Romanization of Korean HOME > Romanization of Korean

1. Basic Principles of Romanization

  • (1) Romanization is based on standard Korean pronunciation.
  • (2) Symbols other than Roman letters are avoided to the greatest extent possible.

2. Summary of the Romanization System

(1) Vowels are transcribed as follows :

simple vowels

simple vowels
a eo o u eu i ae e oe w

diphthongs

diphthongs
ya yeo yo yu yae ye wa wae wo we ui
Note 1: ㅢ is transcribed as ui, even when pronounced as ㅣ.
Note 2: Long vowels are not reflected in Romanization.
(2) Consonants are transcribed as follows:

plosives(stops)

g, k kk k d, t tt t p pp b, p

affricates

affricates
j jj ch

nasals

nasals
n m ng

fricatives

fricatives
s ss h

liquids

liquids
r, l
Note 1 : The sounds ㄱ, ㄷ, and ㅂ are transcribed respectively as g, d, and b when they appear before a vowel; they are transcribed as k, t, and p when followed by another consonant or form the final sound of a word.
(They are Romanized as pronunciation in [ ].)
Note 2 : ㄹ is transcribed as r when followed by a vowel, and as l when followed by a consonant or when appearing at the end of a word. ㄹㄹ is transcribed as ll.

(e.g.) 구 리 Guri / 설 악 Seorak / 칠 곡 Chilgok / 임 실 Imsil / 울 릉 Ulleung / 대관령[대괄령] Daegwallyeong

3. Special Provisions for Romanization

(1) When Korean sound values change as in the following cases, the results of those changes are Romanized as follows:

① The case of assimilation of adjacent consonants

The case of assimilation of adjacent consonants
백마[뱅마] Baengma 신문로[신문노] Sinmunno 종로[종노] Jongno
왕십리[왕심니] Wangsimni 별내[별래] Byeollae 신라[실라] Silla

② The case of the epenthetic ㄴ and ㄹ

The case of the epenthetic ㄴ and ㄹ
학여울[항녀울] Hangnyeoul 알약[알략] allyak

③ Cases of palatalization

Cases of palatalization
해돋이[해도지] haedoji 같이[가치] gachi 맞히다[마치다] machida

④ Cases where ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, and ㅈ are adjacent to ㅎ

Cases where ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, and ㅈ are adjacent to ㅎ
좋고[조코] joko 놓다[노타] nota
잡혀[자펴] japyeo 낳지[나치] nachi

However, aspirated sounds are not reflected in case of nouns where ㅎ follows ㄱ, ㄷ, and ㅂ, as in the examples below.

However, aspirated sounds are not reflected in case of nouns where ㅎ follows ㄱ, ㄷ, and ㅂ, as in the examples below
묵호 Mukho 집현전 Jiphyeonjeon

Note: Tense (or glottalized) sounds are not reflected in cases where morphemes are compounded, as in the examples below.

Note: Tense (or glottalized) sounds are not reflected in cases where morphemes are compounded, as in the examples below
압구정 Apgujeong 낙동강 Nakdonggang 죽 변 Jukbyeon 낙성대 Nakseongdae
합 정 Hapjeong 팔 당 Paldang 샛 별 saetbyeo 울 산 Ulsan
(2) When there is the possibility of confusion in pronunciation, a hyphen '-' may be used.
중앙 Jung-ang 반구대 Ban-gudae
세운 Se-un 해운대 Hae-undae
(3) The first letter is capitalized in proper names.
The first letter is capitalized in proper names.
부산 Busan 세종 Sejong
(4) Personal names are written by family name first, followed by a space and the given name. In principle, syllables in given names are not separated by hyphen, but the use of a hyphen between syllables is permitted.
Personal names are written by family name first, followed by a space and the given name. In principle, syllables in given names are not separated by hyphen, but the use of a hyphen between syllables is permitted.
민용하 Min Yongha (Min Yong-ha) 송나리 Song Nari (Song Na-ri)

① Assimilated sound changes between syllables in given names are not transcribed

Assimilated sound changes between syllables in given names are not transcribed
한복남 Han Boknam (Han Bok-nam) 홍빛나 Hong Bitna (Hong Bit-na)

② Romanization of family names will be determined separately.

(5) Administrative units such as 도, 시, 군, 구, 읍, 면, 리, 동, and 가 are transcribed respectively as do, si, gun, gu, eup, myeon, ri, dong, and ga, and are preceded by a hyphen. Assimilated sound changes before and after the hyphen are not reflected in Romanization.
충청북도 Chungcheongbuk-do 제주도 Jeju-do 의정부시 Uijeongbu-si
양주군 Yangju-gun 도봉구 Dobong-gu 신창읍 Sinchang-eup
삼죽면 Samjuk-myeon 인왕리 Inwang-ri 당산동 Dangsan-dong
봉천1동 Bongcheon 1(il)-dong 종로 2가 Jongno 2(i)-ga 퇴계로 3가 Toegyero 3(sam)-ga
Note: Terms for administrative units such as 시, 군, 읍 may be omitted.
청주시 Cheongju 함평군 Hampyeong 순창읍 Sunchang
(6) Names of geographic features, cultural properties, and man-made structures may be written without hyphens.
Names of geographic features, cultural properties, and man-made structures may be written without hyphens.
남산 Namsan 속리산 Songnisan 금강 Geumgang
독도 Dokdo 경복궁 Gyeongbokgung 무량수전 Muryangsujeon
연화교 Yeonhwagyo 극락전 Geungnakjeon 안압지 Anapji
남한산성 Namhansanseong 화랑대 Hwarangdae 불국사 Bulguksa
현충사 Hyeonchungsa 독립문 Dongnimmun 오죽헌 Ojukheon
촉석루 Chokseongnu 종묘 Jongmyo 다보탑 Dabotap
(7) Proper names such as personal names and those of companies may continue to be written as they have been previously.

(8) When it is necessary to convert Romanized Korean back to Hangeul in special cases such as in academic articles, Romanization is done according to Hangeul spelling and not pronunciation. Each Hangeul letter is Romanized as explained in section 2 except that ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㄹ are always written as g, d, b, l. When ㅇ has no sound value, it is replaced by a hyphen may also be used when it is necessary to distinguish between syllables.

l. When ㅇ has no sound value, it is replaced by a hyphen may also be used when it is necessary to distinguish between syllables.