Korean Studies: The ㅓ Vowel

Been thinking about individual Korean letters recently and I've been stuck on the ㅓ and ㅕ vowels for a while now. The ㅓ is probably the most rule breaking character when it comes to Korean-English translation. It seems to be the only character to actually break romanization rules as far as I can tell. It's become my favorite letter in their alphabet due to it's unique nature. The ㅓ is officially written "eo", which can be seen in the capital city's name of "Seoul" (서울), but Koreans hear its sound more as an "Uh" than they would "Eo" when it comes to English translation on paper. The ㅕis the same as the ㅓ, except you begin with a 'y' sound, so it's 'yeo'. When it comes to the ㅓ and the ㅕ, a lot of the company names you'll see will use a 'u' instead of an 'eo'. If they were sticking to the script, they would absolutely use 'eo' and not a 'u', but the rules fall short here, and for good reason. The best example possible is Hyundai, which is spelled 현대. Correctly translated with revised romanization rules, the entire company should be spelled 'Hyeondae', especially since that's how it's truly pronounced. But the 'eo' is misleading to foreigners since English doesn't use a vowel that sounds quite like that, so the company decided to make the name more simple and use 'Hyundai'. Makes more sense to western eyes. I've been thinking about this because I've been having long discussions with my co-teachers about how rule-breaking English is compared to Asian languages, which hardly ever break rules. English is so chaotic and unforgiving with its methods that we may as well not have any rules at all. It's completely one of the hardest languages ever created and anyone who speaks English should be thankful for the simple fact they know such a beautifully disastrous system of communication. But there are definitely some misleading translations in hangul as well, and I've been seeing them more and more with increasing reading skill. I'm definitely over analyzing this, but in the last 6 months the world of language has become more important to me than ever before and I will definitely be exploring how to translate more accurately as time goes on.

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