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Teacher's Comment :

Lee, Yong Ik - Korean Society Depicted in its Folklore - Goryeo and Joseon Period



Yong Ik has lived in the U.S. for one and a half years, and has been an avid reader, in English as well as in his native Korean, ever since. When he entered my history class, he did not have the usual foundation of memorized, but not understood factual knowledge, but showed both a solid foundation of knowledge and the interest to expand, deepen it. In an introductory history course, he held a presentation on the Janissaries, a phenomenon the vast majority of his classmates had, by then, never heard of before.
Yong Ik chose to write his research paper on Korean folktales as sources to describe the history of certain periods in Korean history. This research paper, on one hand, does provide information otherwise inaccessible to international readers who do not read Korean. On the other hand, it relies almost exclusively on Korean-language literature and does not serve to prove Yong Ik's ability to meet the conditions (reading assignments) of an English language academic environment.
Yong Ik had 14 months to work on his paper. As he wrote on Korean history, literature was easily accessible. Yong Ik likes to work independentlly. Difficulties he encountered included publications with a political bias, and, when it came to posting his paper on the net, both the spelling problem (spelling of Korean names in English transcription, while a number of transcription systems have been recommended at times, is pretty much done as the individual author feels like, with the effect that one and the same Korean name, in English / Western literature appears in a dozen or more transcription varieties; I urged him to use the transcriptions used by the Wikipedia) and posting his concordance and reference pages, which include a combination of English / Korean / Chinese character texts and should appear in a form legible by users who have set their computers on western font. At present, Yong Ik is working on the last mentioned problem.
As in the case of the other research papers posted here, this is the first time Yong Ik wrote a paper of this scale, the first time he had to go beyond the stocks of our high school library in order to find relevant sources. His many other responsibilities taken into regard, a more experienced student would have written the paper in less than half the time. In his concluding analysis, Yong Ik is a bit too enthusiastic.
Yong Ik's paper corresponds to a third year college presentation and would provide a solid foundation for an academic discussion.


December 23rd 2006

Alexander Ganse



Lee, Yong Ik Korean Society Depicted in its Folklore - Goryeo and Joseon Period