Romanization of Korean

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Romanization of Korean
Revised RomanizationRomaja
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Romanization of Korean
Revised RomanizationRomaja

The romanization of Korean is a system for representing the Korean language using the Latin script. Korea's alphabetic script is called Hangul, and is occasionally written using the combination of, or independently from Hanja (Chinese characters).

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.


(RR transcription in brackets)
“on the wall”벽에[pjʌ.ge]byeoge
pyŏgepyek eywsl ktu
pakkepakk eywell ktu
puŏkpuekhwh ktx
“to the kitchen/in the kitchen”부엌에[pu.ʌ.kʰe]bueoke
puŏk'epuekh eywh ktx ktu
wikibaekkwawikhi payk.kwakhu xu weul lae
Hangul한글[haːn.gɯl]hangeul or han-geul
han'gŭlhānkuljef ldv
character, letter글자
kŭlchakulqcaldv pe
“(an) easy” (+ noun)쉬운 …[ɕyː.un]swiun …
(swiun …)
shwiun …swīwun …ghu khf
“Korea has four distinct seasons.”한국은 네 계절이 뚜렷하다.
(韓國은 네 季節이 뚜렷하다.)
[haːn.ɡu.ɡɯn neː kjeː.dʑʌ.ɾi t͈u.ɾjo.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.
(願하시는 線 色깔과 굵기에 체크하시면 됩니다.)
[wəːn.ha.ɕi.nɯn sʌn sɛk̚.k͈al.ɡwa kul.k͈i.e tɕʰe.kʰɯ.ha.ɕi.mjʌn tøm.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[edit]


  1. ^ "ALA-LC Romanization Tables". 
  2. ^ "Korean Romanization Reference". 

External links[edit]