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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.96 pp.149-166

A Sociolinguistic Study of the Diachronic Changes of the Names of Korean Oriental Clinics: With Special Reference to -tang

Ki-tae Kim
Keimyung University


The current study explores the diachronic pattern of the changes in the names of Korean Oriental Medical clinics, the names of which contain the Sino-Korean -tang (堂) in the ult of the core. A total of 636 such names are identified and statistically analyzed along with their founding years through simple exponential smoothing, double exponential smoothing, and the moving average. The results show that there has been a slow, but significant decline from the late 1980’s and on. The primary motivation behind the trend is traced back to the increased sense of Korean identity in the more transnational world at the time. More specifically, the official replacement of han (漢, ‘China/Chinese’) with a homophone han (韓, ‘Korea/Korean’) in referring expressions to Korean Oriental Medicine (e.g., hanuywen ‘Korean Oriental Medical clinic’) in 1986, the subsequent 1988 Olympic Games, and the contemporary movement to use Hankul exclusively at the expense of Hanca including tang all coincided with the decline, thus, contributing to the timing of the consistent decline. Some limitations and implications are also discussed.