The Revised Romanization uses no non-alphabetic symbols except very limited, often optional, use of the hyphen. It was developed by the National Academy of the Korean Language from 1995 and was released to the public on July 7 2000, by South Korea's Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Proclamation No. 2000-8. The proclamation included the following reasons for the new system:
Notable features of the Revised Romanization system are:
In addition, there are special provisions for regular phonological rules that makes exceptions to transliteration (see Korean language#Phonology).
Other rules and recommendations include:
North Korea continues to use a version of the McCune-Reischauer system of Romanization, which was in official use in South Korea from 1984 to 2000.
|g, k||kk||k||d, t||tt||t||b, p||pp||p|
The revised romanization transcribes certain phonetic changes that occur with combinations of the final consonant of one character and the initial consonant of the next:
|ㄷ||t||d, j||tg||nn||td||nn||nm||tb||ts||tj||tch||tk||t-t||tp||th, t, ch|
Critics of the Revised Romanization System say that the one-to-one correspondence of Korean characters to Roman letters (e.g., usually representing ㄱ as g) which is the hallmark of the new system is overly simplistic and fails to represent sound changes that occur naturally when the position of a consonant changes (e.g., at the beginning of a word, ㄱ is pronounced closer to an unaspirated k, rather than as a straight g). A frequent complaint of many foreign residents and visitors to South Korea is that both Romanization systems hinder their ability to come close to an accurate and comprehensible rendering of Korean pronunciation.
Critics also complain that people unfamiliar with hangul pronunciation may be confused by what "eo" and "eu" are intended to represent in the revised system. With common English words or names such as "geography", "Leonardo", and "neon" representing a two-syllable sound for eo, a neophyte to Korean words may fail to recognize that eo is supposed to represent a vowel sound like that of "son" or "fun". Defenders of the system cite English words such as surgeon as evidence of the appropriateness of the combination, even though the sound is not an exact match. Other supporters point out that it is a system intended to transliterate into the Roman alphabet, not English.
There is no one-to-one correspondence between the Roman letters and hangul in the new system. One needs to familiarize himself to the phonological rules of Korean before he can easily comprehend the sound each Roman letter gives sound. For example, the word 악클 when romanized in the new system it would be "akkeul (ak-keul)". A neophyte could misinterpret that the k in the two syllables represent one same sound. He needs to learn the phonological rules of Korean before he would know that the two sounds are different since k in batchim position would never be an aspirated one. This situation would not happen to either McCune-Reischauer (akk'ŭl [kk is cannot be aspirated]) or Yale (ak.khul).
The motivation for the digraph "eo" appears to have been the wide international use of "Seoul" as the spelling of the name of the Korean capital. This spelling derives from an old French romanization Séoul in which the two syllables of this name were "sé" and "oul." However, because of antipathy to the use of diacritics in the McCune-Reischauer system, the revised romanization treats this as "seo" and "ul," and then uses the digraph "eu" by analogy.
The Ministry of Culture & Tourism says that the change was necessary because the McCune-Reischauer system did not adequately reflect important characteristics of the Korean language, making it difficult for native Korean speakers to use. For example, "The difference between some voiced and non-voiced sounds are in Korean little more than allophones, but [the] old system transcribed these as entirely different phonemes."
This difficulty contributed to confusion and inconsistency in the Romanizing of Korean. The old system differentiated between voiced and non-voiced consonants, making it very difficult for Koreans to understand and contributing to spellings such as "Kumkang" and "Hankuk" for "금강" and "한국" instead of "Kŭmgang" and "Han'guk," as would have been correct according to the old system. There were contradictions as well. "대구" was written "Taegu," but 동대구, the name of Daegu's largest passenger train terminal, was Romanized "Tongdaegu." And because "ㄷ, ㅂ, and ㅈ" have to be written in a way that a distinction is maintained between "ㅌ, ㅍ, and ㅊ," people rarely wrote "ㄷ, ㅂ, and ㅈ" as "t, p, and ch," even when they were conscious of the fact that this was not correct according to the old system, since they would not want to have words confused with the "t', p', and ch' " that often had the apostrophe omitted. The result was that "ㄷ, ㅂ, and ㅈ" were written "t, p, and ch" on road signs but as "d, b, and j" almost everywhere else, such as personal names and the names of companies and schools. | 4=Ministry of Culture & Tourism | 5=The Revised Romanization of Korean