McCune–Reischauer

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McCune–Reischauer romanization ( /mɪˈkjnˈrʃ.ər/ ) is one of the two most widely used Korean language romanization systems. A modified version of McCune–Reischauer was the official romanization system in South Korea until 2000, when it was replaced by the Revised Romanization of Korean system. A variant of McCune–Reischauer is still used as the official system in North Korea. [1]

Contents

The system was created in 1937 by George M. McCune and Edwin O. Reischauer. With a few exceptions, it attempts not to transliterate Korean hangul but to represent the phonetic pronunciation.

Characteristics and criticism

Under the McCune–Reischauer system, aspirated consonants like p', k', and t' are distinguished by apostrophe from unaspirated ones, which may be falsely understood as a separator between syllables (as in 뒤차기twich'agi, which consists of the syllables twi, ch'a and gi). The apostrophe is also used to mark transcriptions of ㄴㄱ (n'g) as opposed to (ng): 잔금chan'gŭm vs. 장음changŭm), so these diverse applications of apostrophe made people confused once omitted. Also, the breve (˘) is used to differentiate vowels in Korean. So if the apostrophe and breve are omitted, as on the internet, this made it impossible to differentiate between aspirated consonants k',t',p' and ch' and unaspirated consonants k,t,p and ch, separator between syllables, transcriptions of ㄴㄱ (n'g) to (ng) and vowels 어 and 오, and 으 and 우.

An omission of apostrophe in internet and breve (˘) in keyboard was the primary reason the South Korean government adopted a revised system of romanization in 2000. [2] However, critics of the revised system claim it fails to represent and in a way that is easily recognizable and misrepresents the way that the unaspirated consonants are actually pronounced. However, the counterargument for this assertion is that it is impossible to find perfectly matching pairs of letters between the two different writing systems, Latin script and Hangul, and priority should be given to revised system of romanization created by the help of many Korean linguists at the National Academy of the Korean Language over a five-year period than the McCune–Reischauer system created by two foreigners with the help of three Korean linguists over a two-year period during the Japanese colonial era.

Meanwhile, despite official adoption of the new system in South Korea, North Korea uses a version of McCune–Reischauer, which does not accurately represent the phonetic characteristics of the Korean language.

Guide

This is a simplified guide for the McCune–Reischauer system. It is often used for the transliteration of names but does not convert every word properly, as several Korean letters are pronounced differently depending on their position.

Vowels

Hangul
Romanizationaaeyayaeŏe*yeowawaeoeyouwewiyuŭŭii

Consonants

Hangul
RomanizationInitialkkkntttrmpppssschtchch'k't'p'h
Finalklttngttktp
  • The consonant digraphs (ㄳ, ㄵ, ㄶ, ㄺ, ㄻ, ㄼ, ㄽ, ㄾ, ㄿ, ㅀ, ㅄ) exist only as finals and are transcribed by their actual pronunciation.
Initial consonant of the next syllable
1
k

n

t

(r)

m

p
2
s

ch

ch'

k'

t'

p'

h
Final
consonant
kgkkngnktngn(S)/ngr(N)ngmkpkskchkch'kk'kt'kp'kh
nnn'gnnndll/nnnmnbnsnjnch'nk'nt'np'nh
tdtknnttnn(S)/ll(N)nmtpsstchtch'tk'tt'tp'th
lrlgll/nnld3lllmlblslj3lch'lk'lt'lp'rh
mmmgmnmdmn(S)/mr(N)mmmbmsmjmch'mk'mt'mp'mh
pbpkmnptmn(S)/mr(N)mmpppspchpch'pk'pt'pp'ph
ngngnggngnngd ngn(S)/ngr(N) ngmngbngsngjngch'ngk'ngt'ngp'ngh
  1. ㅇ is an initial consonant before a vowel to indicate the absence of sound.
  2. 쉬 is romanized shwi.
  3. In Sino-Korean words, lt and lch respectively.

For ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, and ㅈ, the letters g, d, b, or j are used if voiced, k, t, p, or ch otherwise. Pronunciations such as those take precedence over the rules in the table above.

Examples

Exceptions that do not exactly follow pronunciation

  • The sequences -ㄱㅎ-, -ㄷㅎ- (only when palatalization does not occur)/-ㅅㅎ-, -ㅂㅎ- are written kh, th, ph respectively, even though they are pronounced the same as ㅋ (k'), ㅌ (t'), ㅍ (p').
    • 속히 sokhi (pronounced 소키)
    • 못하다 mothada (pronounced 모타다)
    • 곱하기 kophagi (pronounced 고파기)
  • When a plain consonant (ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㅅ, or ㅈ) becomes a tensed consonant (ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅆ, or ㅉ) in the middle of a word, it is written k, t, p, s, or ch respectively, even though it is pronounced the same as ㄲ (kk), ㄸ (tt), ㅃ (pp), ㅆ (ss), or ㅉ (tch).
    • 태권도 (pronounced 태꿘도) t'aekwŏndo
    • 손등 (pronounced 손뜽) sontŭng
    • 문법 (pronounced 문뻡) munpŏp
    • 국수 (pronounced 국쑤) kuksu
    • 한자 (漢字, pronounced 한짜) hancha

North Korean variant

In North Korea's variant of McCune–Reischauer, aspirated consonants are not represented by an apostrophe but are instead by adding an "h". [4] For example, 평성 is written as Phyŏngsŏng. The original system would have it written as P'yŏngsŏng.

However, the consonant is transcribed as "ch", and not "chh", while is transcribed as "j". [4] For example, 주체 is spelled "Juche", and not "Chuch'e", as it would be transcribed using the original system.

The North Korean variant renders names of people with each syllable capitalized and no hyphenation between syllables of given names: e.g. "Kim Il Sung" for Kim Il-sung. [5] Native Korean names, however, are written without syllabic division.

South Korean variant

A variant of McCune–Reischauer was in official use in South Korea from 1984 to 2000. The following are the differences between the original McCune–Reischauer and the South Korean variant:

The following table illustrates the differences above.

WordMcCune–ReischauerSouth Korean variantMeaning
시장sijangshijangmarket
쉽다shwiptaswiptaeasy
소원sowŏnsowonwish, hope
전기chŏn'gichŏn-gielectricity
상어sangŏsang-ŏshark
회사에서hoesaësŏhoesa-esŏat a company
차고에ch'agoëch'ago-ein a garage
발해ParhaePalhae Balhae
직할시chikhalsichik'alshidirectly governed city [6]
못하다mothadamot'adato be poor at
곱하기kophagikop'agimultiplication

Other systems

A third system, the Yale Romanization system, which is a transliteration system, exists but is used only in academic literature, especially in linguistics.

The Kontsevich system, based on the earlier Kholodovich system, is used for transliterating Korean into the Cyrillic script. Like McCune–Reischauer romanization it attempts to represent the pronunciation of a word, rather than provide letter-to-letter correspondence.

See also

Footnotes

  1. "Working Paper No. 46" (PDF). UNGEGN . Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  2. "Romanization of Korean". Korea.net. Ministry of Culture & Tourism. July 2000. Archived from the original on 16 September 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
  3. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-06-16. Retrieved 2015-07-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) page 13
  4. 1 2 Tertitskiy, Fyodor (2017-11-21). "Words, words: North and South Korea's differing romanization". NKNews.org. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  5. Sweeney, John (2013). North Korea Undercover: Inside the World's Most Secret State. London: Bantam Press. p. 11. ISBN   978-1-4481-7094-4.
  6. 직할시 (直轄市; "a directly governed city"; jikhalsi in the Revised Romanization) is one of a former administrative divisions in South Korea, and one of a present administrative divisions of North Korea. In 1995, it was replaced by 광역시 (廣域市; gwangyeoksi; "metropolitan city") in South Korea.

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