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Names and Their Notations

(!) 이 문서는 한국어판도 있습니다.

Basically, I have two names due to my dual nationality (Republic of Korea and U.S.). These two names share the same (patrilineal) surname, but differs from each other in given names.

Korean name

Surname and Given Name

My surname "" (in Hanja) is one of the Korean family names. Its Sinoxenic pronounciation is expressed as [tɕʰa] in IPA and written as "" in Hangul. It is Romanized into "Cha".

My given name is "里西" (in Hanja). Its Sinoxenic pronounciation is [ɾisʌ] and is written as "리서" in Hangul. It is Romanized into "Reeseo".1

Full Name in Hangul and Hanja

In Korea and most other Sinosphere, people always call each other's (Sinoshperical) full name in eastern order (i.e., surname given-name). This order should be strictly obeyed even when written in Hangul or Hanja. Sometimes the surname and given name can be spaced out:

Standard

Spaced (rare)

in Hangul

차리서

차 리서

in Hanja

車里西

車 里西

In Korea, Hangul notation is predominant but Hanja notation is also used occasionally. In Sinosphere other then Korea, Hanja notation is predominant.

Full Name, Correctly Romanized

I hope that the eastern order is preserved even when Romanized, because it correctly reflects the way my full name is pronounced ([tɕʰaɾisʌ]) by Koreans everyday. In other words, I don't want to be ridiculously called "[ɾisʌtɕʰa]", even by the western people.2 To avoid ambiguity, surname had better be fully capitalized when written stubbornly in this order. Therefore, the most preferable and predominantly used form of Romanization is:

Regretfully, however, Romanization in eastern order is not permitted in some cases (e.g., author fields of some international papers). The following Romanization in western order is somewhat unpleasant and used only when forced, but still correct:

Full Name, Incorrectly Romanized (by Others)

Some people (e.g., embassy officials) occasionally make mistakes when Romanizing Korean names.

One typical example of mistake is spacing out the given name in a syllable-by-syllable manner (e.g., "Ree Seo" instead of "Reeseo"), in spite of the fact that any (Korean) given name is already a minimal meaningful unit which cannot be broken any more. As the final outcome, sometimes my Korean full name is found to be written wrongly as follows:

Another common type of mistake is excessive hyphenation in given name. Although some Romanized given names can be hyphenated exceptionally in order to guide correct pronounciations,5 most other Romanizations have no reason at all to be hyphenated. "Reeseo", the given name of mine, also has no reason to be hyphenated as "Ree-seo". Unfortunately, however, some people are still making practice of hyphenating my given name, without thinking:

Anyway, any string listed in this subsection may still refers to me. ;-)

American name

Simple. My birth certificate says:

Alternatives are then trivial:


  1. The string "reeseo" from this Romanization is being used as my on-line ID in most cases, if not occupied. (1)

  2. Bill Gates probably doesn't want to be called "Gates Bill", even by Koreans. It's vice versa. (2)

  3. Please don't say, "Hey, Mr.Cha! May I call you Ree?" :-( (3)

  4. Oh, my god! Please don't call me "Mr.Seo!" <:( (4)

  5. For example, "KIM Hyeong-ook" may be better than "KIM Hyeongook" for "김형욱", in order not to be confused with "김현국" (5)