Korean news report from summer 2009 on using Hangul for the Cia-Cia language in Indonesia

Friday, December 18, 2009

Here's a news report from summer of this year (August, I think) on the Cia-Cia language, a language that received some attention this year for its decision to use Korean hangul as its official script. The orthography for the language is as follows:

Consonants







ᄙ*






ㅇ**



romanized
g
k
n
d
dh
t
r ~ gh, l
m
b
v ~ w
bh
p
s
null, ’, ng
j
c
h
IPA
[ɡ]
[k]
[n]
[ɗ]
[d]
[t]
[r ~ ʁ, l]
[m]
[ɓ]
[β]
[b]
[p]
[s]
[-, ʔ, ŋ]
[dʒ]
[tʃ]
[h]
Vowels







romanized
a
e
o
u
i
null

What's interesting about this is that hangul is now a more accurate representation of the way the language is actually spoken than Korean itself, because though hangul is generally pretty easy to read it isn't a perfect representation of Korean - 조건 (term) for example is actually pronounced 조껀, the ㅎ in 싫어 (hate) is silent, so is the ㄹ in 흙 (earth), and so on, so some people actually do make spelling mistakes in Korean as well. That's what happens when a writing system is adopted but then the spoken language changes over time.

Also note that the woman in the news broadcast pronounces it as Bahasa Jjiajjia (since ㅉ in Korean is like a doubled j) but ㅉ actually represents a tʃ (English ch) sound in Cia-Cia. Chia-chia, not jjia-jjia.




Most languages choose to go with the Latin alphabet when devising a script, but the Korean government seems very taken by the idea of a language choosing to use hangul and so they are now receiving some preferential treatment from the Korean government including a trip from Dec. 21 to 26 to Seoul for nine people from the tribe (I assume the Korean/Seoul city government is paying for this) where they will hold a meeting with the mayor. Going with the Latin alphabet likely would have simply earned them a visit from a few dusty scholars and little else (certainly no media attention), so the extensive hands-on support and attention they are receiving from Korea after choosing to use hangul probably makes it worth it.

Here's the location of the city.


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