Revised Romanization

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Korean spelling
Korean alphabet : 국어 의 로마자 표기법
Hanja : 國語 의 로마 字 表 記 法
Revised Romanization : gugeoui romaja pyogibeop
McCune-Reischauer : kugŏŭi romaja p'yogipŏp

The revised Romanization of Korean has been the official transcription for the Korean language in South Korea since 2000 . In this role, she replaced a romanization based on the McCune-Reischauer and valid from 1984 on. The transliteration was developed by the National Academy of the Korean Language, published by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Comparison with McCune-Reischauer

The clearest difference is the lack of diacritical marks with the exception of the very sparingly used hyphen . McCune-Reischauer used the breve to distinguish the letters ㅗ and ㅓ as well as ㅜ and ㅡ. These are often left out when entering data on the PC for reasons of convenience, which means that the often critical difference is no longer necessary. (For example, on subway line 2 in Seoul there is both a stop that has to be rewritten as McCune-Reischauer Sinch'on and one that has to be rewritten as Sinch'ŏn .) The same applies to the aspirated sounds ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅊ and ㅍ, which are separated by an apostrophe (k ', t', ch ', p') from the non-aspirated ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅈ and ㅂ (k, t, ch, p or g, d, j, b) were distinguished. These also show the problem that the apostrophe can easily be interpreted as a syllable separator by the non-literate reader (for example the stop name Sinch'on consists of the syllables Sin and ch'on ), for which the hyphen is used in the revised Romanization ( Han -geul is not pronounced Hang-eul ).

In addition, McCune-Reischauer often rewrote characters differently depending on whether they were at the beginning or in the middle of the word, in order to get closer to the actual pronunciation. For example, the city 대구 was written with McCune-Reischauer T aegu. The largest train station in the city 동대구, however, was written Tong- D aegu.

In the revised Romanization, the distinction between ㅗ and ㅓ or ㅜ and ㅡ is implemented using a preceding e. This is also misleading for inexperienced readers. For example, German readers often pronounce the capital Seoul as Se-ul (in fact, it is practically pronounced like the English soul ). A character is always rewritten in the same way, apart from the distinction between the initial and final of a syllable. Only if there is a clear sound shift is the same Korean character rewritten differently, for example in the 한라산, which is written instead of Hanlasan Hallasan . The aspirated sounds ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅊ and ㅍ are only rewritten with k, t, ch and p, while the non-aspirated sounds ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅈ and ㅂ are rewritten with g, d, j and b). Western readers in particular criticize the fact that Koreans would pronounce most of these words with the characters used by McCune-Reischauer, i.e. Taegu rather than Daegu. For Koreans this is of little relevance, the pronunciation of ㄷ and ㅌ differs in other characteristics than d and t.

Transcription scheme


In the transcription z. Sometimes simple vowels are also reproduced with several letters.

Simple vowels

a eo O u eu i ae e oe wi


ya yeo yo yu yae ye wa wae Where we ui


  • ㅢ is transcribed as ui even when pronounced like i .
  • Long and short vowels are not differentiated in the transcription, as in Han-geul .


The revised Romanization, like the McCune-Reischauer transcription, is based on the Korean standard pronunciation. Often it cannot be derived directly from the typeface. This applies above all to the transcription of the consonants.

g / k kk k d / t dd t b / p pp p j yy ch s ss H n m ng r / l

Rules for different spellings

  • The letters ㄱ, ㄷ, and ㅂ are transcribed as g , d, and b , respectively , when placed before a vowel; they are transcribed as k , t or p if another consonant follows or if they are at the end of a word. Examples:
구미 영동 백암 옥천 합덕 호법
Gumi Yeongdong Baegam Okcheon Hapdeok Hobeop
  • Some consonants, deviating from the basic scheme, are transcribed according to their actual pronunciation at the end of the syllable. Examples:
월곶 벚꽃 한밭
(not "Volgo j ")
(not "beo j kko ch ")
  • The letter ㄹ is transcribed as r when followed by a vowel; when followed by a consonant or when it comes to the end of a word, it is transcribed as l . The sequence of letters ㄹㄹ is transcribed as ll . Examples:
구리 설악 칠곡 임실 울릉
Guri Seorak Chilgok Imsil Ulleung
  • Consonant assimilations are given in the transcription after the pronunciation, not after the handwriting in Han-geul . Examples:
백마 신문 로 종로 왕십리 별내 신라
(not "Bae k ma")
(not "Sinmun r o")
(not "Jong r o")
(not "Wangsi pr i")
(not "Byeol n ae")
(not "Sin r a")
  • Pronunciation of the so-called “epenthetic ㄴ and ㄹ” are reproduced in the transcription. Examples:
학여울 알약
Hang n yeoul
(not "Ha ky eoul")
al l yak
(not "al y ak")
  • If the letters ㄷ or ㅌ come before i , they are transcribed as j or ch , according to the pronunciation . Examples:
해돋이 알 같이 맞히다
(not "haedo d i")
(not "alga t i")
(not "ma jh ida")
  • If the letters ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ or ㅈ are preceded or followed by the letter ㅎ, they are transcribed as k , t , p or ch and h is omitted . Examples:
좋고 놓다 잡혀 낳지
(not "jo hg o")
(not "no hd a")
(not "ja ph yeo")
(not "na hj i")
  • The h does not drop out in nouns in which ㅎ comes after ㄱ, ㄷ or ㅂ. Examples:
묵호 집현전
Muk h o
(not "Muko")
Jip h yeonjeon
(not "Jipyeonjeon")
  • In the case of compound morphemes, the tense or glottalized pronunciation of consonants is not reproduced in the transcription either, but is transcribed using the Han-geul spelling. Examples:
압구정 낙동강 죽변 낙성대 합정 팔당 샛별 울산
Apgujeong Nakdonggang Jukbyeon Nakseongdae Hapjeong Paldang saetbyeol Ulsan

Table for different notations

This table shows the notation of the consonant assimilations in a simplified way. The transcription results from the consonant at the end of the syllable plus the consonant at the beginning of the following syllable.

Final consonant Initial consonant of the next syllable
G n d r m b s j ch k t p H
k G kg ng n kd ngn ng m kb ks kj kch kk kt kp kh / k
n n ng nn nd l l / n n nm nb ns nj nch nk nt np nh
l r lg l l ld ll lm lb ls lj l lk according to lp lh
m m mg mn md m n mm mb ms mj mch mk mt mp mh
p b pg m n pd mn m m pb ps pj pch pk pt pp ph / p
ng ng ngg ngn ngd ng n ngm ngb ngs ngj ngch ngk ngt ngp ngh


A hyphen can be used to indicate the syllable boundaries of the Han-geul spellings. Examples:

중앙 반구대 세운 해운대
Young ang Ban-gudae Se-un Hae-undae


Proper names are capitalized. Examples:

부산 세종
Busan Sejong

Personal names

Korean personal names are written with a space between the family name and first name. In principle, the two syllables of a first name should not be separated by a hyphen, but a hyphen can be used. Examples (in the CJK language area the family name is written first):

송 나리
Song Nari
(or: Song Na-ri)

Other often found spellings: Song Na-Ri, Song Na Ri. More rarely also Song Na ri, Song NaRi.


  • Assimilation between consonants is not reflected in the transcription of personal names:
한복남 홍 빛나
Han Boknam
(or: Han Bok-nam;
not "Han Bongnam")
Hong Bitna
(or: Hong Bit-na;
not: "Hong Bi n na")
  • The transcription of family names should still be determined separately and could deviate from the scheme.

Place names

The names of administrative units are transcribed as follows: 도 do , 시 si , 군 gun , 구 gu , 읍 eup , 면 myeon , 리 ri , 동 dong and 가 ga . They are attached to the place name with a hyphen. Assimilation of consonants before or after the hyphen is not taken into account in the transcription. Examples:

충청북도 제주도 의정부시 양주군 도봉구 신창 읍
Chungcheongbuk-do Jeju-do Uijeongbu-si Yangju-gun Dobong-gu Sinchang-eup
삼죽면 인왕 리 당산동 봉천 1 동 종로 2 가 퇴계로 3 가
Samiuk-myeon Inwang-ri Dangsan-dong Bongcheon 1-dong Jongno 2-ga Toegyero 3-ga

The names of geographical formations, cultural monuments, etc. can be written together without a hyphen. Examples:

남산 속리산 금강 독도 경복궁 무량수전 연화교 극락전 안압지
Namsan Songnisan Handling Dokdo Gyeongbokgung Muryangsujeon Yeonhwagyo Geungnakjeon Anapji
남한산성 화랑대 불국사 현충사 독립문 오죽헌 촉석루 종묘 다보탑
Namhansanseong Hwarangdae Bulguksa Hyeonchungsa Dongnimmun Ojukheon Chokseongnu Jongmyo Dabotap

Conventional spellings

Proper names such as personal names and company names may be written as they were before the introduction of the revised Romanization.


In principle, it is not possible to unambiguously deduce from the revised Romanization the spelling in Han-geul . Where desired, such as in scientific articles, a modified method of transcription is used, in which letter by letter is transliterated according to the Han-geul spelling, regardless of pronunciation. Examples:

붓꽃 먹는 독립 문리 물엿 굳이 좋다 가곡 조랑말 없었 습니다
jib jip bakk there busk cook meogneun doglib munli mul-yeos gud-i johda gagog jolangmal eobs-eoss-seubnida

Differences from McCune-Reischauer

ㅓ and ㅡ are written with two vowel letters: eo and eu . In McCune-Reischauer they are written with ŏ and ŭ . These characters are not part of the standard character set and can easily be confused because of their similarity. However, the new transliteration is also misleading, especially for Germans, because eu is not pronounced like, for example, in German euch , but is a single sound that is spoken away like an open ö as in open . Also eo is a single volume and will be similar to the o in open pronounced.

ㅝ is written as wo and ㅢ is written as ui .

Aspirated consonants (ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅊ) do not have an apostrophe ( k, t, p and ch ) as in McCune-Reischauer. Their non-aspirated counterparts (ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ ㅈ) are written like voiced English sounds ( g, d, b, and j ). However, at the end of a word they are written as k, t, and p when pronounced that way. Compared to McCune-Reischauer, the change in the sound of the consonants at the beginning of the word has been omitted: Instead of “Pusan”, you now write “ Busan ”, and “Kimch'i” becomes “ Gimchi ”.

ㅅ is always written as s or t , never as sh .

ㄹ is r before a vowel, l before a consonant or at the end of a word. Double ㄹ is always ll

The hyphen can be used to delimit syllables, e.g. B. jeong-eum instead of jeon-geum .

The syllables of personal first names can be separated with a dash.

The transcription of personal names, existing names of companies, etc. Ä. Is not touched.

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