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Korean Romanization Revision Project. By Yunah Sung April 6, 2006 Committee on Korean Materials CEAL. Time line. Dec. 2004 - LC solicited reviewers via CKM July 2005 - LC sent a draft to the Chair of CKM Aug. 2005 - A review team of 10 formed

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Korean romanization revision project

Korean Romanization Revision Project

By Yunah Sung

April 6, 2006

Committee on Korean Materials


Time line

Time line

  • Dec. 2004 - LC solicited reviewers via CKM

  • July 2005 - LC sent a draft to the Chair of CKM

  • Aug. 2005 - A review team of 10 formed

  • Sept. 2005 - Draft was divided in 5 sections and each reviewer reviewed 2 sections

  • Oct. 2005 - Reviewers had a meeting in Seoul, Korea during the Workshop for Overseas Librarians

  • Jan. 2006 - Final recommendation was submitted to LC

Proposal for korean romanization and word division revision

Proposal For Korean Romanization and Word Division Revision

  • Prepared by

    Elaine Kim (Cataloging Specialist; Korean/Chinese Team RCCD)

    Young Ki Lee (Senior Cataloging Specialist; Korean/Chinese Team)

  • With assistance of

    LC Korean staff

    Philip Melzer

Proposal review team members

Proposal Review Team members

  • Mikyung Kang (Stanford University)

  • Hana Kim (University of Toronto)

  • Joy Kim (University of Southern California)

  • Bill McCloy (University of Washington)

  • Seunghi Paek (Harvard University)

  • Heija Ryoo (University of Washington)

  • Hee-Sook Shin (Columbia University)

  • Younghee Sohn (Chicago University)

  • Hyokyoung Yi (University of Washington)


    Yunah Sung (University of Michigan)

Lc s revision goals

LC’s Revision Goals

  • Base the guidelines upon the standard Korean practice (such as the Revised Korean Spelling System (1988)), which is commonly recognized by Korean people and Korean studies scholars.

  • Simplify the principles and rules, so the users are able to use and able to easily remember them.

  • Apply the same philosophy and principles throughout the whole guidelines.

  • Minimize the number of exceptions.

  • Simplify the terminology that is used in the guidelines.

  • Insofar as possible, have the guidelines facilitate machine searching in large databases.

  • Add more examples

Table of contents

Table of Contents

  • Romanization

  • Word Division

  • Appendix 1: List of Prefixes

  • Appendix 2: List of Suffixes

  • Appendix 3: List of Imperfect Nouns

  • Works consulted



Rule 1: General Practice

Rule 2: Authorities

Rule 3: Conflict Between Romanization Rule and Pronunciation

Rule 4: Medial ㅅ

Rule 5: Medials and Final Consonants Not Covered by the Original McCune-Reischauer Guidelines

Rule 6: ㅎ, ㄶ, ㅀ

Rule 7: ㄴ and ㄹ

Rule 8: Personal Names

Rule 9: Following Hyphens

Rule 10: Words of Western Origin

Rule 11: Romanization of Archaic Korean

Word division

Word Division

  • Basic Principles

  • Chapter 1: Particles (조사)

  • Chapter 2: Predicates (용언)

  • Chapter 3: Nominals (체언)

  • Chapter 4: Determiner (관형사), Exclamation (감탄사)

  • Chapter 5: Affixes (접사)

  • Chapter 6: Personal Names

  • Chapter 7: Corporate Names, Geographical Names, Publication titles

  • Chapter 8: Abbreviated Forms

  • Chapter 9: Numerals (수사)

  • Chapter 10: Western Origin Terms (외래어)

  • Chapter 11: Capitalization

  • Chapter 12: Punctuation

  • Chapter 13: Special Characters and Character Modifiers in Romanization

Comments on the draft

Comments on the draft

  • Overview

  • The Revised Korean Spelling System (1988)

  • Grammatical terms used in the text

  • Format

  • Examples

  • Suggested dictionaries

  • Web Online Library Catalog



  • Showed a great improvement on analyzing Korean phrases and sentences grammatically in an effort to clarify ambiguous issues on word division

  • added new specific rules in romanization and word division to the current ones

The revised korean spelling system 1988

The Revised Korean Spelling System (1988) 한글 맞춤법

The revised korean spelling system 19881

The Revised Korean Spelling System (1988) 한글 맞춤법

  • The revision adopts certain rules of the Revised Korean Spelling System, which causes more confusion

  • A comparison chart of significantly different rules between the Revised Korean Spelling System and the LC’s Korean Romanization and Word Division would be helpful

Grammatical terms used in the text

Grammatical terms used in the text

9 categories of parts of speech

  • 명사 Noun

  • 대명사 Pronoun

  • 수사 Numeral

  • 동사 Verb (or Action Verb)

  • 형용사 Adjective (or Descriptive Verb)

  • 관형사 Determiners (or Adnominal)

  • 부사 Adverb

  • 감탄사 Exclamation

  • 조사 Particle

    Confusing terms: Predicates (용언), simple inflected verb (동사), attributive adjective (한정 형용사), simple inflected verb (동사 어미 변화), single syllable modifier (단음절 수식어), demonstrative determiner (지시 관형사), attributive determiner (성상 관형사)

Grammatical terms used in the text1

Grammatical terms used in the text

  • Grammatical terms are very difficult to

    understand and confusing

  • Having a list of parts of speech in Korean and English is helpful



  • Rules written in bilingual

  • Searchable full-text index

  • Hypertext links

  • Well organized table of contents along with an index of terms and examples



  • Underlines in examples

  • Grouping examples

  • Straightforward examples

Examples underlines in examples

Examples: Underlines in examples

Chapter 1: Particles (조사)

Specific rule 1-2

Write a coordinated or multi-syllabic particle (다음절 조사) together as a word. However, always separate the particle ‘의’ from other particles.

나 만도 아니다

韓國 古典 에의 招待

一等 에게는 소 를 상 으로

學文 으로서의 史學

Examples grouping examples

Examples: Grouping examples

Chapter 3: Nouns (명사), Pronouns (대명사), and Imperfect Nouns (불완전 명사)

Write a noun (명사), pronoun (대명사), or imperfect noun (불완전 명사) as a separate word.

모란꽃 필 무렵모란꽃 필 무렵

(Noun) (Imperfect Noun)

어린이나름 대로어린이나름 대로

(Noun) (Imperfect Noun)

우는 것 이우는 것 이

(Imperfect Noun)

그럴 리 가 없다그럴 리 가 없다

(Imperfect Noun)

열흘 만 에열흘 만 에

(Imperfect Noun)

하라는 바람 에하라는 바람 에

(Imperfect Noun)

키 큰 이키 큰 이

(Noun) (Pronoun)

그럴 턱 이 있나?그럴 턱 이 있나?

(Imperfect Noun)

그 가 떠난 지 오래 이다그 가 떠난 지 오래 이다

(Pronoun) (Imperfect Noun)

네 가 뜻한 바 를 알겠다네 가 뜻한 바 를 알겠다

(Pronoun) (Imperfect Noun)

Suggested dictionaries

Suggested dictionaries

  • For contemporary publication from South Korea and North Korea

    국립 국어 연구원. 표준 국어 대사전. (Online Version) http://www.korean.go.kr/000_new/50_dic_info.htm

    과학 백과 사전 출판사. 조선말 사전 (평양 : 과학 백과 사전 출판사, 2004)

    1988 개정 한글 맞춤법

  • For pronunciation

    이 현복. 한국어 표준 발음 사전: 발음, 강세, 리듬. (서울 : 서울 대학교 출판부, 2002)

    현대 조선말 사전. 제 2판. (([평양] : 사회 과학 출판사, 1981)

  • For classical Korean publications

    한국 정신 문화 연구원. 한국 민족 문화 대백과 사전 (경기도 성남시 : 한국 정신 문화 연구원, 1991)

    이 은상 編. 古書 目錄 (서울 특별시 : 保景 文化社, 1987)

    대한 민국 국회 도서관. 韓國 古書 綜合 目錄 ([Seoul] : 대한 민국 국회 도서관, 1968)

  • For reading and pronunciation of Chinese characters

    張 三植. 大 漢韓 辭典. (서울 특별시 : 성문사, 1964)

    新 字典. ([Seoul] : 신문관, 1915 : Reprint : [Seoul] : 조 용승, 1973)

Suggested dictionaries1

Suggested dictionaries

  • Online version of “표준국어대사전” by 국립국어원

  • Currently available dictionary for reading and pronunciation of Chinese characters

  • Online Korean McCune-Reischauer Romanization Dictionary (http://www.romanization.org/)

  • 로마자 변환기 (http://urimal.cs.pusan.ac.kr/edu_sys_new/romanwebdll/romanweb.htm )

Online version of by

Online version of “표준국어대사전” by 국립국어원

Korean mccune reischauer romanization dictionary

Korean McCune-Reischauer Romanization Dictionary

Korean romanization revision project

로마자 변환기

Korean romanization revision project

로마자 변환기

Web online library catalog

Web Online Library Catalog

  • Research about the most effective searching methods in online catalog for a Korean material user

  • Numerous tests on binaries and hyphens in a searching word



  • Continue to follow the McCune-Reischauer system to romanize Korean

  • Prefer to represent the pronunciation, when romanization rules conflict with the pronunciation of a word

  • Omit a hyphen and indicate phonetic change in a given name

    Ex) 이 석민 Yi Sǒngmin

  • Do not indicate sound change following a hyphen

    EX) 강원도 Kangwǒn-to

    경상북도 Kyǒngsang-pukto

  • Strictly apply McCune-Reischauer rules and tables for the Romanization of Archaic Korean (옛한글)

    EX) T‘yǒnjyu텬쥬 not: Chŏnju

Word division basic principles

Word Division Basic Principles

  • Each part of speech is to be separated from other parts of speech

  • Each part of speech should be separated without any loss of original meaning

  • LC will designate certain standard dictionaries as final authorities to resolve questions of word division



  • Separate an auxiliary predicate (보조 용언) and its inflection (어미 변화) from main predicate (주 용언)

    EX) 늙어 갔었다, 잃어 버린, 만나고 싶은, 예뻐 진다

  • Connect auxiliary verbal form ‘-하다’, ‘-받다’, etc. and its inflections to a preceding noun (명사)

    EX) 사랑했던, 벌받다

  • Follow the conventions of ‘-하다 for compound adjectives (합성 형용사)

    EX) 맛없다, 재미있다, 값싸다

Nouns pronouns and imperfect nouns

Nouns,Pronouns, and Imperfect Nouns

  • Write a noun (명사), pronoun (대명사), or imperfect noun (불완전 명사) as a separate word

    EX) 그 가 떠난 지 오래 이다

    이 조국 어디 로 갈 것 인가

  • If two single character substantives appear in succession, and the first substantive makes a compound noun (합성 명사), write the second one as a separate word

    EX) 國稅 基本法 論

  • In writing compound nouns (합성 명사), attempt to create binaries when possible

    EX) 가락 국수, 가시 덤불, 경제 대국

  • Write a compound noun (합성 명사) as a single lexical unit if a yotized siot (사이 시옷) is involved

    EX) 보릿고개 not 보릿 고개



  • Separate a determiner (관형사) from a nominal (체언)

    EX) 저 하늘 에 도 슬픔 이, 모든 국민, 모 기관 에서 발표된

  • When a demonstrative determiner (지시 관형사) ‘이,’ ‘그,’ ‘저,’ ‘요,’ ‘고’, etc. modifies one of the following nominals (체언), and changes to a definite pronoun (지시 대명사) or determinative (관형어), write them together as one word

    EX) 이것, 그이, 저애, 이분, 요번, 저편, 이쪽 (즈음, 지경,노릇, 놈, 만큼, 대로, 분, 자, 치, 따위, 만, etc.)

  • Connect the native Korean attributive determiner (성상 관형사) ‘옛’ to the following noun it modifies.

    EX) 옛동산, 옛이야기, 옛자취, 옛사랑

  • Separate the native Korean attributive determiners (성상 관형사) ‘새’, ‘헌’, ‘뭇’, ‘온’ and Sino-Korean (한자어) attribute determiners (성상 관형사) ‘순 (純)’, ‘잡 (雜)’, etc. from the words they modify

    EX) : 새 책, 온 종일

Abbreviated forms

Abbreviated Forms

  • Write an abbreviated or contracted proper name of Korean or foreign origin as a single word

    EX) 오늘 의 北韓 Onŭl ŭi Pukhan

  • Hyphenate abbreviated forms of proper nouns (고유 명사) combined coordinately without phonetic change

    EX) 新舊約 全書 Sin-Kuyak chŏnsŏ

  • Hyphenate the abbreviated form 南北 when it indicates South Korea and North Korea, without phonetic change

    EX) 남북 회담 Nam-Puk Hoedam

  • Write two coordinated characters, affixes, or substantives together as an integral part of the word

    EX) 청소년 Ch’ ŏngsonyŏn, 中高等 學校 Chunggodŭng Hakkyo, 中短篇 Chungdanp’yŏn, 近現代 Kŭnhyŏndae



  • Separate the numeral quantifiers from cardinal numbers

    EX) Suggested practice Current practice

    1가지 방법 1-kaji pangbŏp 1-kaji pangbŏp

    한가지 방법 han kaji pangbŏp han’gaji pangbŏp

    책 4권 Ch‘aek 4-kwŏn Ch‘aek 4-kwŏn

    책 네권 Ch‘aek ne kwŏn Ch‘aek negwŏn

Terms of western origin

Terms of Western Origin

  • Connect a single character modifier, affix, or substantive of Western origin with a hyphen to a word of Korean or Sino-Korean origin

    EX) 에세이集 esei-chip, 마아케팅論 maak‘et‘ing-non, 우승컵Usŭng-k‘ŏp, 노벨상Nobel-sang

  • When a proper noun (고유 명사) of Western origin appears with a generic term for type of topographic feature, join them with a hyphen but without phonetic change

    EX) 타이완섬T‘aiwan-sŏm, 워싱톤시 Wŏsingt‘on-si, 아마존강 Amajon-kang

Korean romanization revision project1

Korean Romanization Revision Project

We will keep you posted!

Thank you very much !!!

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