Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon Jan 9 18:54:20 UTC 2012

On Jan 9, 2012, at 10:43 AM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Japchae
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On 1/9/2012 5:01 AM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett<gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>> Subject:      Japchae
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> The other day, I saw "jap chay" written on the window of one of those teriyaki joints so often run by Korean immigrants. While that's a sensible way to spell it to assist with pronunciation, it increases the number of spellings of the dish.
>> Wikipedia has three spellings: japchae, jabchae and chapchae. The first two have -y alternates on Google, bringing the total to at least seven spellings. ("Chabchay" does not seem to be in use.) This can be doubled by using a space between the two syllables.
> --
> I've also (many times) seen the first syllable written "chop", which may
> be about right for many US English-speakers.
> As for pronunciation ....
> To my Anglophone ear the pronunciation by Koreans (and those familiar
> with Korean) is /tSap tSE/ ... this would be my own pronunciation ...
> some may hear /dZap tSE/.
> First syllable seems like "chop" or "chahp" (some may hear
> "jop"/"jahp"), second like "cheh" (something like "chay"). I guess most
> Anglophones pronounce "Hyundai" (which has the same final vowel) as
> rhyming with "Sunday", so I guess the same final "-ay" /ej/ sound should
> be [just as] OK in the current word too.
> Any expert, please feel fee to correct me; I am near-totally ignorant of
> Korean myself. I note that there are various Romanizations, with
> imperfect standardization. I note also that restaurateurs and cooks and
> waiters are usually not language teachers or linguists.
> It seems to me that something like "japchae" is reasonable as a
> Romanization of the Korean word, while something like "chopchay" would
> furnish a reasonable US pronunciation, while "jap chay" fails both ways.
> Here is a presumably Korean person saying the word in Korean (at 0:30 etc.):
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2vjlXbytTI
> Here is a person of Korean origin saying the word while speaking English
> (at 0:08 etc.):
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=795_t6UY9is
> Here is a person of presumably North American origin saying it carefully
> (at 1:16):
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHd_HpHkyDE

In the Korean, an important distinction is that the second syllable starts with an aspirated consonant, but the first does not. For that reason, I prefer a "j" at the start. How about "jahp chay"?

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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