The attached picture is of some Korean calligraphy, and as a sanity check I wanted to confirm how readable it is. Can anyone tell what this word is, and if so, how easy/hard was it to recognize it?

enter image description here


It is 얌체 (someone who is despicable because they act very selfishly).

I think most Koreans will have no problem at all because the word is a very common one and there's no similar sounding one - in other words, it is helped by preexisting knowledge. Just from the look of it, I might have thought it was 얍체 or even 뱝체, except that 얍 is rare and 뱝 is probably never used. So again, background knowledge plays an important role.


For the first syllable, I see a "얌" but it seems possible for the consonants to be "ㅂ" as well. For the second, I undoubtedly see a "체."

If a syllable has "ㅑ" in it and has a final, it is usually a "야-something." Otherwise it'll sound pretty foreign. I can't think of any Korean words against that.

A two-syllable Korean word beginning with "야-" and ending with "체." At this point, you immediately know that it's "얌체."

It's easy to recognize.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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