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How to Write Names in Korean


Korean is one of the easiest languages to write and read. Because the rules governing written Korean have virtually no exceptions, even if you do not understand the meanings of characters, you can read anything as long as you know the letters. Writing names is easy because you can spell them out exactly as they are pronounced.

Break down the name to as many syllables as necessary to be pronounced in a Korean accent. For example, "Brian" would become "beu-ra-yun," spelled 브라---. "James" would be pronounced "jae-eem-seu" and written as 재임스. "Jane" would be broken down to "jae-in" or 재인.

Some names are simple enough when conjugated into Korean that very little change is made. "Jenny," for example, would be "jeh-nee" or 제니. This is also true for "Sarah," which would be "sae-ra" or 새라, or "Eric," which would turn into "eh-rik" or ---릭.

Names containing "f" or "th" sounds may be a bit more complex. You will need to substitute similar sounds for the ones that do not occur in Korean.

"Sophia" would be "so-pee-ah" and written as 소"아. This name could also be written as 소"야, should you desire to emphasize the "y" sound.

"Cathy" would be "kae-ddee," since there is no "th" sound in the Korean language. It would be written as 캐띠.

Here are the most popular names of 2008 conjugated into Korean:

  1. Jacob 재이컵 Emma 애머
  2. Michael 마이클 Isabella 이자벨
  3. Ethan 이땐 Emily ---밀리
  4. Joshua 조슈와 Madison 매""슨
  5. Daniel 다니--- or 대니--- Ava 애이"
  6. Alexander 알렉"" Olivia 올리비아
  7. Anthony 앤"이 Sophia 소"아 or 소"야
  8. William 윌리" Abigail 아비개일 or 애비개일
  9. Christopher 크리스토퍼 Elizabeth ---리자베뜨 or ---리자베스
  10. Matthew 매뜌 or 맷뜌 Chloe 클로이

Tips
  • Even if you do not know the Korean alphabet, a rule that applies across the board is that each character is read from left to right, then from top to bottom. Each character represents one "syllable" when pronounced with a Korean accent, and not necessarily one word.
  • Remember that Koreans typically use ... to substitute for the "f" sound.
About the Author

Crystal Kang has been writing since 2009. She currently teaches English at a girls middle school in South Korea. She has served as editor-in-chief for an independent publication and opinions writer for the campus newspaper. She has been a guest writer for a quarterly Christian newsletter as well as her grandfather's biography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from University of California, Riverside.