Unlike other consonants such as ㄴ(니은), ㄹ(리을), ㅁ(미음) where their names have the form of (Consonant + ㅣ) + (ㅡ + Consonant), the names of ㄱ(기역), ㄷ(디귿), ㅅ(시옷) are slightly different. Are there any historical reasons for this?

  • 이 문제는 쇠은 것이 아니다. In this case would the name proposed standard name "시은" sound like the verb "uncomplicated"? Anyway, I'm not seeing the endings 은 을 and 음 being standard. They seem about as creative as the others...albeit they all start with ㅇ. May 19, 2018 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


From the Wikipedia article on Hanguel (Letter names):

Hangul letters were named by Korean linguist Choe Sejin in 1527. South Korea uses Choe's traditional names, most of which follow the format of letter + i + eu + letter. However, as the syllables 윽 euk, 읃 eut, and 읏 eut did not occur in the language, Choe gave those letters the modified names 기역 giyeok, 디귿 digeut, and 시옷 siot, using native syllables.

So the reason seems to be historical. When the names for the characters were created, the rules for writing in 한글 did not allow the use of characters 윽, 읃 and 읏. Hence these particular characters were given the names 기역, 디귿, and 시옷 respectively, presumably based on the then standard method of writing. The article also notes that when North Korea standardized the Korean language as used in the North, they changed the name of the characters to 기윽, 디읃 and 시읏, to regularize the name of each character with each other.

  • This is interesting! Thanks for your kind answer. May 19, 2018 at 16:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.