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Korean Studies Resources

Korean Romanization Rules

When searching for books, articles, and other materials in Korean, you should search not only in Hangul, but also in Romanized Korean for best results. All academic libraries in North America use the McCune-Reischauer system to romanize Korean under the rules by the Library of Congress stated in the Korean romanization and Word Division. The Korean Romanization Table in Appendix 7 at the end of document illustrates the general application of the Korean Romanization rules; exceptions are noted in Korean romanization guideline of the Library of Congress.


 

Library of Congress Romanization Rules & Table

 

 
Letter Position Rules for Romanization  Examples

Initial

Medial

 

 

Final 

Always K

1. G between vowels, or af ter ㄴ, ㄹ, ㅁ and ㅇ

2. NG before ㄴ, ㄹ and ㅁ

3. K before and after all other consonants

Always K

국어 Kugŏ

물건 mulgŏ n 전기 ch ŏn’gi

국민 ku ngmin

합계 hap kye

조국 ch oguk 

Initial

 

Medial

 

Final 

1. Not romanized before ‘ ㅣ’ and yotize d vowels

2. N before other vowels

1. L when preceded or followed by ㄹ

2. N in all other cases

Always N

녀자 yŏj a 닐곱 ilgop

농민 non gmin

달님 tallim 한류 Hall yu

미나리 mina ri

강산 ka ngsan 

Initial

Medial

 

 

 

Final

Always T

1. D between vowels, or after ㄴ, ㅁ, ㅇ

2. T after ㄱ, ㅂ, ㄹ and ㅅ

3. N as syllabic final before ㄴ

4. T as syllabic final before other consonants

Always T 

다섯 tas ŏt

무당 muda ng 만두 mandu

합동 hapto ng 율동 yultong

치닫는 ch’ida nnŭn

숟가락 sutka rak 묻다 mutt a

곧 kot

Initial

 

Medial

 

 

Final

1. Not romanized befo re ‘ㅣ’, or y otized vowels

2. N before other vowels

1. R between vowels, or be fore ㅎ

2. L before all other consonants, or after ㄴ and ㄹ

3. N after other consonants

Always L 

력사 yŏ ksa 리론 iron

론술 non sul

마루 maru 발해 Parha e

물리학 mullihak

종로 Ch ongno

오솔길 o solkil 

Initial

Medial

Final

Always M

Always M

Always M 

목수 moksu

나무 namu 몸살 mom sal

보석함 po sŏkham 

Initial

Medial

 

 

Final

Always P 

1. B between vowels , or after ㄴ, ㄹ, ㅁ and ㅇ

2. M before ㄴ, ㄹ and ㅁ

3. P before and after all other consonants

Always P 

발표 palp’ yo 

갈비 kal bi 냄비 naembi

섭리 sŏ mni 잡무 ch ammu

접시 chŏpsi 문법 munp ŏp

헌법 hŏn pŏp 

Initial

Medial

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

1. SH before ‘ ㅟ ’

2. S before other vowels

1. SH before ‘ ㅟ ’

2. S before other vowels

3. NN as syllabic final b efore ‘ㅣ’ and yotized vowels in compound words

4. S as syllabic final before ‘ㅣ’ and yoti zed vowels in single words

5. T as syllabi c final before ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㅅ, ㅈ and ㅎ

6. D as syllabic final in prefixes after all other vowels

Always T 

쉽게 shwipke

상업 sa ngŏp

아쉬운 a shwiun

농산물 no ngsanmul 웃음 usŭm

옛일 ye nnil 숫양 su nnyang

깨끗이 kka kkŭsi

못하다 mothada 엇갈린 ŏtkallin

웃옷 udot 첫아들 c h’ŏdadŭl

삿갓 sat kat 

Initial

Medial

 

Final 

Not romanized

1. Not romanized as syllabic initial

2. NG as syllabic final

Always NG 

얼굴 ŏlgul

독일 Togil 금융 kŭm yung 농

민 non gmin

사랑 sa rang  

Initial

Medial

 

 

 

Final 

Always CH

1. J between vowels , or after ㄴ, ㅁ and ㅇ

2. CH after all other consonants

3. N as syllabic final before ㄴ, ㅁ

4. T as syllabic final before other consonants

Always T

진리 chilli 도

장 tojang 민족 minjo k

목장 mo kchang

젖니 ch ŏnni 젖먹이 chŏnmŏgi

짖다 chitta

빚 pit 

Initial

Medial

 

 

 

Final 

Always CH’

1. Always CH’ as syllabic initial

2. N as syllabic final before ㄴ,ㅁ

3. T as syllabic final before all other consonants

4. J as syllabic final before vowels

Always T 

차별 ch’ abyŏl

김치 kim ch’i

빛낸 pinn aen

찾다 ch’ a tta 쫓기다 ch’otki da

찾아 ch’ aja

장미꽃 chan gmikkot 

Initial

Medial

Final 

Always K’

Always K’

Always K 

코끼리 k’ okkiri

단칸방 tan k’anpang

동녘 tongn yŏk 

Initial

Medial

 

 

Final 

Always T’

1. T’ before vowels, or afte r ㄱ, ㄷ, ㄹ, ㅂ, ㅅ, ㅇ and ㅈ

2. T before ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅅ and ㅈ

3. N before ‘ ㅣ ’ in compo und word, or before ㄴ,ㅁ

Always T 

태풍 t’aep’u ng

국토 ku kt’o 같은 kat’ŭ n

같던 kattŏn 낱셈 natsem

밭일 pan nil 낱말 nanm al

햇볕 haetp yŏt 

Initial

Medial

 

Final 

Always P’

1. Always P’ as syllabic initial

2. P as syllabic final

Always P 

편지 p’yŏnji

병풍 pyŏng p’ung

짚신 chipsin

풀잎 p’ullip 

Initial

Medial*

 

 

 

Final 

Always H

1. H as syllabic initial after ㄱ, ㅂ and ㅅ

2 CH’ as syllabic initial after ㄷ and ㅈ

3. Not romanized as syllabic final before vowels

4. NN as syllabic final b efore ㄴ

Always T 

황금 hwanggŭm

북한 Pukhan

잊혀진 ich’yŏjin

낳은 naŭ n

낳는 nannŭn

히읗 hiŭt 

Initial

Medial

 

 

Final 

Always KK

1. KK, except after ㄱ , as syllabic initial

2. KK as syllabic final before vowels

3. K as syllabic final before others

Not applicable 

까마귀 kka magwi

깔끔 kkal kkŭm 호박꽃 hobakkot

낚이다 na kki da 묶음 mu kkŭm

낚시 na ksi

Initial

Medial

Final 

Always TT

Always TT

Not applicable 

땅 ttang

찰떡 ch’ alttŏk 

 

Initial

Medial

Final 

Always PP

Always PP

Not applicable 

빨래 ppall ae 

오빠 opp a 

 

Initial

Medial

 

 

Final 

Always SS

1. Always SS as syllabic initial or, between vowels

2. N as syllabic final before ㄴ

3. T as syllabic final before other consonants

Not applicable 

씨름 ssirŭm

불쌍 pul ssan g 있으며 issŭ myŏ

있는 innŭ n 있냐 inn ya

했다 haetta 오갔고 og atko 

Initial

Medial

Final 

Always TCH

Always TCH 

Not applicable 

짜증 tc hajŭng

가짜 kat cha 

 

* For further detail regarding syllabic final medial ㅎ, see Romanization rule 7