The Language and Culture of the Kumkang Region

금강유역의 언어와 문화

  • Published : 2006.12.30


This paper centers around the etymological meanings of place names of the Kumkang region, restricting the discussion to a selected group of place names which make it possible to infer their cultural characteristics in the light of the latitudinal or longitudinal isoglosses. The legends of Komnaru and Choryongdae, for instance, derive directly from place names. Dialectal distribution is examined on the basis of the phonological features that are not very different between upper and lower reaches of the Kumkang river. The dialects get much more similar as they go further down to the lower region of the river. The original "Komanara(熊津)", also called "Northern Headland(北津)", underwent the sound change of Komannaru > Komkang > Kumkang(錦江), the last being alternatively abbreviated as Kum(錦). During the last half of the 14th century-around the close of the Koryo dynasty, that is-a literary work gave the beautified name "Nakhwa-am"(落花巖), meaning 'rock-bluff of falling flowers', to what was originally called Tasa-am(墮死岩), so-called because, in the year of 660 when the Paekje dynasty was being ravaged by the invading enemy, a number of court-ladies ended their lives by plunging into the river from there. It was 'a number of court-ladies'(諸後宮) who died; but by tradition of popular songs, the number has become "three thousand" - a case of hyperbole of course.