H OW TO READ / ROMANIZE KOREAN

Step -1- / -2- / -3- / style variation

 

Step 2

Now check your answers! Did you get them right?

moh nah han gook mal

 


Sound Shifters

Under different environments, sound shifters become a different sound.
It is VERY important to take notice of this as you romanize. It's something you CANNOT ignore.
If you don't adjust the sound of the character accordingly, your romanization will be incorrect.

Ex: consonant

This character is silent at the start of a word (to follow the rule of consonants always starting first in words). As when you want to say single vowel sounds like "ah" or "oh" you still need a consonant at the beginning to satisfy the rule, rather than the vowel standing by itself. Placed at the end, it is pronounced "ng"

Ex: sound shifters

an nyeong

Ok, hold on there's more in the chart below.
Start = when character* is at the beginning of a word
Middle = when character is the START of the second 'part of a word'*
End = when character is at the end of 'a part of a word' or a word*

*Note: definitions
+
character

part + part = a word

an = first 'part of a word'
nyeong = second 'part of a word'

a word
(no space in between)

 

SOUND SHIFTERS CHART    
       
Character Starting sound Middle sound End sound
t d* t
p b* p
r r l*
k g* k
s s t*
silent* n/a*** ng*


* = sound shifts in this environment
*** = position as 'Middle sound' doesn't affect the sound. Romanize according to whether it is a 'Starting sound' or 'End sound'

 

All examples that follow are words. This means under normal circumstances, there will be no space between them

Ex: Starting sounds


ka da

han gook

ta seot

note: 's' remains 's' even as a middle sound

Sounds remain the same as according to the chart

 

Ex: Middle Sounds


ka da

ah gi

han gook



Ex: End Sounds


ta seot


kal bi

Take care when you see sound shifters while romanizing, to check their position, and if it will affect its sound.


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Sometimes, you may see consonant clusters. These are words with four symbols in one word.

Ex: consonant clusters followed by a consonant

cheorm da

When this happens, and if the cluster 'r m' (in this case), is followed by a consonant ('d'), then usually one of the two in the cluster is pronounced and the other is not. More rules apply, but that will do for a rough romanization. Usually you will only know these things as you become familiar with the language.

 

Ex: consonant clusters followed by a vowel

cheol meo seo


When the cluster is followed by a vowel ("eo" in this case [not counting the silent 'O']), then usually the second of the cluster ("m" in this case) is taken over to the next word, and attached there (creating "meo" in this case). Also remember that 'r' at the end of a character becomes 'l' (making "cheol").

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Now romanize these words. Answers on next (and last!) page.