Romanization of Korean

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Romanization of Korean
Revised Romanization Romaja
McCune–Reischauer Romacha

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 (Chinese characters), though such practice has become infrequent.


Romaja literally means Roman letters in Korean, and refers to the Latin script. "Romaja" is not to be confused with "romanization". The former can be applied to any use of the Latin script in Korean text—whether for Korean or non-Korean words or names—while the latter refers to writing Korean words using the Latin script: either romanizing individual words in a Korean text, or writing an entire Korean text in the Latin script.


Many romanization schemes are in common use:

McCune–Reischauer-based transcriptions and the Revised Romanization differ from each other mainly in the choice of how to represent certain hangul letters. Both attempt to match a word's spelling to how it would be written if it were an English word, so that an English speaker would come as close as possible to its Korean pronunciation by pronouncing it naturally. Hence, the same hangul letter may be represented by different Roman letters, depending on its pronunciation in context. The Yale system, on the other hand, represents each Korean letter by always the same Roman letter(s) context-independently, thus not indicating the hangul letters' context-specific pronunciation.

Even in texts that claim to follow one of the above, aberrations are a common occurrence and a major obstacle, e.g. when conducting an automated search on the Internet, as the searcher must check all possible spelling variants, a considerable list even without such aberrations.

In addition to these systems, many people spell names or other words in an ad hoc manner, producing more variations (e.g. 이/리 (李), which is variously romanized as Lee, Yi, I, or Rhee). For more details, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Korean).

SKATS is a transliteration system that does not attempt to use letters of a similar function in Western languages. A similar approach is to transliterate by hitting the keys that would produce a Korean word on a keyboard with 2[du]-beolsik layout. This can often be seen on the internet, for example in usernames.

Comparison of romanization of consonants [6] [7]
/p/pp/bpb/p [lower-alpha 1]
/t/tt/dtd/t [lower-alpha 1]
/l/ [l] ~ [ɾ]lr/lrr/l [lower-alpha 1]
/t͡ɕ/ ~ /t͡s/cch/jtsj
/t͈͡ɕ/ ~ /t͈͡s/cctchtssjj
/t͡ɕʰ/ ~ /t͡sʰ/chch'tshch
/k/kk/gkg/k [lower-alpha 1]
silent / /ŋ/ [lower-alpha 2] -/ng [lower-alpha 2] -/ng [lower-alpha 2] -/ng [lower-alpha 2] -/ng [lower-alpha 2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 The first alternative is used before a vowel; the second is used elsewhere.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Nothing in syllable-initial position, ng syllable-finally.
Comparison of romanization of vowels [6] [7]
/ɯ/ [ɯ] ~ [ɨ]uŭŭeu
/ø/ [ø] ~ [we](w)oyoeoeoe
/y/ [y] ~ [ɥi]wiwiwewi
/ɰi/ [ɰi] ~ [ɨ̯i] ~ [i]uyŭiŭiui


English Hangul
(RR transliteration in brackets)
McC-Rsr Yale SKATS
wall [pjʌk̚]byeok
on the wall벽에[pjʌ.ɡe̞]byeoge
pyŏgepyek eywsl ktu
pakkepakk eywell ktu
kitchen 부엌 [pu.ʌk̚]bueok
puŏkpuekhwh ktx
to the kitchen/in the kitchen부엌에[pu.ʌ.kʰe̞]bueoke
puŏk'epuekh eywh ktx ktu
Wikipedia 위키백과[ɥi.cʰi.bɛ̝k̚.k͈wa]wikibaekgwa
wikibaekkwawikhi payk.kwakhu xu weul lae
Hangul 한글 [han.ɡɯl]hangeulorhan-geul
han'gŭlhānkuljef ldv
character, letter 글자[kɯl.t͈ɕa]geulja
kŭlchakulqcaldv pe
(an) easy (+ noun)쉬운 …[ɕɥi.un]swiun …
(swiun …)
shwiun …swīwun …ghu khf
Korea has four distinct seasons.한국은 네 계절이 뚜렷하다.[han.ɡu.ɡɯn ne̞ cje̞.dʑʌ.ɾi t͈u.ɾjʌ.tʰa.da]Hangugeun ne gyejeori tturyeotada.
(Hangug-eun ne gyejeol-i ttulyeoshada.)
Hangugŭn ne kyejŏri tturyŏthada.Hānkuk un nēy kyēycel i ttwulyes hata.jef lhl kdf ftu lsu ptv ku bbh vsg je be
Just check the line color and width you want.원하시는 선 색깔과 굵기에 체크하시면 됩니다.[wʌn.ɦa.ɕi.nɯn sʌn sɛ̝k̚.k͈al.ɡwa kul.c͈i.e̞ tɕʰe̞.kʰɯ.ɦa.ɕi.mjʌn twe̞m.ɲi.da]Wonhasineun seon saekkkalgwa gulkkie chekeuhasimyeon doemnida.
(Wonhasineun seon saegkkalgwa gulggie chekeuhasimyeon doebnida.)
Wŏnhasinŭn sŏn saekkalgwa kulkie ch'ek'ŭhasimyŏn toemnida.Wēn hasinun sen sayk.kkal kwa ey cheykhu hasimyen toypnita.khtf je gu fdf gtf geul llev lae lhvl lu ktu ctu xd je gu msf bauw fu be

See also

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