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Learn all about Korean Names

The famous Chinese philosopher Confucius stated, “A good name will lead to a good life (정명순행-正名順行).” Many Asian countries put an emphasis on names–Korea included. Names are important to Koreans. And for those of you interested in finding out more about Korean names, writing your name in the Korean alphabet, or even putting together your very own Korean name, well, don’t go anywhere, as this post is your one-stop guide regarding Korean names!

We’ll be honest with you—one of the questions we get asked the most on KoreanClass101 is on — yes, you guessed it — names. The most frequently asked questions include:

  • “How do you write an English name in Korean?”
  • “Is it possible to make a name up and ask native Koreans to use it?”
  • “Are there any Korean names that sound like English names?”
  • “How do you write my K-Pop bias name in Korean?”

Well, rest assured, because we’ve finally put together a post that will be the answer to all your questions.
 

Ask Us How to Write Your Name in Korean!

Write your name in Korean!

Want to know how to write your name in Korean? Just ask us! We’ll write your name in Korean.

  • Write your name in the English alphabet. Our Korean teachers might not be able to read it otherwise.
  • If your name is pronounced differently from the spelling, please let us know the pronunciation.

How can you ask? First, log in to KoreanClass101. Then, simply leave a comment on this page.
 

 

Related Lessons

Table of Contents

 

1. Essential Rules for Writing Your Name in Korean

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A. Each Syllable Should Have One Consonant and One Vowel at Least.

One common mistake that we see people making while trying to figure out how to write their name in Korean is that they try to write their names according to the way it is spelled. But actually, you need to write it according to how your name is pronounced. Find Korean pronunciation that sounds similar to your actual name.

Let’s take the name Jane for example. If you try to romanize it in Korean as it is spelled (which would be ‘ja-ne’), it would be sound like ‘자-네’, which really doesn’t sound anything like ‘Jane’.

Here, you may fall into your first dilemma. Korean words must consist of a consonant and vowel sound. However, some names contains only a consonant sound. In this case, just add the Korean vowel ‘
(eu)
‘. For example, Chris sounds like ‘kris’ so it would become ‘크리스 (keu-ri-seu)’ by adding ‘eu’ to ‘k’ and ‘s’.

Chris sounds like Kris. It’s K + ri + s.
Add ㅡ (eu) to a consonant that doesn’t have a vowel sound.
It becomes Keu + ri + seu, which is 크리스 in Korean.

This rule also applies to names that contains a syllable that starts with ‘t’. For example, if you want to write the name Trina in Korean, just add ‘eu’ to the ‘t’ sound and you will get ‘트리나 (teu-ri-na)’.

Trina is T + ri + na.
Add ㅡ (eu) to a consonant that doesn’t have a vowel sound.
It becomes Teu + ri + na, which is 트리나 in Korean.

 

B. An ‘R’ at the End of the Syllable is Silent.

Now, you may have noticed that the ‘r’ sound at the end of ‘Trevor (트레버)’ does not show up in the Korean equivalent. This is because you do not need to add the consonant ‘ㄹ’ at the end of the syllable if it ends with ‘r’. Some say that this is because there are no hangul names with the batchim ‘ㄹ’ at the end. Others say that this is due to the rules set by the National Institute of Korean Language, which designates that borrowed words (외래어) and names be written in a certain way to avoid confusion.

No matter what the reason, remember not to add the batchim ‘ㄹ’ if the syllable ends with ‘r’. Here are some examples of names that should apply this rule:

  • The name Peter will be romanized as pi-teo and written in Korean as ‘피터 (pi-teo)’, not ‘피털’.
  • Alexander will be romanized as a-lek-san-deo and written as ‘알렉산더 (alreksandeo)’, not ‘알렉산덜’

 

C. An ‘H’ at the End of the Syllable is Silent.

If your name ends with an ‘h’, it will become silent.

  • Example: Hannah will be written as ‘한나 (hanna)’, not ‘한낳’.

 

D. A ‘SH’ at the End of the Syllable Can be Either ‘시’ or ‘쉬’.

Other tricky names to write in Korean would be those that end with ‘sh’. In this case, you could use either ‘시 (si)’ or ‘쉬
(swi)’. For example:

  • Josh could be written as ‘조시 (josi)’ or ‘조쉬 (joswi)’

 

E. A ‘P’ or an ‘PH’ at the End of the Syllable Can be Either ‘ㅂ’ or ‘프’.

If your name ends with a ‘p’ or ‘ph’, you can use either the batchim ‘ㅂ’ or ‘프’, depending on your preference.

  • For example, the name Joseph is more commonly written as ‘조셉 (josep)’ in Korean, but you will also see people writing it as ‘조세프 (josepeu)’.
  • Another example would be Phillip, ‘필립 (pillip)’, which is even used as a native Korean name. But you could write it as ‘필리프 (pillipeu)’. (Again, ‘필립’ is used more commonly.)

 

F. A ‘T’ at the End of the Syllable Can be Either ‘ㅅ’ or ‘트’.

Names that have a syllable that ends with ‘t’ can be written as either ‘ㅅ’ or ‘트’. For example:

  • Scott could be written as ‘스콧 (seukot)’ or ‘스코트 (seukoteu)’
  • Matt could be written as ‘맷 (maet)’ or ‘매트 (maeteu)’

 

G. ‘F’ is Pronounced as ‘P (ㅍ)’.

There is no ‘f’ sound in Korean, so names that start with ‘f’ will be written using the consonant ‘ㅍ’ , along with names that start with ‘p’. For example:

  • Felicity will be written in Korean as ‘펠리시티 (pellisiti)’
  • Pamela will be written in Korean as ‘파멜라 (pamella)’

 

H. ‘V’ is Pronounced as ‘B (ㅂ)’.

There is no ‘v’ sound in Korean, so syllables that start with ‘v’ will be written using the consonant ‘ㅂ’ , along with names that have ‘b’. For example:

  • Vanessa will be written in Korean as ‘바네사 (banesa)’.
  • Becky will be written in Korean as ‘베키 (beki)’.
  • Steve will be written in Korean as ‘스티브 (seutibeu)’.

 

I. ‘Z’ is Pronounced as ‘J (ㅈ)’.

Names that start with ‘j’ or ‘z’ will be written using the consonant ‘ㅈ’. For example:

  • Joe will be written in Korean as ‘조 (jo)’.
  • Jack and Zack will both be written in Korean as ‘잭 (jaek)’.

 

J. ‘One L + Vowel’ in the middle of the name Becomes ‘ㄹ + ㄹ + Vowel’.

One ‘l’ that comes before a vowel in the middle of the name often becomes ㄹ + ㄹ + vowel. For example:

  • Julia will be written in Korean as ‘줄리아 (jullia)’.
  • Nicolas will be written in Korean as ‘니콜라스 (nikollaseu)’.

But if ‘l’ comes at the beginning of the name, it doesn’t change to ㄹ + ㄹ. ‘Lena’ is just ‘레나 (rena)’. If there are two Ls in the middle of the name, write it as it is. You don’t need to add more ㄹ sounds. For that reason, both Gabriella and Gabriela are 가브리엘라.

 

K. A ‘K’ at the End of the Syllable Can be Either ‘ㄱ’ or ‘크’.

If the pronunciation of the name syllable ends with ‘k’, it’s ‘ㄱ’ or ‘크’ but ‘ㄱ’is more common. For example:

  • Patrick will be written in Korean as ‘패트릭 (paeteurik)’.
  • Eric will be written in Korean as ‘에릭 (erik)’.

 

2. Some Korean Names Sound Like English Names

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Some Korean Names Sound Like English Names!
 

We’ve gone through the basics of writing your name in Korean. However, if you’re feeling slightly lazy, don’t worry! There are some Korean names that sound exactly like names in English that you could use as your own, without worrying about how to write the consonants and vowels.

Here are some names that you can choose from–can you find your name on the list?

 

A. Female Names

  • 제인 (Je-In): Jane
  • 조안 (Jo-An): Joanne
  • 미나 (Mi-Na): Mina
  • 사라 (Sa-Ra): Sara
  • 한나 (Han-Na): Hannah
  • 하나 (Ha-Na): Hana
  • 진희 (Jin-Hui): Jeanie
  • 아라 (A-Ra): Ara
  • 진 (Jin): Jean (can be used as a male name)

 

B. Male Names

  • 제이 (Je-I): Jay
  • 태빈 (Tea-Bin): Tevin
  • 이안 (I-An): Ian
  • 유진 (Yu-Jin): Eugene
  • 노아 (No-A): Noah
  • 필립 (Pil-Lip): Phillip
  • 진 (Jin): Jean (can also be used as a female name)

 

3. Pick out a Korean Name for Yourself, Surname and All!

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Pick out a Korean Name!
 

Now if you really want a Korean sounding name, one fun way to do so would be to use popular Korean names. It will definitely be a great ice breaker if you do have a ‘Korean’ name.

 

A. Make One Using Your Birthday.

Try using your birthday to come up with a Korean name—here is a fun chart that you could use to come up with a name for yourself (and you can tell everyone that you came up with your name based on your date of birth and year!)

Korean Name Generator

For example, if you’re female and your birthday is September 6th, 1990, your full name would be 최진희 (Choe Jin-Hui).

최진희
Surname: 최 (Choe)
Given Name: 진희 (Jin-Hui)

If you’re male with the same birthday above, September 6th, 1990, it’d be 최진훈 (Choe Jin-Hun).

최진훈
Surname: 최 (Choe)
Given Name: 진훈 (Jin-Hun)

 

B. Pick One from the List of the Most Popular Names.

If you’d like to use a popular Korean name as your own, you can find the list of the most popular names for 2017 below.

 

Girl Boy
1. 하윤 (Ha-Yun) 도윤 (Do-Yun)
2. 지우 (Ji-Wu) 예준 (Ye-Jun)
3. 하린 (Ha-Rin) 주원 (Ju-Won)
4. 수아 (Su-A) 유준 (Yu-Jun)
5. 지아 (Ji-A) 지호 (Ji-Ho)
6. 서아 (Seo-A) 준우 (Jun-U)
7. 서윤 (Seo-Yun) 하준 (Ha-Jun)
8. 서연 (Seo-Yeon) 서준 (Seo-Jun)
9. 하은 (Ha-Eun) 시우 (Si-U)
10. 지유 (Ji-Yu) 민준 (Min-Jun)

 

You can put these names together with a surname that you think will work for you. You can find some of the most common surnames in Korea.

 

Rank Surname Pronunciation Population
1. 김 (金) Gim 9,925,949
2. 이 (李) I 6,794,637
3. 박 (朴) Bak 3,895,121
4. 최 (崔) Choe 2,169,704
5. 정 (鄭) Jeong 2,010,117
6. 강 (姜) Gang 1,044,386
7. 조 (趙) Jo 984,913
8. 윤 (尹) Yun 948,600
9. 장 (張) Jang 919,339
10. 임 (林) Im 762,767

 

4. How Are Korean Names Written?

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How Korean Names are Written

There is a famous Korean saying in Korea regarding names: “A tiger will die and leave its skin, and a person will die and leave his name’. This is one saying that epitomizes the importance of names to Koreans.

Although some parents will forego the meaningful Chinese characters and opt for a pure Hangul name, you will still commonly see many parents with newborns asking advice from elders or even going to ‘naming gurus’ to get the name that will bring ‘prosperity’ or ‘luck’ to their children. Some parents even take the time to give their children fetal names ‘태명’ before they are born!

Having said that, how is a Korean name written?

Unlike in English, where the ‘given’ name comes first and the ‘surname’ at the end, you will write your ‘surname/family name/last name (성)’, usually one character (there are some surnames with two characters), first, then your ‘given name/first name (이름), which is usually two characters). For example:

권지용
Surname: 권 (Gwon)
Given Name: 지용 (Ji-Yong)

As you can see, it is actually not difficult to write your name in Korean. The fastest method would be to check how your name is written officially in Korean. You could also look for a Korean name that sounds similar to yours, or even make up a ‘Korean’ name.

Or you could ask us! We would be more than happy to give you a hand. Please try writing your name out in Hangul (and let us know how you write and pronounce it in English) in the submission form on the top, and we’ll get back to you.

Thank you for reading. 감사합니다 –It’s thank you in Korean.

 

5. Related Lessons

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How to Write in Korean
 
In this video series, you will learn the Korean alphabet, known as Hangul. We will teach you Hangul using simple steps, showing you the correct stroke order, helpful tricks for memorization, and proper usage in common Korean words. If you want to get started reading and writing Korean, this is THE place to start.

 

Introduction to Korean
 
Want to learn Korean? Don’t know where to start? This is it. The Introduction to Korean Video series is perfect for those who know zero Korean but want to take that first step. In this series, you’ll learn all about the Korean language, as well as grammar, writing and phrases to get you started.

 

Korean Pronunciation Guide
 
Ready to sound like a native Korean speaker? Join Alisha and Ara in the Ultimate Korean Pronunciation Series! You’ll learn the ins and outs of perfect Korean pronunciation. You’ll learn the common mistakes learners make, how to avoid them, and the nuances that only native speakers are aware of.

 

Korean in 3 Minutes
 
Learn the basics you need to be polite while speaking Korean. Amy will take you step-by-step through must-know phrases and explain the grammar and composition. Plus, you’ll get some special tips on how to be extra authentic when interacting with native Korean speakers.

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KoreanClass101.com
Tuesday at 5:24 pm
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What's your name? Leave a comment. We'll write your name in the Korean alphabet 😄

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martina
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Could you please tell me the exact Korean spelling of my Italian name?😮

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Jiya
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Hello my name is jiya i am so excited

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Eeee!! I’m so excited to see my name written in Korean :). My name is Alysia Gomes.

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My name is Nurul Shahirah Sharizan!

Thank you!

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Gisselle Quinonez

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My name is Ava Larios. Please get back to me ASAP! ヽ(*⌒∇⌒*)ノ

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my name is Annisa Nur Arifin

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Kylie Crockett

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Hi. My name is Hundra Miguel.

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KoreanClass101.com
Sunday at 5:01 am
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Hi Hykka Erica!


Thank you for your comment.

Your name in Hangul would be [하이카(ha-yi-ka) 에리카(eh-ree-ka)].

And Helberg would be [헬버그(hel-beo-geu)].

Hope this helps you.

Please let us know if you have any other question. Thanks!


Best,

Jiye

Team KoreanClass101.com