Revised Romanization of Korean

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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. 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. [1]


The new system corrected problems in the McCune–Reischauer system, such as phenomena where different consonants and vowels became indistinguishable in the absence of special symbols. To be specific, under the McCune–Reischauer system, Korean consonants " (g), (d), (b) and (j)" and " (k'), (t'), (p') and (ch')" became indistinguishable when the apostrophe was removed. In addition, Korean vowels "어(ŏ)" and "오(o)" and "으(ŭ)" and "우(u)" became indistinguishable when the breve was removed. Especially in internet use where omission of apostrophes and breves is common, this caused many Koreans as well as foreigners confusion. Hence, the revision of the Romanization of Korean was made with the belief that if the old system was left unrevised, it would continue to confuse people, both Koreans and foreigners.


Revised Romanization of Korean
國語의 로마 表記
Revised Romanization gugeoui romaja pyogibeop
McCune–Reischauer kugŏŭi romacha p'yogibŏp

These are notable features of the Revised Romanization system:

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

Other rules and recommendations include the following:


In South Korea

The sign with the name of the railway station in Bucheon -- at the top, a writing in hangul, the transliteration in Latin script below using the Revised Romanization, along with the hanja text. Q246638 Bucheon A01.JPG
The sign with the name of the railway station in Bucheon — at the top, a writing in hangul, the transliteration in Latin script below using the Revised Romanization, along with the hanja text.
The sign with the name of the railway station in Jecheon -- at the top, a writing in hangul, the transliteration in Latin script below using the Revised Romanization and the English translation of the word 'station', along with the hanja text. Jecheonstation.jpg
The sign with the name of the railway station in Jecheon — at the top, a writing in hangul, the transliteration in Latin script below using the Revised Romanization and the English translation of the word 'station', along with the hanja text.

Almost all road signs, names of railway and subway stations on line maps and signs, etc. have been changed according to Revised Romanization of Korean (RR, also called South Korean or Ministry of Culture (MC) 2000). It is estimated to have cost at least 500 billion won to 600 billion won (US$500~600 million) to carry out this procedure. [2] All Korean textbooks, maps and signs to do with cultural heritage were required to comply with the new system by 28 February 2002. Romanization of surnames and existing companies' names has been left untouched because of the reasons explained below. However, the Korean government encourages using the revised romanization of Korean for the new names.


Like several European languages that have undergone spelling reforms (such as Portuguese, German or Swedish), the Revised Romanization is not expected to be adopted as the official romanization of Korean family names. This is because the conditions for allowing changes in romanization of surnames in passport is very strict. The reasons are outlined below.

1. Countries around the world manage information about foreigners who are harmful to the public safety of their countries, including international criminals and illegal immigrants by the Roman name and date of birth of the passport they have used in the past. And if a passport is free to change its Roman name, it will pose a serious risk to border management due to difficulties in determining the same person.

2. The people of a country where it is free to change its Roman name will be subject to strict immigration checks, which will inevitably cause inconvenience to the people of that country.

3. Arbitrary changes in the Romanization of passports can lead to a fall in the credibility of the passports and national credit, which can have a negative impact on the new visa waiver agreement, etc.

Also, with very few exceptions, if you have ever left the country under your romanized name, it is impossible to change your family name again. [3]

However, South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism encourages those who “newly” register their romanized names to follow the Revised Romanization of Korean.

In addition, 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


Consonant letters


, , , and are transcribed as g, d, b, and r when placed at the initial of a word or before a vowel, and as k, t, p, and l when followed by another consonant or when appearing at the end of a word. [5]

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):

kgkgngnkdngnngmkbkskjkchk-kktkpkh, k
nnn-gnnndll, nnnmnbnsnjnchnkntnpnh
td, jtgnntdnnnmtbtstjtchtkt-ttpth, t, ch
lrlgll, nnldlllmlblsljlchlkltlplh
pbpgmnpdmnmmpbpspjpchpkptp-pph, p
tstgnntdnnnmtbtstjtchtkt-ttpth, t, ch
tjtgnntdnnnmtbtstjtchtkt-ttpth, t, ch
tchtgnntdnnnmtbtstjtchtkt-ttpth, t, ch
tt, chtgnntdnnnmtbtstjtchtkt-ttpth, t, ch

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 : 묵호 Mukho , 집현전 Jiphyeonjeon . [5]

See also

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  1. "Romanization of Korean". Ministry of Culture & Tourism. July 2000. Archived from the original on 16 September 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
  2. "2005년까지 연차적으로 도로표지판을 바꾸는 데 5000억~6000억원이 들고". Monthly Chosun ilbo. 1 September 2000. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  3. "로마자성명 표기 변경 허용 요건". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2007. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  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 2 March 2016.
  5. 1 2 "Romanization of Korean". National Institute of Korean Language . Retrieved 13 December 2016.