Records of dialogues in Chinese in non-Chinese speaking regions: An investigation of the surveys of shipwrecked Chinese sailors in the Records of the Border Defense Council of Joseon, with a focus on their linguistic significance
36 , 2016-04-01 , 関西大学東西学術研究所
Sailors shipwrecked in the waters of early-modern East Asia were rescued and returned to their home country. When Chinese ships were wrecked off the coast of Japan, the Ryukyu Kingdom, and other such locations, a Chinese-language interpreter assisted the shipwrecked sailors. The records of the dialogues that took place at such times reflect how people using different languages conveyed what they wished to say to each other, and reveal their shared means of communication. This paper investigates the records of surveys of shipwrecked Chinese sailors on the Korean Peninsula, which consist of questions posed by Chinese-language interpreters and responses from Chinese sailors, thus adopting a different angle to that taken by Matsuura Akira (2014) in his examination of such records of dialogues between shipwrecked Chinese sailors and Korean officials as records of communication by writing. This paper seeks to establish what kind of language and what kinds of methods were used to survey shipwrecked Chinese sailors on the Korean Peninsula, before going on to clarify the content and vocabulary of the questions posed, as well as offering observations on their value as linguistic source materials. The dialogues, which are likely to have been recorded on the basis of oral conversations as a record of surveys of shipwrecked sailors, demonstrate the possibility for inconsistencies to arise when recording the spoken word as against the written word, and also reflect contemporary colloquial speech.