Romanization is Not Bad

Romanization is not bad. Romanization serves one purpose, it serves as pronounciation guide. Romanization is very important for beginners. Especially if you’re self-learning Korean. Why? Because those Korean letters are very tricky creatures: they change how they should be pronounced. Beginners are not aware that there are many cases that we must change the way we read hangul.

For example, the word for “toys”, 장난감, is actually pronounced “jang-nan-kkam”, not “jang-nan-gam”.
(For beginners’ ears, it’s actually closer to “chang-nan-kkam”, because “j” at the beginning is closer to “ch” sound than “j” sound, so there are textbooks that romanize it as “chang-nan-kkam”).

The word for “grammar”, 문법, is actually pronounced “mun-ppeop”, not “mun-beop”.

And if you love K-Pop, you’ll know this term “막내” (=the youngest member in the group), is actually pronounced “mang-nae.” The “g” sound changes to “ng”.

There are tons of other examples, you’ll be surprised when you find those words, but you got the picture.

Now, how would you know that, if you’re self-learning, you have no one -no teacher- to tell you? By reading the romanization, of course! Romanization is helpful. This is true especially at the beginning phase of your learning, when you’re reluctant to check the Korean dictionary for pronunciation.

Check Naver Dictionary for pronunciation:

Check Naver Dictionary for pronunciation:

Take as long time as you need with romanization, and then one day, you’ll find yourself not needing it anymore. Just like me.

Japanese books use “katakana” letters for pronunciation guide. So it’s “katakanization“? And I don’t hate it. I find it useful. ###


6 thoughts on “Romanization is Not Bad

  1. Pingback: I’m Not Lying! 나 거짓말 안 했다니까! | Korean Vitamin

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