Revised Romanization of Korean

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]

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 use where omission of apostrophes and breves is common, this caused many Koreans as well as foreigners confusion. Hence, the revision of the Romanization of Korean was made with the belief that if the old system was left unrevised, it would continue to confuse people, both Koreans and foreigners.

Features

Revised Romanization of Korean
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanizationgugeoui romaja pyogibeop
McCune–Reischauerkugŏŭi romaja p'yogibŏp

These are notable features of the Revised Romanization system:

  • ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, and ㅈ have been changed from k, t, p, and ch to g, d, b, and j.
    • In phonology, g=k+voice, d=t+voice, b=p+voice and j=ch+voice so more comprehensive g,d,b and j has been assigned to , , and in order to differentiate them from , , and when the apostrophe is removed. And the environment in which , , and are pronounced as k,t,p and ch is articulated by the law.
    • For example, consonants , , and were decided to be romanized as k, t, p and ch when placed in the final position, as they are neutralized to unreleased stops: [pjʌk̚]byeok, [pak̚]bak, 부엌[pu.ʌk̚]bueok, 벽에[pjʌ.ɡe̞]byeoke, 밖에[pa.k͈e̞]bakke, 부엌에[pu.ʌ.kʰe̞]bueoke, [k'ŏp] → keop.
  • ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅊ have been changed from k', t', p' and ch' to k, t, p and ch. (removing the apostrophe of the McCune–Reischauer system).
  • Vowels ŏ and ŭ are written as eo and eu, respectively (replacing the ŏ and ŭ of the McCune–Reischauer system).
    • However, /wʌ/ is written as wo (not weo), and /ɰi/ is written as ui (not eui)
  • ㅅ used to be written as sh and s, depending on context. Now it will be written as s in all cases.
    • /s/ is written as s regardless of the following vowels and semivowels; there is no sh: [sa]sa, [ɕi]si.
    • When followed by another consonant or when in final position, it is written as t: [ot̚]ot (but 옷에[o.se̞]ose).
  • /l/ is r before a vowel or a semivowel and l everywhere else: 리을[ɾi.ɯl]rieul, 철원[tɕʰʌ.ɾwʌn]Cheorwon, 울릉도[ul.lɯŋ.do]Ulleungdo, 발해[pal.ɦɛ̝]Balhae. Like in McCune–Reischauer, /n/ is written l whenever pronounced as a lateral rather than as a nasal consonant: 전라북도[tɕʌl.la.buk̚.do]Jeollabuk-do

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

Other rules and recommendations include the following:

  • A hyphen optionally disambiguates syllables: 가을ga-eul (fall; autumn) versus 개울gae-ul (stream). However, few official publications make use of this provision since actual instances of ambiguity among names are rare.
    • A hyphen must be used in linguistic transliterations to denote syllable-initial except at the beginning of a word: 없었습니다eops-eoss-seumnida, 외국어oegug-eo, 애오개Ae-ogae
  • It is permitted to hyphenate syllables in the given name, following common practice. Certain phonological changes, ordinarily indicated in other contexts, are ignored in names, for better disambiguating between names: 강홍립Gang Hongrip or Gang Hong-rip (not *Hongnip), 한복남Han Boknam or Han Bok-nam (not *Bongnam or "Bong-nam")
  • Administrative units (such as the do) are hyphenated from the placename proper: 강원도Gangwon-do
    • One may omit terms such as 시, 군, 읍: 평창군Pyeongchang-gun or Pyeongchang, 평창읍Pyeongchang-eup or Pyeongchang.
  • However, names for geographic features and artificial structures are not hyphenated: 설악산Seoraksan, 해인사Haeinsa
  • Proper nouns are capitalized.
Other Languages
Tiếng Việt: Romaja quốc ngữ