Home > News > Hangeul Romanization needs fixing
9:54 | 17/06/2012 | 17

Hangeul Romanization needs fixing

/ korea times file experts shun it, users confused, government sits on handsby do je haethe current romanization system for hangeul (korean script) has been in use...

Hangeul Romanization needs fixing

A road sign near Kyunghee University in Seoul spells the name of a nearby subway station as “Hoegi”, honoring the governmentenforced Romanization system. The spelling does not properly reflect the actual pronunciation of the word, a shortcoming cited by some Korea specialists on a new Romanization format adopted in 2000. / Korea Times file

Experts shun it, users confused, government sits on handsBy Do Je-haeThe current Romanization system for Hangeul (Korean script) has been in use for more than 10 years, but people still find it confusing. Moreover, Hangeul experts shun it and prefer using an older system. Although the government knows this, it refutes calls to fix the system, citing a variety of reasons. Seoul has, so far, paid little or no attention to voices that criticize the scheme originally introduced by the culture ministry during Kim Dae-jung’s administration (1998-2003).Despite governmental promotion of the Romanization system, the older McCune-Reischauer system, adopted at the beginning of the 20th century, still maintains its position as the preferred method of Romanizing Korean in some key areas of academia and publishing. The Korea Times contacted several foreign experts on Korea about the issue. Most were still use the older system and are in favor of some form of revision.”I do not use the new Romanization system at all, and prefer the old one – that is, McCune-Reischauer”, said Vladimir Tikhonov, a professor of Korean and East Asian Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway. “The new Romanization just does not work for foreigners, it only misleads them. Neither our university library nor any public library here in Norway which I know, uses the current governmental system”, Tikhonov said. “I think that the best thing to do for the next government will be to acknowledge the mistake their predecessors made, and return to a simplified (without diacritics) version of McCune-Reischauer system”.Some foreign scholars working in Korea share similar views.”Like many foreigners, I do not like the new system for several reasons: 1) the use of “eo” for ㅓ is cumbersome; 2) initial g, d, b, j for ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ and ㅈ look bad; 3) the new system was forced on people undemocratically; and North Korea still uses a close variant of the old system (before the change in 2000, both Koreas used almost the same system)”, said Robert Fouser, professor of the Department of Korean Language Education at Seoul National University. “I use the new system when I write for publications in Korea, but the old system when I write for publications overseas. Publications usually specify the system, and most overseas require the old system”, he added. He suggested the government revert to the old system, but asks specialists (Koreans and foreigners) to work together to solve the problem of the breve and the apostrophe.The McCune-Reischauer preference can also be seen on the Internet. For example, many Youtube recordings of K-Pop hits display captions in older Romanized versions.But the government’s position is that the transfer to the new system, albeit flawed, has taken root particularly in public institutions and as the standard text for road signs.Recently, the National Institute of the Korean Language (NIKL) announced key policy goals for the next two years during a media briefing. However, absent from the announcement, was how to address the remaining confusion over the Revised Romanization, particularly in light of the rising demand for Korean education outside the country triggered by the “hallyu” (Korean Wave) boom. The hallyu boom has led to a surge of interest in learning Hangeul particularly in Japan, China and some Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam and Nepal.One of NIKL’s core responsibilities is to oversee policies for Romanizing Korean, but the agency does not yet have solid data, i.e. surveys or studies, to access how widespread use of the new system is in key areas, including academia, media and the publishing industries here and abroad.When the subject of the Romanization controversy emerged during the media briefing, the NIKL was unprepared to offer a clear direction ahead. Both the NIKL and the culture ministry are not looking to alter the current Romanization in the near future.”We will keep our ears open to the opinions of those users of the Romanized Korean in various sectors of society”, said Min Hyun-sik, director general of the NIKL during the press conference in Insa-dong in downtown Seoul.Such a lukewarm response resembles the one previously given by Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik during a Korea Times interview last month.”This is not just a matter of changing the Romanization system. Going back and forth on such major policies could hurt how Korea’s global stature”, Choe said. “If we were to revert to the old system, this would cause more confusion”. The top cultural policymaker was apprehensive about the immense costs that could be incurred from a policy flip-flop on Romanization. More than $260 million was spent changing road signs across the nation following the introduction of the new system.

GG kicks Jessica out of group
GG kicks Jessica out of group

A road sign near Kyunghee University in Seoul spells the name of a nearby subway station as “Hoegi”, honoring the governmentenforced Romanization system. The spelling does not properly reflect the actual pronunciation of the word, a shortcoming cited by some Korea specialists on a new Romanization format adopted in 2000. / Korea Times file Experts […]

Crayon Pop sing for “High School: Love On” OST
Crayon Pop sing for “High School: Love On” OST

A road sign near Kyunghee University in Seoul spells the name of a nearby subway station as “Hoegi”, honoring the governmentenforced Romanization system. The spelling does not properly reflect the actual pronunciation of the word, a shortcoming cited by some Korea specialists on a new Romanization format adopted in 2000. / Korea Times file Experts […]

Discovery of Romance Episode 11 Recap and Screenshots
Discovery of Romance Episode 11 Recap and Screenshots

A road sign near Kyunghee University in Seoul spells the name of a nearby subway station as “Hoegi”, honoring the governmentenforced Romanization system. The spelling does not properly reflect the actual pronunciation of the word, a shortcoming cited by some Korea specialists on a new Romanization format adopted in 2000. / Korea Times file Experts […]

DON'T MISS

[Spoiler] Added episode 3 captures for the Korean drama “Secret Door”

[Spoiler] Added episode 3 captures for the Korean drama “Secret Door”

Added episode 3 captures for the Korean drama “Secret Door” (2014)Directed by Kim Hyeong-sikWritten by Yoon Seon-jooNetwork : SBSWith Han Seok-Kyu, Lee Je-hoon, Kim...
[Spoiler] Added episode 11 captures for the Korean drama “My Secret Hotel”

[Spoiler] Added episode 11 captures for the Korean drama “My Secret Hotel”

Added episode 11 captures for the Korean drama “My Secret Hotel” (2014)Directed by Hong Jong-chanWritten by Kim Do-hyeon, Kim Ye-ri-IINetwork : tvNWith Yoo In-na, Jin...
[Spoiler] Added episode 13 captures for the Korean drama “Discovery of Romance”

[Spoiler] Added episode 13 captures for the Korean drama “Discovery of Romance”

Added episode 13 captures for the Korean drama “Discovery of Romance” (2014)Directed by Kim Seong-yoon, Lee Eung-bokWritten by Jeong Hyeon-jeongNetwork : KBSWith Jeong...
[Spoiler] Added episode 17 captures for the Korean drama “The Night Watchman”s Journal”

[Spoiler] Added episode 17 captures for the Korean drama “The Night Watchman”s Journal”

Added episode 17 captures for the Korean drama “The Night Watchman”s Journal” (2014)Directed by Lee Joo-hwan, Yoon Ji-hoonWritten by Bang Ji-yeong, Kim Seon-hee, Yoo...
Victoria and Cha Tae Hyun pose as bride & groom for “My Sassy Girl 2″

Victoria and Cha Tae Hyun pose as bride & groom for “My Sassy Girl 2″

A photo of Victoria and Cha Tae Hyun posing as sweet bride and groom has been released. Taken from their filming in Busan, the leads of the sequel of the hit movie “My...
Strawberry Milk duo releases cute teaser images in a bathtub for “Jackpot”

Strawberry Milk duo releases cute teaser images in a bathtub for “Jackpot”

If you think anyone in a bathtub and robes can only appear sexy and hot, the twins from Crayon Pop prove you wrong. Strawberry Milk unit has released the 1st teaser image...
Juniel launches latest album

Juniel launches latest album

Female singer-songwriter Juniel, 21, released a new album Monday, after showcasing the title track “I Think I”m in Love” earlier Sunday on a stage that was set up...
CNBLUE”s Jonghyun cheers on Nam Young Joo”s debut

CNBLUE”s Jonghyun cheers on Nam Young Joo”s debut

CNBLUE”s Jonghyun cheered on Nam Young Joo”s debut with the song “Fragile and Kind“. Jonghyun himself composed and wrote the song for Nam Young Joo”s debut, and...
Boyfriend transform into red-hooded “WITCH” in concept photo

Boyfriend transform into red-hooded “WITCH” in concept photo

Boyfriend release the concept photo for their upcoming 3rd mini album “WITCH”. The boys have turned into seemingly male versions of red riding hood wearing hooded suits...
Kim Jaejoong wins Male Top Excellence Award at 2014 Korea Drama Awards

Kim Jaejoong wins Male Top Excellence Award at 2014 Korea Drama Awards

JYJ”s Kim Jae Joong wins the “Male Top Excellence Award” at the 2014 Korea Drama Awards on October 1 which is held at the Cultural Arts Center in Gyeongsangnam-do....
“10+ Star” reveals making of October issue photo shoot with BTS

“10+ Star” reveals making of October issue photo shoot with BTS

“10+ Star” has revealed the making of the magazine”s pictorial featuring BTS. The boys of BTS covered the October issue and took on the concept “Colorful Moment“....
Jessica and Krystal unit debut & reality program season 2 are cancelled

Jessica and Krystal unit debut & reality program season 2 are cancelled

It is abruptly revealed that sisters Jessica and Krystal have more in store for their fans but apparently goes on hold until further notice. According to program officials...
Kim Soo Hyun receives his daesang from the 2014 Korea Drama Awards in tears

Kim Soo Hyun receives his daesang from the 2014 Korea Drama Awards in tears

Actor Kim Soo Hyun has been awarded with the grand prize (Daesang) at the 2014 Korea Drama Awards on October 1 which is held at the Cultural Arts Center in Gyeongsangnam-do....
[NEW RELEASES] KOH SANG-JI

[NEW RELEASES] KOH SANG-JI

KOH SANG-JI“Maycgre 1.0″Label: Private CurveGenre: World The bandoneon was one of the least appealing musical instruments to me, and certainly one of the last I thought...
CNBlue”s Jonghyun snaps a supportive selca with Nam Young Joo

CNBlue”s Jonghyun snaps a supportive selca with Nam Young Joo

CNBlue”s Jonghyun has poured his support for the debut of Nam Young Joo. The CNBlue”s guitarist presented the rookie singer a song written by himself  which turned...
Fashion Face Off: Jessica Vs. Tiffany In Miu Miu Dress [Blog]

Fashion Face Off: Jessica Vs. Tiffany In Miu Miu Dress [Blog]

(Photo : The Celebrity Magazine & Ceci Korea) Welcome to another installment of Fashion Face Off! This week, Girls” Generation”s Tiffany faces Jessica in the battle...
Wardrobe Inspection: K-Pop's Best Dressed – September 2014

Wardrobe Inspection: K-Pop's Best Dressed – September 2014

  (Photo : YMC Entertainment)   September was chock full of comebacks ranging from Shin Ji Hoon’s ballad “Cry Baby” all the way to Beat Burger’s 1st Electronic...
Jessica-Kris-Sulli: 2014 Has Not Been A Good Year For SM Entertainment’s Promotional Activities [Opinion]

Jessica-Kris-Sulli: 2014 Has Not Been A Good Year For SM Entertainment’s Promotional Activities [Opinion]

  (Photo : ()) First Kris, then Jessica. Will f(x) Sulli be the next to leave?   On September 30, SM Entertainment confirmed that Girls’ Generation Jessica will no longer...
M.I.B And 4Ten To Headline Chuseok Festival In New York

M.I.B And 4Ten To Headline Chuseok Festival In New York

Fall is officially here, and at this time of year it is customary to celebrate the harvest and give thanks.  While Korean Thanksgiving (Chuseok) may have already passed,...
Asian Pop Group SAGA To Tour Europe Next Month With Performances In Eight Countries

Asian Pop Group SAGA To Tour Europe Next Month With Performances In Eight Countries

Asian pop group SAGA will embark on their first European tour next month, hitting ten different cities in seven countries. Comprised of members Rio, Kevin, and Ramy, SAGA...