에게 읽기를 가르치는 (敎之讀) ().” 子弟 (자제) can mean “children,” “sons,” or “young people.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What are the nine thoughts of a superior man?

The following is my translation of passage 16.11 in the Analects of Confucius. I translated this for a book I am writing, but I am so disappointed with the translations I have seen on the Internet and even in a book I have that I decided to post it here. Why is there so much paraphrasing of this passage? Why is there still mistranslations? I don't know, but here is my translation, which is as literal as I could make it.
()()(), ()()()()(), ()()(), ()()(), ()()(), ()()(), ()()(), ()()(), ()()(), 忿()()(), ()()()(). 
Confucius (孔子) said (曰), "The superior man (君子) has () nine () thoughts (). [He] watches () [and] thinks of () discernment (), listens () [and] thinks of () retention (), [in] facial expression () thinks of () warmth (), [in] manner () thinks of () politeness (), doubts () [and] thinks of () questions (), speaks () [and] thinks of () honesty (), serves () [and] thinks of () reverence (), is angry (忿) [and] thinks of () restraint (), sees () gain () [and] thinks of () righteousness ()."
Besides meaning “bright,” () can mean “discernment,” which translates in Korean as “명찰 (明察).” () can mean “quick to hear,” but it can also mean “to have a good memory” or “to have good [mental] retention,” which translates in Korean as “총명(聰明)하다.”  Besides meaning “color,” () can also mean “facial expression,” which translates in Korean as “안색 (顔色)” or “얼굴빛.” () can mean “warm,” “soft,” or “kind.” () mean “appearance,” “bearing,” or “manner.” () can mean “politeness,” “courtesy,” or “reverence.” () can mean “loyalty,” “faithfulness,” and “honesty,” which translates in Korean as “충실(忠實)하다.” () can mean “respect” or “reverence.” 忿 () can mean “to be angry” or “to resent.” () means “difficulty” or “problem,” but it can also mean “prudence” and “restraint,” which translates in Korean as “삼가다.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

What was the Defense Language Institute (DLI) like?

I started studying Korean in January 1976 at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California. I had joined the navy in 1975 with the intention of going to DLI to study Spanish and becoming a Spanish linguist. My recruiter had essentially guaranteed I would be fluent in the language by the time I finished the intensive course there. I started boot camp in October 1975 and sometime near the end of my basic training I got my orders to go to DLI to study “KP,” an abbreviation I did recognize. “What does ‘KP’ stand for? Shouldn’t it be ‘SP’ for Spanish?” One other guy in my company in boot camp was also going to DLI to study Russian, which showed up on his orders as “RU.” His orders made sense; mine did not. Then it dawned on me: “KP, KP? Oh-no, ‘Kitchen Police’?” Were they really sending me to Monterey to learn to cook and wash dishes there? I must have failed my security clearance. Damn! I shouldn’t have told that guy investigating me that I had experimented with marijuana six or seven times in high school. When he responded, “Experimenting is one or two times, not six or seven,” I should have guessed it. (By the way, don't tell my mom.)

It took a few days, but I finally found out that “KP” stood for “North Korea,” which was almost as bad as Kitchen Police. “North Korea? Where’s that? Don’t they speak Japanese or Chinese over there? You mean I signed up for four years in the navy to learn Korean? Where am I going to use that in Texas? Just wait until I see that recruiter again.”
By the time I fly into Monterey, I have figured out where Korea is and have decided to try to make the best of it. I still do not know anything about the Korean language, though. We are told that instead of the normal 48-week Basic Korean course, we will be the first training group to go through a new 36-week course that will focus on listening instead of the unnecessary skills of reading, writing, and speaking, thereby, saving the government time and money. Wow! Our government people are geniuses, aren’t they?
Sixty people are in my training group, which is divided into three classes with three different Korean instructors. My instructor is an old guy who is originally from North Korea and can barely speak English. The first thing he does on the first day of class is to take a pointer and point to a picture of an animal on a chart. He says its Korean name and tells us to repeat it. After doing that for about a dozen animals, he points again to the first animal, expecting us to remember and say its name. When none of us say anything, he says it again, and we repeat it again. He goes to the next animal and does the same thing. Eventually, some people in the class start to remember some of the animal names, but it is hard for me. I need to see things written down. I need to see an alphabet, learn its sounds, and see the sounds put together to form words. For me, hearing “koggiri” without any visual association is like hearing “blah, blah, blah.” We spend the first hour of our first class playing “listen and repeat,” and I am already hating my teacher.

I do not remember when we finally learn to read and write “hangeul,” but learning it finally gives me some hope. I can now write stuff down and look stuff up in a dictionary. I do not remember learning much grammar. I just remember listening to tape after tape and studying word list after word list without any of it really sticking in my brain. I can make no sense of the language because there is not enough grammar explanation, and the old guy teaching us is a terrible teacher who cannot explain the grammar, anyway. The books for the course are still being written as we are studying, so they are poor quality and not much help.
The other two classes seem to have better teachers because our class is considered the worst of the three, but even people in those classes are dropping out like flies, people who are much better than I am. The classes include people from all the military services. Sailors are encouraged to study by signs on the wall that read, “You Fail, You Sail,” which implies they will send us out to the fleet to chip paint for four years if we fail the course. We finish our course in 32 weeks, 4 weeks early, not because we are ready, but most likely because they had not finished writing the material for the last four weeks.

Out of the 60 people who started in my group, only nineteen graduate, and I am number 19. The only reason I graduate is that I would not give up even though my teachers were telling me I should. After all my begging and pleading, they must have felt sorry for me. So, two-thirds of our group fail a language course that tries to cut corners by teaching just the listening part of the language. We and the group that followed us were the guinea pigs in a failed experiment. After seeing the results of our group and the group that followed, they ended the experiment and went back to their 48-week course that included teaching reading, writing, and speaking. After 32 weeks at DLI, I learned how to look up words in a Korean dictionary and not much else.
However, Monterey was beautiful.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What does 草綠同色 (초록동색) mean?

When I was studying Korean Language and Literature at the University of Hawaii, my literature professor, Peter H. Lee, had us read the English translations of "The Nine Cloud Dream" (구운몽 - 九雲夢)" and "The Tale of Chunhyang" (춘향전 - 春香傳). Later when we were asked to give our opinions of the two stories, I said I really enjoyed reading "The Nine Cloud Dream," but I was not very impressed with "The Tale of Chunhyang." My professor told me that if I were to read the Korean version of "The Tale of Chunhyang," I would probably change my opinion of it.

In the Korean version of "The Tale of Chunhyang," this is the dialog between Mong-yong and Chunhyang before Mong-ryong revealed who he really was:
몽룡너는 기생의 딸인데 본관사또의 청을 듣지 않았느냐?
Mong-ryong: “You are the daughter of a
gisaeng. Why did you disobey the request of the official of this post?"
춘향저는 기생도 아니고 이미 지아비가 있습니다그래서 사또의 청을 들을  없었습니다.
Chunhyang: “I am not a
gisaeng, and I already have a husband. Therefore, I couldn't accept the request of the official.”
몽룡나는 지나가는 어사이니 청도 거절하겠느냐?
Mong-ryong: “I am a passing Secret Royal Inspector. Will you also refuse my request?”
춘향‘초록은 동색이요가재는  편’이라더니 양반들은  똑같은가 보우차라리  목을 베시오!
Chunhyang: “Green is the same color, and the crayfish sides with the crab, so all yangban seem to be the same. I would rather be beheaded.”
In the last comment of Chunhyang, notice the expression "초록은 동색이요," which I translated here as "Green is the same color." I do not remember how it was translated in the book I read, but if it were translated as "Green is the same color," I would have thought to myself, "That's a weird thing to say," and just included it among all the other weird expressions in the story. Now, however, I can appreciate the expression because now I know what "초록은 동색이요" means.

초록 (草綠) means "grass (草) green (綠)" or simply "green." It is a combination of 초색 (草色) and 녹색 (綠色), both of which also mean "green," so "초록은 동색이요" literally means "grass and green are the same color" or "This green and that green are the same color."

When Mong-ryong asked Chunhyang if she would accept his request even though she had denied the request of the other official, Chunhyang assumed he, too, was going to request that she sleep with him, so when she said, "Grass and green are the same color," she meant, "All yangban are the same," implying they all want the same thing.

In Chinese, "초록은 동색이요" is written as "草綠同色 (초록동색)," which literally means "Grass (草) [and] green (綠) are the same (同) color (色)."

By the way, the expression "the crayfish sides with the crab" (가재는 게 편) is similar to the English expression, "Birds of a feather flock together." A crayfish and a crab look similar in many ways, so one would expect them to take each other's side against an animal that looks very different.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What does "子曰、可與言、而不與之言、失人" mean?

In his book "Confucius Analects, with Selections from Traditional Commentaries," Edward Slingerland translates Passage 8 from Book 15 (15.8) as follows:
The Master said, "If someone is open to what you have to say, but you do not speak to them, this is letting the person go to waste; if, however, someone is not open to what you have to say, but you speak to them anyway, this is letting your words to go to waste. The wise person does not let people go to waste, but he also does not waste his words.
I purchased Mr. Slingerland's book mainly for the commentary because there are many translations of the Confucius Analects on the Internet, but I was still hoping for more precise translations of the words of Confucius, which often seem to be a play on words. Unfortunately, Mr. Slingerland prefers to paraphrase the words of Confucius, as he did with the above passage. Here is my more literal translation of Passage 15.8 of the "Analects of Confucius":
()()(), ()()()()(), ()(), ()()()(), ()()()()()(), ()()()()(), ()()()(). 
[If] permitted () to give () an opinion (), but () [you] do not () give () him () an opinion (), [you] lose () the person (). [If] not permitted  (不可) to give () an opinion (), but () [you] give () him () an opinion (), [you] lose () the opinion(). A wise man (知者) does not () lose () the person () nor () lose () the opinion ().
Besides meaning "to be possible," 可 (가) can also mean "to be permitted." Besides meaning "with" or "together," 與 (여) can also mean "to give." And besides meaning "words" or "to speak," 言 (언) can also mean "opinion." But what does 失人 (실인) and 失言 (실언) really mean?

Confucius was so popular and respected because he was a clever person, and a clever person in ancient China knew how to play on words. I suspect 失人 (실인) and 失言 (失言) meant more than just "lose the person" and "lose the words," respectively, which are the common translations for the two expressions. For example, the word 失意 (실의) means "to be disappointed," but it literally means "to lose (失) meaning (意)," so if the 失 in the above passage were translated with the meaning of the word 失意, then 失人 (실인) would translate as "disappoint (失) the person (人)," and 失言 (실언) would translate as "to lose the meaning of (失) the words (言)."

If someone asks for your opinion, but you do not give him one, you do not "lose the person"; you "disappoint the person." If someone does not ask for your opinion, but you give him one, anyway, you do not "lose the words," you lose "the meaning of the words" or rather "the effect of the words."

Besides meaning "to lose," 失 (실) can also mean "to hurt," "to offend," or "to spoil," so 失人 (실인) could also be translated as "to offend (失) the person (人)," and 失言 (실언) could also be translated as "to spoil (失) the words (言)" or "to spoil (失) the opinion (言)."

Finally, besides meaning "to lose," "to offend," and "to spoil," 失 (실) can also mean "to mistake," so, the Korean word 실언 (失言) literally means "to mistake (失) the words (言)," but translates as "misstatement" or "improper remark."

The meaning of the passage: "A wise man knows when to speak and when not to speak."