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The word for "came" is 왔어요. But, as a beginner, if I was listening to someone say 왔어요 and trying to transcribe what I am hearing, I would probably have transcribed it as 와서요 or 와써요. Would a native Korean, looking at 와서요 or 와써요, be able to understand I meant 왔어요?

More generally, I would like to understand whether native Koreans read by reading the characters out loud in their head, or by recognizing the characters, or a bit of both.

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  • 와써요 is the pronunciation of 왔어요, so it will definitely be understood; however, you may be misunderstood if you use 와서요 instead of 왔어요. 와서요 has other meanings like "by/after coming" and "because (someone/something) comes / has come / came / is/was coming / will come."
    – Klmo
    Sep 17 '20 at 10:44
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I am a Korean-American, and from personal experience, yes, it is understandable if you transcribed 왔어요 as 와써요. However, 와서요 has a different meaning than what 왔어요 means, but I guess if the person who was reading looked at the context they could figure it out.

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