Common Mispronunciations: Korean Words and Names

Hangul does not have any direct English translation for each character. The ‘romanization’ that you often see is just a representation of how it sounds like but is not 100% accurate. So with this, a lot of words are being mispronounced. Here are the most common words and names that are mispronounced all over the world.

ㅓ / ŏ, eo / , ㅐ /ĕ, ae/

Eo(ㅓ) is the short sound /o/ , and ae(ㅐ) is short sound /e/. Do not separate the syllables like e-o, and a-e. For example, names like Baekhyun, Hyuna, Jaehyun, and Jaebum should read as Baek-hyeon, Hyeon-a, Jae-hyeon, and Jae-beom.

Other examples:

삼성 (Samsung) is sam-seong.

현대 (Hyundai) should be hyeon-dae (short sound)


언니 is /eonni/, not unni (Older sister)

언니 is pronounced with a short /o/ sound at the 1st syllable. Due to romanization, some mistake (eonni) 언니 as unnie with /oo/ or /u/ sound.


형 is /hyeong/, not hyung (Older brother)

형 is also pronounced with a short /o/ sound and not with /u/ sound. It’s Hyeong but in romanization it’s written as Hyung.


막내 is /mangne/ not maknae (the youngest)

The rule is if ㄱ(g) is followed by a ㄴ(n), the sound will be /ng/ making the word pronounced as /mang-nae/.


의(ui), 위(ui),외(oe) is /e/, not uy, o-e

Save all the confusion on how to read this. All of these characters are pronounced the same as /e/or /ye/. For example, 나의  (naui), is not read as naui but we say it as /na-ye/. /ye/ is used if its followed by vowel sound and /e/ if consonant sound.

Also, the sound of 휘(hui) is he. So names like Junhui and Daehwi should be read as /Jun-he/ and /Dae-he/.


최 /cweh/ not Choi or choy

The vowel 외(oi) is read as /weh/. So all names with Choi should be read as /Chweh/.

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