I'm used to seeing that Korean names written in Hangul are counterparts of Chinese character forms - e.g. 권지용 could be represented 权志龙, 박근혜 as 朴槿惠, and so on. Note that here when I say Chinese characters, I mean it in a general sense.

However, there are many 'native' Korean words that don't have Chinese representations. So I was wondering - are there any Korean names that are pure Korean, without a Chinese representation? If so, what are some common ones?

  • Discussion here about the nuances of meaning of 'Hanja'. I've reworded this question in a way that hopefully removes any distracting mistakes I've made!
    – topo morto
    Dec 7 '16 at 22:15

Of course!

Recently(since about 2000's), making name with original Korean words is a trend between young parents. Their family name is from Hanja, but the names are native Korean words.

ex) 이하늬(Actress), 김사랑(Actress), 산다라 박(Singer, 2NE1), 강하늘(Actor), 임슬옹(Singer, 2AM), 구하라(Singer, KARA), ...

I found the list of them though it's written in Korean.


I think you are asking if Koreans named their child based on the hanja meaning or the original word meaning. 강하늘 is an example of name not based on hanja meaning.

There are such a trend recently, however there are still some rules when naming which makes all these words convertible to hanja, which is, by now you hardly see a name with (d/t) as the final consonant or any double or compound consonant ending but only ㅁ,ㄴ,ㅇ,ㅂ,ㄹ and ㄱ.

Example: 달 may be named based on the word "moon". However it is also the hangul of hanja like 達. Chinese translation is still working, and Korean stars especially are known by their translated name in Chinese-speaking countries.

  • Interesting. I see that the distinction is not quite as clear as I thought! Thanks.
    – topo morto
    Dec 6 '16 at 23:54

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