Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Guide to Korean Names

This is a quick guide to getting Korean names right.

Do you ever read Korean comics or the credits of Korean films and wonder, "Why do so many parents name their kids 'Kim' in Korea?" Actually, Kim is just a very common last name. After reading this quick guide you can write your favorite Korean artists fan letters and know that you addressed them correctly.
Name Order:
In Korea, family names are placed before given names. So Park Min Sun was born into a family of Parks. And the name his parents gave him is Min Sun. You could call him Mr. Park if you want to be professional. Or you could call him Min Sun if you are his friend. Park is a very common family name, along with Kim and Lee.

Name Length:
Nearly all Korean names consist of a one syllable family name followed by a two syllable given name. Examples: Park Min Sun, Hwang Young Sang, Kim Jeong Eun, Wea Hyung Soo.

Very rarely will somebody have less syllables in their given name, such as Park Min (not to be confused with Park Min Sun).

Just as rare is having more syllables, such as Hong Jemina.

Name Formats:
Sometimes names are written without a space: Park MinSun

Sometimes names are written with a hyphen in the first name: Park Min-Sun

Sometimes people just use their initials to be cool: PMS or MSP

This blog uses this format: Park Min Sun

Names Abroad:
Sometimes overseas, names are presented in reverse order. For example, Park Min Sun may be noted as Min Sun Park in another country. However, this isn't always the case. Yes, this can be confusing!

English Names:
A common practice is to choose a nonKorean name for using when interacting with English speakers. Example: Christine Yu.

Artist Names:
Of course, there are people who create an artist name for themselves. Example: Skitsch.

Red Names:

Lastly, never write names in red. It is considered bad luck.

You may already know this, but I thought those who didn't might find it useful. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Agent Anderson said...

As you can see, I've changed MY name (at least my blog name) to better fit me.

Thanks for the info on names! Your perspective and ability to communicate information in an interesting way keep learning fun.

I'm still waiting for that post on why Korean animation looks like Japanese animation...and why do certain types of animation take on the form they do???

Midodok said...

Thanks, Agent Anderson!

Patience, I'll get to a post like that eventually. Although, I think somebody could write a whole thesis on that topic alone! Don't expect a thesis!^___^

Yesol Jun said...

Thank you for explaining.
I didn't know how to explain it to my friends but now I can.

Thank you :D

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