Revised Romanization of Korean

Last updated

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]

Official someone who holds an office

An official is someone who holds an office in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority.

Romanization of Korean

Romanization of Korean refers to systems for representing the Korean language in the Latin script. Korea's alphabetic script, called Hangul, has historically been used in conjunction with Hanja, though such practice has become infrequent.

South Korea Republic in East Asia

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and sharing a land border with North Korea. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia under Gwanggaeto the Great. Its capital, Seoul, is a major global city and half of South Korea's 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world.


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 " (k), (t), (p) and (ch)" 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 where omission of apostrophe and breve is common, this caused many Koreans as well as foreigners confusion and discomfort. Hence, the revision of the Romanization of Korean was made with the belief that if the old system was left unrevised, it will continue to confuse people, both Koreans and foreigners, and will only exacerbate over time.

McCune–Reischauer Korean language romanization system

McCune–Reischauer romanization 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.

The apostrophe character is a punctuation mark, and sometimes a diacritical mark, in languages that use the Latin alphabet and some other alphabets. In English it is used for several purposes:

A breve is the diacritic mark ˘, shaped like the bottom half of a circle. As used in Ancient Greek, it is also called vrachy, or brachy. It resembles the caron but is rounded; the caron has a sharp tip.


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

These are notable features of the Revised Romanization system:

Ulleungdo South Korean island

Ulleungdo is a South Korean island 120 km (75 mi) east of the Korean Peninsula, formerly known as the Dagelet Island or Argonaut Island in Europe; also known as Yuling-dao in Chinese, and Utsuryo-do (鬱陵島) in Japanese. Volcanic in origin, the rocky steep-sided island is the top of a large stratovolcano which rises from the seafloor, reaching a maximum elevation of 984 metres (3,228 ft) at Seonginbong Peak. The island is 9.5 kilometres (5.9 mi) in length and 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) in width; it has an area of 72.56 km2 (28.02 sq mi). It has a population of 10,426 inhabitants.

Balhae Ancient kingdom in Manchuria, northern Korean peninsula and the Russian Far East (698–926)

Balhae (698–926) was a multi-ethnic kingdom in Manchuria, Korean peninsula and Russian Far East.. Balhae was established by refugees from the fallen Korean kingdom of Goguryeo and Tungusic Mohe tribes in 698, when the first king, Dae Joyeong, defeated the Wu Zhou dynasty at Tianmenling.

A lateral is consonant in which the airstream proceeds along the sides of the tongue, but it is blocked by the tongue from going through the middle of the mouth. An example of a lateral consonant is the English l, as in Larry.

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

Other rules and recommendations include the following:

The hyphen () is a punctuation mark used to join words and to separate syllables of a single word. The use of hyphens is called hyphenation. Non-hyphenated is an example of a hyphenated word. The hyphen should not be confused with dashes, which are longer and have different uses, or with the minus sign (−), which is also longer in some contexts.

Korean name Naming customs of Korean culture

A Korean name consists of a family name followed by a given name, as used by the Korean people in both South Korea and North Korea. In the Korean language, ireum or seongmyeong usually refers to the family name (seong) and given name together.

Gang Hongrip was a Korean general during the Joseon Dynasty.


In Korea

The sign with the name of the railway station in Bucheon -- at the top, a writing in hangul, the English name below using the revised transcription, 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 English name below using the revised transcription, along with the hanja text.
The sign with the name of the railway station in Jecheon -- at the top, a writing in hangul, the English name below using the revised transcription, 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 English name below using the revised transcription, 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 on cultrual heritage were required to comply with the new system by February 28, 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

Related Research Articles

Wade–Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a romanization system for Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Wade, during the mid-19th century, and was given completed form with Herbert A. Giles's Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892.

In linguistics, an elision or deletion is the omission of one or more sounds in a word or phrase. The word elision is frequently used in linguistic description of living languages, and deletion is often used in historical linguistics for a historical sound change.

Glottal stop type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages, produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract or, more precisely, the glottis

The glottal stop or glottal plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages, produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract or, more precisely, the glottis. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʔ⟩.

Dutch orthography uses the Latin alphabet and has evolved to suit the needs of the Dutch language. The spelling system is issued by government decree and is compulsory for all government documentation and educational establishments.

Gari Keith Ledyard is Sejong Professor of Korean History Emeritus at Columbia University. He is best known for his work on the history of the Hangul alphabet.

The orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean, was written in Linear B, although there was a lapse of several centuries between the time Mycenaean stopped being written and the time when the Greek alphabet came into use.

The Korean language has changed between North and South Korea due to the length of time that the two states have been separated. Underlying dialect differences have been extended, in part by government policies and in part by the isolation of North Korea from the outside world.

This article is a technical description of the phonetics and phonology of Korean. Unless otherwise noted, statements in this article refer to South Korean standard language based on the Seoul dialect.

There are various systems of romanization of the Armenian alphabet.

The Korean alphabet is the native script of Korea, created in the mid fifteenth century by King Sejong, as both a complement and an alternative to the logographic Sino-Korean hanja. Initially denounced by the educated class as eonmun, it only became the primary Korean script following independence from Japan in the mid-20th century.

The Pyong'an dialect, alternatively Northwestern Korean, is the Korean dialect of the northwestern Korean peninsula and neighboring parts of China. It has influenced the standard Korean of North Korea, but is not the primary influence of North Korea's standard Korean.

Yale romanization of Korean Linguistic romanization scheme for Korean

The Yale romanization of Korean was developed by Samuel Elmo Martin and his colleagues at Yale University about half a decade after McCune–Reischauer. It is the standard romanization of the Korean language in linguistics.

Hangul Native alphabet of the Korean language

The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul in South Korea or Chosŏn'gŭl (조선글) in North Korea, is the official writing system of Korean Language in both Korea. Created by King Sejong the Great in 1446, it is generally known for the scientific and creative design of its basic consonants that mimic the shapes of the speaker's throat when pronouncing each. In its origin, the alphabet had a set of 28 letters, of which 17 are consonant and 11 are vowel; it today consists of total 24 letters with 14 consonant letters and 10 vowel letters. The total is counted 40 in North. Hangul combines the features of alphabetic and syllabic writing system; the letters of Hangul are written in syllabic blocks with each alphabetic letter placed vertically and horizontally into a square dimension, which is the reason some linguists describe it as an "alphabetic syllabary". As in traditional Chinese writing, Korean texts were traditionally written top to bottom, right to left; today, it is typically written from left to right with spaces between words and western-style punctuation.

Transcription into Korean

Foreign words when used in Korean undergoes transcription, to make them pronounceable and memorable. Transcription into Korean, for the most part, is very similar to or even influenced by transcription into Japanese, although the number of homophones resulted by imperfect mapping of foreign sounds onto native sounds is significant smaller, as Korean has a larger phoneme inventory and a more inclusive phonotactic.

Romanization of Korean (North) official Korean language romanization system in North Korea

Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language romanization system in North Korea proclaimed by the Sahoe Kwahagwŏn to replace the older McCune–Reischauer system since 1992, last updated in 2002.


  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. 2000-09-01. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  3. "로마자성명 표기 변경 허용 요건". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2007. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  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.
  5. 1 2 "Romanization of Korean". National Institute of Korean Language . Retrieved 13 December 2016.