The social communication in old Korea was based mostly on the official royal court bulletins called 'chobo', which were distributed among the representative elite in Hans'ng (as Seoul was called in those days) and to the local representatives of the Chos'n State administration. All tools of the information depended on the Korean version of the classical Chinese and therefore its reception was limited to the 'literati'. This situation remained unchanged also during the early years of the existence of first modern Korean newspapers and professional periodicals in the 'Kaehwagi' (Enlightenment) period. The gradually increasing number and the variety of press genres was followed by the gradual Koreanization of their language. This process was accompanied by several attempts to reform the script. Thus we can observe here not only the coexistence of 'hantcha' and 'hangul' texts but also the entirely Sinokorean (hanmun) columns and the mixed texts combining both lexical strata and writing systems. The early Korean press had developed surprisingly fast in the dramatic historical circumstances and soon was able to play an important role in the scientific, intellectual, political and economic modernization of the country as well as in the shaping of the modern linguistic standard.
Christoph J. Janasiak, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Wydzial Orientalistyczny, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland.
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