A History of the Korean Language is the first book on the subject ever published in English. It traces the origin, formation, and various historical stages through which the language has passed, from Old Korean through to the present day. Each chapter begins with an account of the historical and cultural background. A comprehensive list of the literature of each period is then provided and the textual record described, along with the script or scripts used to write it. Finally, each stage of the language is analyzed, offering new details supplementing what is known about its phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon. The extraordinary alphabetic materials of the 15th and 16th centuries are given special attention, and are used to shed light on earlier, pre-alphabetic periods.
Ki-Moon Lee is Professor Emeritus at Seoul National University. S. Robert Ramsey is Professor and Chair in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Introduction; 1. Origins; 2. The formation of Korean; 3. Old Korean; 4. Early middle Korean; 5. Late middle Korean; 6. Early modern Korean; 7. Contemporary Korean.