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Revised Romanization of Korean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Revised Romanization of Korean (국어의 로마자 표기법; 國語의 로마字 表記法; gugeoui romaja pyogibeop. op; lit. "Roman-letter notation of the national language") is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea proclaimed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to replace the older McCune–Reischauer system. The new system eliminates diacritics and apostrophes in favor of digraphs.

The Revised Romanization limits itself to the ISO basic Latin alphabet, apart from limited, often optional use of the hyphen. It was developed by the National Academy of the Korean Language from 1995 and was released to the public on 7 July 2000 by South Korea's Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Proclamation No. 2000-8, which cites these reasons for the new system:[1]

  • It reduces the confusion caused by the frequent omission of apostrophes and diacritics that plagued the McCune–Reischauer system.
  • It is compatible with the plain ASCII text of internet domain names.

Like McCune–Reischauer, it transcribes some sounds as English-speakers are apt to hear them, rather than following Korean phonology. Unlike McCune–Reischauer, vowels are not written consistently.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • 3 Reasons to Avoid Romanization When Learning Korean


An all-new episode of Romanization Romance starts now. He's never gonna get the girl if he keeps using THAT romanization system. Romanization doesn't accurately represent Korean sounds it negatively affects your pronunciation and it can hurt your progress. First of all, romanization is when you write Korean words using the English alphabet. For example, you could write the word 한글 (han-geul), meaning the Korean alphabet, like this. Now, here's a problem. This letter is called 리을 (ri-eul), and if you've studied Korean before you might have heard that it sounds like an L, or that it sounds like an R. Well, which is it? An L or an R? It's neither. It's Korean, not English. You see, almost none of the Korean alphabet can be written accurately with English and you're really just hurting yourself and your pronunciation if you're focusing on romanization. Hey, that rhymes... Let's talk about why. When you're first learning how to ride a bike as a kid you need training wheels to avoid getting hurt. But romanization isn't like training wheels. It's more like a crutch. Now, before I bash romanization too hard let's talk about how it's useful. If you're just learning a few phrases and aren't trying to study Korean then you do not need to learn the alphabet. You want to know how to say "hello" in Korean? Sure. Let's first learn the entire Korean alphabet. Or if you're a linguist, romanization is probably enough to get a feel for how the Korean language works. And let's face it, most tourists to Korea aren't going to learn the alphabet just so they can travel around and eat delicious Korean food like galbi, soondae, gamjatang... Oh, where was I...? Ah! Travelers just need to know how to get around and without romanization on street signs and in subways, a lot more people would get lost. So it can definitely be helpful. But when used to learn Korean, it can also be harmful. Now when I say romanization, there are actually several different romanization systems. There's Revised, McCune-Reischauer, IPA, Yale, and several others and each system has its own set of rules, as well as its own pros and cons. The revised system is the most common one that you'll find because it's easy to write and you'll encounter it on Korean signs and in some language textbooks. But the main problem with all romanization systems is that you're essentially using the sounds of one language to represent the sounds in another unrelated language. It's kind of like trying to explain The Shawshank Redemption by comparing it to Magic Mike. You see, it's like The Shawshank Redemption, but nobody's wearing a shirt. Learning vocabulary through romanization means that you won't learn the correct pronunciation because you're learning the word in English and not in Korean and that's not only going to hurt your progress but also your motivation to keep learning. My recommendation is to avoid romanization as soon as you've learned the basic sound of each Korean letter even if your pronunciation is still bad. So instead of learning the word for "today" like this just learn it like this. Romanization simply is not trustworthy. The exact same word can be written a dozen ways depending on the system. For example, the word 한글 (han-geul). Here are just some of the ways you could write it. Now, if you don't already know how this word sounds in Korean how would you know whether to pronounce this as "hang-gul," "hang-ul," or even "hang-e-ul"? And before you say it, But wait, Billy! There are rules for reading that system. It's going to take you longer to memorize the rules of that system than it would to just learn the alphabet. In fact, I made a video you can use to learn the alphabet in under 90 minutes and I'll link it in the description. And the reason I'm telling you all of this is because beginning learners are impressionable. When I was a beginner, I just believed everything I was told about Korean without question. You have to be Korean to understand politeness levels. Okay. Korean is the most complicated language in the world. Even Koreans can't speak it. Whoa... Two plus two is seven? Cool, I never knew that! You owe me $50? Okay! So I hope that through watching this video you'll take a moment to think about your own goals and decide whether learning the alphabet is right or not for you. Thanks for watching and I also want to say thanks to my Patreon supporters and remember that new videos are uploaded here every week so if you like what you see, click Subscribe. You



Revised Romanization of Korean
Hangul 국어 로마자 표기
Hanja 國語의 로마 表記
Revised Romanization gugeoui romaja pyogibeop
McCune–Reischauer kugŏŭi romaja p'yogibŏp

Basic principles of romanization are:[2]

  • Romanization is based on standard Korean pronunciation.
  • Symbols other than Roman letters are avoided to the greatest extent possible.

These are notable features of the Revised Romanization system:

  • Vowels /ʌ/ and /ɯ/ are written as digraphs, with two vowel letters, eo and eu, respectively (replacing the ŏ and ŭ of the McCune–Reischauer system).
    • However, /wʌ/ is written as wo (not weo), and /ɰi/ is written as ui (not eui).
  • Unlike McCune–Reischauer, aspirated consonants (/kʰ/, /tʰ/, /pʰ/, /tɕʰ/) have no apostrophe: k, t, p, ch. Their unaspirated counterparts (/k/, /t/, /p/, /tɕ/) are written with letters that are voiced in English: g, d, b, j.
    • However, all of the consonants (except sonorants m, n, ng, and l) are written as k, t, p when followed by another consonant or when the consonant is in final position, as they are neutralized to unreleased stops: [pjʌk̚]byeok, [pak̚]bak, 부엌[pu.ʌk̚]bueok (but 벽에[pjʌ.ɡe̞]byeoge, 밖에[pa.k͈e̞]bakke, 부엌에[pu.ʌ.kʰe̞]bueoke).
  • /s/ is written as s regardless of the following vowels and semivowels; there is no sh: [sa]sa, [ɕi]si.
    • When followed by another consonant or when in final position, it is written as t: [ot̚]ot (but 옷에[̞]ose).
  • /l/ is r before a vowel or a semivowel and l everywhere else: 리을[ɾi.ɯl]rieul, 철원[tɕʰʌ.ɾwʌn]Cheorwon, 울릉도[ul.lɯŋ.do]Ulleungdo, 발해[pal.ɦɛ̝]Balhae. Like in McCune–Reischauer, /n/ is written l whenever pronounced as a lateral rather than as a nasal consonant: 전라북도[tɕʌ̚.do]Jeollabuk-do

In addition, special provisions are for regular phonological rules in exceptions to transliteration (see Korean phonology).

Other rules and recommendations include the following:

  • A hyphen optionally disambiguates syllables: 가을ga-eul (fall; autumn) versus 개울gae-ul (stream). However, few official publications make use of this provision since actual instances of ambiguity among names are rare.
    • A hyphen must be used in linguistic transliterations to denote syllable-initial except at the beginning of a word: 없었습니다eops-eoss-seumnida, 외국어oegug-eo, 애오개Ae-ogae
  • It is permitted to hyphenate syllables in the given name, following common practice. Certain phonological changes, ordinarily indicated in other contexts, are ignored in names, for better disambiguating between names: 강홍립Gang Hongrip or Gang Hong-rip (not *Hongnip), 한복남Han Boknam or Han Bok-nam (not *Bongnam or "Bong-nam")
  • Administrative units (such as the do) are hyphenated from the placename proper: 강원도Gangwon-do
    • One may omit terms "such as 시, 군, 읍": 평창군Pyeongchang-gun or Pyeongchang, 평창읍Pyeongchang-eup or Pyeongchang.
  • However, names for geographic features and artificial structures are not hyphenated: 설악산Seoraksan, 해인사Haeinsa
  • Proper nouns are capitalized.


In Korea

Like several European languages that have undergone spelling simplifications (such as Portuguese, German or Swedish), the Revised Romanization is not expected to be adopted as the official romanization of Korean family names, and few people have voluntarily adopted it. According to a 2009 study by the National Institute of the Korean Language based on 63,351 applications for South Korean passports in 2007, for each of the three most common surnames Kim (), Lee (), and Park (), less than 2% of applicants asked for their surname to be romanized in their passport by using the respective Revised Romanization spelling Gim, I, or Bak.[3] Given names and commercial names are encouraged to change, but it is not required.

All Korean textbooks were required to comply with the new system by February 28, 2002. English-language newspapers in South Korea initially resisted the new system by citing its flaws, but all later gave in to government pressure. The Korea Times was the last major English-language newspaper to do so and switched only in May 2006.

North Korea continues to use a version of the McCune–Reischauer system of Romanization, a different version of which was in official use in South Korea from 1984 to 2000.

Outside Korea

Textbooks and dictionaries intended for students of the Korean language tend to include this Romanization. However, some publishers have acknowledged the difficulties or confusion it can cause for non-native Korean speakers who are unused to the conventions of this style of Romanization.[4]

Transcription rules

Vowel letters

Romanization a ae ya yae eo e yeo ye o wa wae oe yo u wo we wi yu eu ui i

Consonant letters

Romanization Initial g kk n d tt r m b pp s ss j jj ch k t p h
Final k k n t l m p t t ng t t k t p t

, , , and are usually transcribed as g, d, b, and r when appearing before a vowel, and as k, t, p, and l when followed by another consonant or when appearing at the end of a word.[2]

Special provisions

The revised romanization transcribes certain phonetic changes that occur with combinations of the ending consonant of a character and the initial consonant of the next like HangukHangugeo. These significant changes occur (highlighted in yellow):

g n d r m b s j ch k t p h
k g kg ngn kd ngn ngm kb ks kj kch k-k kt kp kh, k
n n n-g nn nd ll, nn nm nb ns nj nch nk nt np nh
t d, j tg nn td nn nm tb ts tj tch tk t-t tp th, t, ch
l r lg ll, nn ld ll lm lb ls lj lch lk lt lp lh
m m mg mn md mn mm mb ms mj mch mk mt mp mh
p b pg mn pd mn mm pb ps pj pch pk pt p-p ph, p
t s tg nn td nn nm tb ts tj tch tk t-t tp th, t, ch
ng ng- ngg ngn ngd ngn ngm ngb ngs ngj ngch ngk ngt ngp ngh
t j tg nn td nn nm tb ts tj tch tk t-t tp th, t, ch
t ch tg nn td nn nm tb ts tj tch tk t-t tp th, t, ch
t t, ch tg nn td nn nm tb ts tj tch tk t-t tp th, t, ch
t h k nn t nn nm p hs ch tch tk tt tp t

Phonetic changes between syllables in given names are not transcribed: 정석민Jeong Seokmin or Jeong Seok-min, 최빛나Choe Bitna or Choe Bit-na.

Phonological changes are reflected where , , , and are adjacent to : 좋고joko, 놓다nota, 잡혀japyeo, 낳지 → nachi. However, aspirated sounds are not reflected in case of nouns where follows , , and : 묵호Mukho, 집현전Jiphyeonjeon.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "Romanization of Korean". Ministry of Culture & Tourism. July 2000. Archived from the original on 16 September 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "Romanization of Korean". National Institute of Korean Language. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  3. ^ 성씨 로마자 표기 방안: 마련을 위한 토론회 [Plan for romanisation of surnames: a preparatory discussion]. National Institute of the Korean Language. 25 June 2009. pp. 57–62. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  4. ^ Tuttle Publishing: "In addition, easy-to-use phonetic spellings of all Korean words and phrases are given. For example, "How are you?"—annyeonghaseyo? is also written as anh-nyawng-hah-seyo?", blurb for two Korean phrasebooks: Making Out in Korean ISBN 9780804843546 and More Making Out in Korean Archived 2016-03-06 at the Wayback Machine. ISBN 9780804838498. All accessed 2016-03-02.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 October 2018, at 10:46
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