I have been using the type of conversion for my Korean students when trying to get them to pronounce English words slightly more accurately.

I don't transcribe the meaning of the words. I only transcribe the sounds of the words.

I want to do this conversion faster (so I want to research it hence my question) as I am learning Korean. Usually, my students can help with this type of conversion occasionally, but it is slow (however, they enjoy it).

To be as clear as possible, I am looking at writing Korean text so it sounds as close to English text as possible and what that type of conversion is called. I want to take an English sentence and convert each sound of the phrase into a close corresponding, but similar sound in Korean.


Please use Google Translate and listen to the audio to see what I am talking about.

  • 위 윌 씨이 would be converted to "We will see"
  • 두 유 러브 미? is "Do you love me?"
  • 두 is "do"
  • 돈트 is "don't"


What is this type of sound-based conversion called?

I want to be able to search online, find possible apps, and read more information about this.



Edit: A close example I knew before was "Konglish" (Korean English). Words such as ice cream sound like "ice cream" in the Korean script. However, it is not the same. There are words such as nail polish that sound like "manicure" in Korean script. I am looking at nail polish sounding like "nail polish" in Korean script. No other conversions!

Edit 2: I believe @KarlG (in the comment of this post) is the most correct with the phrase Phonetic transcription. I think there should be an even more accurate word but I think this is very close now.

  • 4
    Phonetic transcription.
    – KarlG
    Apr 21 '18 at 10:23
  • I'm not sure I get it. Are you saying you're writing English sounds using Korean characters? You should edit to clarify.
    – Mitch
    Apr 21 '18 at 12:59
  • Whatever it’s called, I hope you realise that it is a severely limited and limiting way of teaching pronunciation. It may be all right at the very early stages, but it should be abandoned as quickly as possible. Learning how to pronounce a foreign language is all about learning to hear and reproduce sounds and phonetic featuers that do not exist at all in your own language, and using the orthography of your own language to approximate these sounds by the closest equivalent you’re familiar with will very soon become a millstone and a hindrance rather than a help. Apr 22 '18 at 8:59
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet I agree with you. This is something I will occasionally do when a student, or group of students, can't seem to grasp the general way of saying a word. If they can go home and still pronounce the word to a fairly good degree because of this method, then I can focus on the rest in class without holding everyone else back. Apr 22 '18 at 9:05
  • 1
    The workaround trick is to convert it to HTML values (I used this converter), then it gets accepted. CJK content is banned on most SE sites as a counter-spam measure, but HTML values are allowed. Apr 22 '18 at 9:17

There are two related terms for this.

transliterate verb Write or print (a letter or word) using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language. ‘names from one language are often transliterated into another’ - ODO

transcription noun 1.2 A form in which a speech sound or a foreign character is represented. ‘our usual transcription is given in brackets’ - ODO

The difference is that transliteration makes the journey from one alphabet to another one letter at a time, whereas transcription (in the linguistics sense) encodes the sound in the target alphabet.

Transliteration is not primarily concerned with representing the sounds of the original but rather with representing the characters, ideally accurately and unambiguously. Thus, in the above example, λλ is transliterated as 'll', but pronounced /l/; Δ is transliterated as 'D', but pronounced /ð/; and η is transliterated as 'ē', though it is pronounced /i/ (exactly like ι) and is not long.

Conversely, transcription notes the sounds but not necessarily the spelling. So "Ελληνική Δημοκρατία" could be transcribed as "elinikí ðimokratía", which does not specify which of the /i/ sounds are written as η and which as ι.

- Wikipedia

Since you're encoding the sound of English words in the Korean script, the term you're looking for is transcription.

  • I think you and @KarlG are the closest with the idea of Phonetic transcription. I have to research more to find something even more specific to my use case, but I think this is the most correct. Will have to look at @Jelila answer, too. Thanks for the answer +1 for now Apr 22 '18 at 6:56
  • My new understanding is that Phonetic transcription is the conversion of any language to IPA. If that is the full meaning, then that is only half of my concern. Is there a term to indicate the conversion from IPA to another language? What is the inverse of Phonetic transcription? Most of my searching has not come up with a term by something like "x to y converter" Apr 22 '18 at 16:32
  • 1
    @ChristopherRucinski transcription on its own doesn't reference IPA or any specific alphabet. You can say that you transcribed English (sounds) to Korean.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 22 '18 at 16:59

I think you’re looking for phonics. It’s the current method of teaching children to read in many UK primary schools so there are a lot of resources out there from apps to books to songs and dances.

My own children use Jolly Phonics which teaches sounds in a useful order so children can form words quickly (first single letter sounds, then digraphs in decreasing order of frequency). It’s useful but can lead to a lot of phonetic spelling, which isn’t always correct in English.

  • I can't search for anything with this terminology and find what I am looking for. It "might" fall into a category of phonics, but I think this is too generic of a term to be useful. @KarlG I think is the closest with "Phonetic transcription". Still researching! Apr 22 '18 at 7:00

I think ‘phonographic’ might be what you’re looking for, which is a sub-set of ‘glottographic’.

I remembered ‘Kanji’ as being a form of writing Japanese (sounds) by using Roman characters, and there was an application called ‘Kanji Talk’ on Apple Mac wayyyy before iphone (in the 80’s).

So I looked up ‘Kanji’ and it brought me to lots of words defining how sounds and language are depicted, such as these:

‘Glottographic’ is defined at the link below as:

‘Glottographic definition. 'Glottographic or true writing systems are (at the very least) sets of graphic signs corresponding to morphemic, syllabic, and/or phonemic units which can be used to encode utterances through regular rules of sign combination’

I surmise that it is comprised of ‘glotto’ - ‘a sound of the throat’ and ‘graphic’ ‘written.

Here is ‘glottographic’ contrasted with 4 other interesting words about defining language, written about in detail in the article link that follows:

Asemic - writing without semiotic content (eg scrawl, calligraphy)

Semasiographic - uses glyphs to communicate general ideas (eg emojis, road-signs)

Glottographic - uses glyphs to represent specific language structures Under ‘Glottographic’ are 2 branches: Logographic and Phonographic.

Logographic- uses glyphs to represent specific ideas such as ‘love’. Cuneiform and Chinese are examples. The Ampersand is ‘logographic’.

Phonographic - uses glyphs to represent the sounds of language. This includes 3 types; syllabic, segmental, and featural.

Looking up any of those words will probably guide you to relevant information you are seeking.

definition https://www.google.co.id/search?client=safari&hl=en-id&q=glottographic&ved=0ahUKEwislfKFq8zaAhWK6Y8KHWmyBjkQsKwBCDAoAQ&biw=320&bih=529

Article: https://lepidopterism.wordpress.com/tag/linguistics/

  • I have to look at all these words and try to see if they can help me! A lot to look at, so thank you! My input is an English sentence, and my output is a Korean "sentence" in Korean Script that sounds like it is English. Apr 22 '18 at 7:03
  • Hope it helps!😊
    – Jelila
    Apr 22 '18 at 14:14

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