Korean To Go

Image Source: Wikipedia.

 Since my wife Olivia and I have come back to the USA we have noticed that there is Korean everywhere.  We even play a little game: When we see the signs, we yell it out and the first to say is the winner.  How so, might you ask?  Even in the most common places we can find our beloved Korean alphabet, Hangul: on the road.

Many of you, however, could probably not pick out Korean if you saw it, and you should not feel bad for it.  We simply do not have the exposure.  My friends and followers, if you did not know it before today you will, and you will learn to recognize it while driving about, pronouncing it aloud for all to enjoy.

Ieung, precedes vowels, having no sound, or at end of syllable having 'ng' sound.

First, you need to know what Korean looks like... If you have a vowel that is not preceded by a consonant then it will always have the 'ㅇ' first.  The 'ㅇ' makes no sound when a vowel follows, but if it is at the bottom of a syllable then it will have the value of our 'ng' in English.  This letter is called 'ieung', and you can see it above if these appear as strange blocks on your computer.  [Above image source: Wikipedia.]

Now, the following are the Korean characters, and their approximate English pronunciations--or simply a Romanization, not necessarily having a perfect correspondence to the English pronunciations.

Hangul, Image Source: Advanced Language Translation Inc.

When you are driving down the road you cannot help but notice the following signs:

Korean letter: pronounced 'ah', 아.  Image Source: http://www.audriving.com
Korean letter: pronounced 'oh', 어.  Image Source: Wikipedia.
Korean letter: pronounced 'oo', 우.  Image Source: http://www.audriving.com

If you are creative, or perhaps if you're just a clever little language learner you might be able to find more, and I encourage you to do so.  If you do, please post them here for everyone to enjoy and I'll add them to the post and credit your awesomeness.  Next time you're driving down the road, why not show off your cultural knowledge and shout out these characters for all your friends?  Thank you for reading.

*If something on here belongs to you and I have not credited you properly, please Contact Us and it will be taken care of.

My Genius Korean Wife.
Wikipedia: Hangul.
Wikipedia: Road Signs in Brazil.  
Advanced Language Translation, Inc.
Australia Driving: Traffic Signs.


  1. Thanks, Jay. I hope that you can recognize Korean everywhere you go now. Always good to know at least which Asian country it is. We normally just assume Chinese... Next I'll have to post something about how to distinguish between Asian countries by just looking at their faces.