What are the actual names of North and South Korea? Why do English speakers say “Korea” but Koreans don’t?

Tensions are high on the Korean Peninsula. The aggression by North Korea on the South has captured the world’s attention and raised a number of questions about Korea’s history, names, and geography.

Prior to 1910, Korea was a kingdom. Then, from 1910 to 1945, the country was under Japanese rule. At the end of World War II, the country was divided into two occupational zones along the thirty-eighth parallel. In 1948, these areas became the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK, in the north, and The Republic of Korea, or ROK, in the south.

The strip of land, or buffer zone, between North and South Korea is called the Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half.

Korean is the official language of both North and South Korea. It is also one of the official languages of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China.

Throughout history, Korea has been referred to by different names by both its residents and outsiders. The name “Korea,” used by English speakers today, appears to have derived during the time of the Silk Road when the dynasty in Korea called itself Goryeo. The word was transliterated as “Cauli” in Italian and used by Marco Polo. The English words “Corea” and then “Korea” came from this transliteration. South Korea refers to the  whole, undivided peninsula as “Han-guk.” North Korea calls it “Choson.” One term for the region roughly translates into English as “The Land of the Morning Calm.” Let’s hope that name rings true soon.


  1. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 19, 2013 - 5:57 am

    I agree with Stella. It’s like calling Germany “Deutschland.”
    U guys should read “When My Name Was Keoko.” I don’t remember who it’s by, but it’s about a family during the Japanese takeover of Korea. It’s a good book.

    • Bob -  March 10, 2016 - 8:17 am


  2. Stella -  May 30, 2012 - 1:27 am

    @71tae why throw stones at others. no one likes people like you

  3. Stella -  May 30, 2012 - 1:21 am

    It’s like calling germany ‘Deutschland’

  4. 나 한국인 ㅋ. -  April 28, 2012 - 10:59 pm

    @randomkorean, Actually, contradictory to what you said, we have different names for both. We don’t actually say “nam” when talking about north america

    • huh -  April 11, 2014 - 9:53 pm

      …? what are you trying to say? none of what you’re saying makes any sense

  5. Apostate -  March 6, 2012 - 1:44 pm

    @maple leafs

    You have to separate the written language and the oral language. It is true that Chinese written language (ideograms) were historically used in Korea, however, the oral language of Korea is completely different from the various Chinese languages, i.e., Korean and Japanese is monotone, Mandarin is six tonal, Cantonese is four tonal. The grammar is completely different as well.

    Think of English alphabet where each letter represents a sound. Korean invented han-gul (Korean alphabet) to do the same while Japanese adopted and simplied Chinese ideograms to represent sound, i.e., hiragana and katagana.

  6. Sebaztian -  February 25, 2012 - 11:06 am

    Just kidding!!!!
    luv both o ‘em….

  7. Sebaztian -  February 25, 2012 - 11:03 am

    I luv south korea,, not that pesky north!!!

  8. v(=ㅂ=)v -  May 29, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    The article really helped me with my project~
    I loved reading your article too, lol thanks
    –> 나보다 잘아네 >(=ㅂ=)<

  9. bron -  February 17, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    I must say, as significantly as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while. Its as if you had a excellent grasp on the subject matter, but you forgot to include your readers. Perhaps you should think about this from more than one angle. Or maybe you shouldnt generalise so substantially. Its better if you think about what others may have to say instead of just going for a gut reaction to the topic. Think about adjusting your personal believed process and giving others who may read this the benefit of the doubt.

  10. Coribon -  January 17, 2011 - 7:15 pm

    Is there some sort of Anti – ism between the two countries or is it just that Kim Jong Il is trying to get power over both Korean countries.

  11. noopy -  January 17, 2011 - 1:03 am

    Guys… let’s don’t forget that this is Dictionary.com… We’re supposed to learn about the ‘words’ here, aren’t we?

    FYI, most Koreans don’t know the meaning of the word ‘gook’ in the first place, hence the romanization. But it is Korean after all, not English, what’s making this noise – Hangook / Hanguk, etc.
    So accept it as it is, and stop making fun of it. You never guess how some English names or words could mean funny things in Korean.

  12. Xiang -  January 15, 2011 - 12:10 pm

    @Sean The Peking term comes from the Wade-Giles system, I think, or maybe the old Postal Map Romanization system. No romanization system is perfect and pinyin has it’s issues, as does the cyrillization of Pǔtōnghuà using the Palladius system, as Palladius is tangentially based on Wade-Giles because that was what was current when Kafarov did his work.

    Chinese Taipei still uses Wade-Giles, or at least a modified version of it, from what I hear.

    I know it’s a minor point, but I think it’s 中国 in the mainland Middle Kingdom. When in Rome, etc. …

    I spend many hours each week on both Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, struggling to improve my otherwise pathetic English skills. I would like to thank the Reference.com people for all of their help with my poor efforts to learn this demon-from-hell hard to learn language. It’s as bad as learning Russian, in some ways!

    Xiang from Harbin, home of the best Pǔtōnghuà!

  13. Lloyd -  January 15, 2011 - 9:48 am

    This always happens when the king is deposed.

  14. bholland -  January 15, 2011 - 8:56 am

    When I was stationed in Korea (’62-’63), I too learned that mi-guk was the term for America (“Beautiful Country”). Unfortunately, to the American GIs, it sounded like “Me Gook”, pidgeon-english for “I am a Gook.” Hence, many GIs referred to Koreans as “Gooks,” a very unfortunate turn of events.

    My experiences with the Korean people was nothing but positive. I learned the Korean language and writing system (a very efficient method of writing, by the way) and can still read and write in that language. I left many good friends when my tour completed.

  15. lingUist geeK-sage(RP) -  December 7, 2010 - 12:51 pm

    wOw how amusing..How Ironical this warring nation is actually called Land of the Morning calm..Your kiddin’ me right?.

    By the way thanks the cool facts,interesting article!

  16. Ryan -  December 1, 2010 - 10:17 am

    Koreans are nice and hardworking. And Korean food is extremely tasty. They are truly underappreciated for their efforts in the culinary arts. Barbecued meats without equal!

  17. Sean -  November 24, 2010 - 10:56 pm


    “Běi jīng” is how we call this city in Mandarin Chinese, and we write down 北京 (北 = northern ; 京 = capital).

    “Beijing” is romanization without tonal marks.

    I am not sure about the origin of “Peking”. Probably, it is the Westernized pronunciation which can be found in many European languages ,say German, Dutch, Hungarian …etc. As several posts mentioned above, each language has its own way of pronunciation of foreign countries and cities. In Mandarin Chinese, the USA is commonly called “měi guó” (美國) , and Washington is “huá shèng dùn”(華盛頓).

  18. Jeong-Min Kim -  November 24, 2010 - 7:48 pm

    Would you please help us, Korean, to reunite the two Koreas, North and South, as peaceful way. Peaceful reunion is only way to make Korea to “The land of morning calm”.

  19. bc -  November 24, 2010 - 3:59 pm


    People do commonly say 미국인 (mee-gook-in) when speaking of Americans (USA), though the ending 인 (in), meaning person or human, comes from Chinese. The uniquely Korean way of saying “American” (USA) is 미국사람 (mee-gook-sah-lahm). 사람 (sah-lahm) is the Korean language(한국말) way of referring to an American (USA).


    Most people agree with you, but convention through time has fossilized the term “American” to mean a USA citizen/resident. Canadians and Mexicans seem to have other worries.

  20. Ramír -  November 24, 2010 - 10:33 am

    With all due respect to the US people and to some people that don’t speak precisely, I dare to bring the example of the word America. Why so many US people say the word America? Geography 101 says that America is composed of three (3) continents, not only fifty (50) states as many people say. Saying the word America is a NONSENSE ! Try to make a person from Brazil or any country in Latin America or Canada to say they are live in America, and that just going to be nonsense. Do US people say the word American because of a lack of identity? Why the English language doesn’t provide the word “Uesian”, in order to refer to the people in the U.S.A.?

    At the same time I ask: why the US people immediately that they hear the word “Latino” they only think about Mexicans? You guys know the definition of the word Latin America? It’s simple, people that live in the continents of the Americas with speak a language that its base are romance languages that its roots are latin (the language of the Romans).

    To who ever person reads this comment, takes sometime to think. And to think twice if you are going to speak precisely or insult somebody with a random guess. Thanks for your time.

  21. Cliff -  November 24, 2010 - 10:14 am

    great topic. please do others, like why did Peking all of a sudden become Beijing? forgive my ignorance, but I’m here to learn.

  22. Dante -  November 24, 2010 - 9:20 am

    In Spanish, the name of the country is Corea, not Korea.

  23. A Asaduzzaman -  November 24, 2010 - 9:03 am

    Hope this conflict will soon come to an end, and the two Korea(s)will be united again

  24. Chris -  November 24, 2010 - 8:59 am

    The Koreans should Stop the fighting right now. They need to make some peace, and make one nation.

    This is like the Civil war . . . The north and the south

  25. F Lee -  November 24, 2010 - 8:58 am

    I won’t say “The aggression by North Korea”. Why on earth would South Korea wanted to conduct a military drill in this 21st century? Is the Yankees behind this? They want to see a war to ease their economic crises.
    “the country was under Japanese rule”? Why simply not say Korea was invaded and occupied by Japan? Like Iraq is invaded and occupied by Western Power? Western Power will leave Iraq only after they have set up and be happy with the puppet government that they have established and with an army that they have trained.

  26. SNSD -  November 24, 2010 - 8:55 am

    North Korea

  27. junbum Han -  November 24, 2010 - 8:50 am

    There are corporation such as Samsung, Hyun dai….. Our nation is divided into two nations.. but.. our grandfather or grandmother who say good bye with their own family do not think like that. Our nation is originally one. so.. The name of our nation is han-kuk.. i think it contains our hope to be one… to make one nation… han means one …and kuk means nation.. and maybe hey guys.. i think that you seem to be hear …that Dae han min kuk… this means.. Dae = big , Han = one min= people who lives in korea guk= nation…. so… the name of our nation has same meaning.. this is very sad story..who makes our nation divided into two part? This is very sad story for our nation’s people… we like our g.f and g.m … do you know kim dae jung? or no mu hyun? they are pre-president…in korea… but.. they died.. go to sky… they want to be one nation , not two nation… dae jung suggested “sun policy”..when someone helps someone when someone who get some helps experience a dark situation, someone change their think to be bright…. but..it is gone.. because..he is died..u.u so …so.. i think we did not good decision or we do not make our voice to the public i think. because we lost our voice in part of something…

  28. GR -  November 24, 2010 - 7:57 am

    I was stationed there in 1961. Loved the Koreans. Tutored English.
    Their word for America is mi-gook which, I was told, translates to “beautiful land”.

  29. passerby -  November 24, 2010 - 7:51 am

    to micheal and other who wonder why two Korea were separated and it’s hard to reunify

    I’m not sure whether you read this or not, however, as a Korean, I think I should explain why once united country splited into two separate countries. In 1945, after atomic bomb dropped in 2 Japanese cities which resulted in the Japaneses surrender, Korea became independent.

    This independence had not last for a while, because so-called alliance, the countries who won the WW2, decided to separate Korea in order to establish a buffer zone between Soviet union and Japan. Hence they divided Korea along with 38 paralles, and military rule was begun by US in South, and USSR in North. This brought about establishment of capitalism country in south and communism country in north respectively.

    In June of 1950, the Korean war broke out which brought about millions of casualties from both side resulted in animosity against each other. After 3 years of fighting each other, they called the truce. Even 60 years have been passed there are still unresolved agendas and animosity remained because of the war. Even though two Korea claims they have same ancestors, and have a lot in commons, the war and decades of years living in different political systems made it harder for us to reunify.

    This is why Korea become two distinct countries and hard to become together again. It kinda sad isn’t it?

    Technically, the two Korea are still at war and ironically none of both countries think of other as a country. They’ve consider each other as group of rebellion trying to seize their own respectively:)

  30. LuckinKorea -  November 24, 2010 - 7:49 am

    It’s the Korean War that made hard for both Koreas to be reunited. If there hadn’t been any conflict, who knows what would’ve happened to them? I just hope there will not be any violence and peace in the Korean Peninsula.

  31. maple leafs -  November 24, 2010 - 7:18 am

    In fact, these names are all from chinese. Chinese was official language for Korean for centries. han guk or choson or goryeo is name Chinese gave to them. Do not discuss these with korean, in general they are very narrow-minded.

  32. KOREAS | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  November 24, 2010 - 7:13 am

    [...] KOREAS, VIETNAM, GERMANY — divided by boundary lines of political persuasion. — North and South and Central America with many countries within like EURASIAN. — The DAKOTAS — North and South — and CAROLINAS — we bemoan. — Iran — some still call Persia depending on if they are here or back at home. — Koreans are given grief in America — that’s why many sell Chinese food or run the Bodega on the corner — Though North America ends closer to Gnome. — absolutely we are no expert, linguist nor fore Warner — ignorant of much of the world — Hyundai, LG and the KIA come from the Southern part of Korea — and can there ever be PEAS that are WHIRLED? –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

  33. Haeun Cornelia Kwak -  November 24, 2010 - 6:36 am

    I hope that name be one again – Korea.

    Please, chiristians in all over the world, pray for us!
    Pray for peace, and united country!

    Let God be with us and bless both south and north Koreans.

    I hope no more “South” Korea and “North” Korea, but just “Korea”

  34. professional translator -  November 24, 2010 - 6:33 am

    actually, randomkorean, cyberquill’s hunch was true, especially when it comes to South Koreans.

    America as the country is 미국 (pronounced “me-gook”, lit. ‘beautiful country’). formal name United States of America is 미합중국(“mee-hap-joong-gook”, hap-joong being ‘united states’)’.

    North and South America as continents are 북미 and 남미 (“book-me”, book being north, and “nam-me”, nam being south)

    South Koreans transliterate some countries and have their own words for others. in the case of america, it must be a korean-american thing to fully transliterate ‘america’ because that is obviously more complex for a native South Korean than simple “me-gook”. i have never heard a korean say ‘america’ in stead of ‘mee-gook’ unless they were making a point of some sort.

    North Koreans, despite its addiction to hardcore pure Korean with as little foreign influence as possible, actually tries to ‘respect’ other countries by transliterating their names from their native languages. an example is Germany (Deutschland). a South Korean would call it 독일 (‘tok-eel’), but a North Korean would call it 도이칠란트, (“doh-ee-cheel-lan-tuh”, Deutschland transliterated as best as possible in Korean). a notable exception the USA; it is known as 미제의(“mee-jae-ee”), the Empire of America, with a slight negative connotation (naturally) to the choice of word for Empire.

    other good examples in the topic at large are England, China, and the Soviet Union. England is known as 영국 (“young-gook”… the english language is known as “young-eo”, the “young” being the same as in England).

    People’s Republic of China is known as 중국, “joong-gook”, the korean pronunciation of the chinese characters, in both languages meaning “middle country/kingdom” (in China they call it “zheng-guo”… see the similarity?). korea used the chinese writing system with unique korean pronunciation before they invented their own alphabet, hangeul. this carries on to several Chinese city names. Beijing being pronounced as 베이징 (‘bei-i-jing’) like an english speaker is just as common as it being pronounced by the modern korean equivalent of its chinese characters, 북경 (“book-gyeong”, lit. ‘north capital’). same thing with Shanghai, which is either transliterated from english as 샹하이 (shyang-ha-ee) or the korean/sino equivalent, 상해 (“sang-hae”, ‘above the sea’ in both languages).

    The Soviet Union is (well, was) called the 소련 (“So-ryeon”), “so” being taken from the first syllable of Soviet/Sobieyetske and “ryeon” being the first syllable of 련방, ‘ryeon-bahng’ or ‘union’.

    Korea has a multitude of names for itself as well as most other Asian countries, some of which have died out over the ages. the article doesnt really mention the full names of either modern korea; South Korea 대한민국 (“dae-han-min-gook”, lit. ‘great republic of korea’, chanted almost religiously at major sport events :P) and North Korea 조선민주주의인민공화국 (“jo-seon-min-joo-joo-ee-in-min-gohng-hwa-gook”, ‘korea, democratic people’s republic’). in south korea, it is frowned upon to refer to north korea by its chosen name, and in north korea, it can probably get you sent to a concentration camp if you are caught calling south korea by its official name. there are quite a few older names for korea, including the goryeo mentioned by the article, and the oldest being 아사달 (ah-sah-dal, no meaning in modern korean).

  35. Mayra -  November 24, 2010 - 6:20 am

    Sorry for my mistakes on gramar I’m still learning.

  36. Mayra -  November 24, 2010 - 6:19 am

    Hey my sister lives in South Korea, That is true all of them are nerds, but also really good friends, the president of North Korea is doing the big mistake taht we have ever seen cuz instead of being worry about the poor people, and weaknesess that may have they are worry about fighting, dam i hate when they are looking for problems when the goverment from South Korea, they are not looking for problems.(I’m not saying that people from south or nNorth Korea are not good people I’m talking about Goverment).All the people form Korea n and s are really excellent people, is just the goverment, have it for sure that we will keep on praying to have peace and calm.

    May GOD bless you all.

  37. daphnie rose -  November 24, 2010 - 5:55 am


  38. Milly -  November 24, 2010 - 5:48 am

    stop it!! Let’s all pray for them because war is not good for everyone!!

  39. Marites Cuevas -  November 24, 2010 - 5:37 am

    Hello people! I read the article and it is somewhat interesting. I am a Filipino actually and i like to study about history as well as geography, so I really appreciated this article. To all of you guys, stop correcting to each other. Criticizing is only for those people who are not educated. Why? because the could not know how to wear other shoes to their own feet. So we will just be hopeful that everything would be okay… It’s very tired to think negative thoughts so just go on the right side on it… Even us now, even though we are not divided but still conflicts exist…This is a sad reality!

  40. Clark -  November 24, 2010 - 5:36 am

    Oh and Cyberquill, you really got shut down dude! ;-)

  41. jay -  November 24, 2010 - 5:35 am

    ain’t it the same for germany? it’s called germany throughout the engish-speaking world, germania in italy, allemagne in french-speaking areas, alemania in spain and south america BUT germans as well as austrians and swiss people refer to the country as deutshland.

  42. Clark -  November 24, 2010 - 5:35 am

    Ladybug, CHILL. Chris was talking about pronunciation. HE said, “hey if u say han guk its han gook”.

    As far as the norths and south is the USA, the norths aren’t bombing the south. Duh! There is nothing to fix. Although, North Dakota has such a COLD sounding name I think they should drop the “north” and go with Dakota. But that leaves Virginia and West Virginia, I say we give ‘em both back to the English.

  43. across the continents and the oceans -  November 24, 2010 - 5:26 am

    The people of the hemit country are eating enough this year?

  44. EW -  November 24, 2010 - 5:04 am

    The split of the Korean Peninsula was basically due to the need to provide for the surrender of the Japanese in the area, and provide some initial control, order, and relief immediately following WWII. The 38th parallel was agreed upon between the US and USSR as a matter of convienence and because it was roughly in the middle of the peninsula. It was intended to be temporary only until a permanent, legitmate government could be created or restored. The US proposed a government headed by Sygmun Rhee, and the USSR backed a government headed by Kim Il Sung. Unfortunately, Korea became a pawn in the first battle of the Cold War; the Superpowers could agree on unified government so the “temporary” division continues until today – 65 years later.

  45. Lynn -  November 24, 2010 - 4:38 am

    Why must mankind continue to throw stones, to prove thier superiority? We are all a mankind on one planet, breathing the same air, drinking the same water. War is dwindling as knowledge and unity is expanding. Is this leader another Hitler?

  46. duke -  November 24, 2010 - 3:33 am

    I respect north Korea, Because they are stand on the feet.
    Even whole the world againts them. From- Sri lanka

  47. hmmm -  November 24, 2010 - 3:24 am

    Funny, according to the Times of India it was South Korea who instigated the aggression…let’s not spread propaganda on a reference website please…

  48. april-사월 -  November 24, 2010 - 2:56 am

    I really want to go to south korea!!!!너무너무너무 좋아해..한국 가고십어요..

  49. Physics -  November 24, 2010 - 1:47 am

    The Intervention of UN (on South) and China(on North) solidified how it is split now. It was pretty loose and could have been unified, but they had to participate a bit too early and messed up the unity.

  50. Sean -  November 24, 2010 - 1:45 am

    the actual names of Korea , China and Japan in native languages:

    한국 or 대한민국 (Great Han people’s nation)
    中國 (Middle Kingdom)
    日本 (Land of the Rising Sun)

    한국 can also be written as 韓國 or 韓国 ,which is used in Chinese and Japanese language.

  51. Da-yeon -  November 24, 2010 - 1:37 am

    I love to be a KOrean person!!
    which i am
    But i love Korea!!


  52. 71tae -  November 24, 2010 - 12:46 am

    안녕하세요 means hello
    I am from Korea.
    Technology of Korea is smart!
    Smart Phones like Galaxy S
    Also Korea uses best luxury, sedan cars, suckers!
    Korea is cool, your country sucks

  53. ~Kimchi~ -  November 24, 2010 - 12:43 am

    I hope this tension gets dissolved soon, I also have family in South Korea…on a brighter note, Korea is AWESOME!! X3 대한민국!! 파이팅!!

  54. Ill Sung -  November 24, 2010 - 12:33 am

    I believe if the Yankee bustards leave the sought part of the peninsula and let the two nations (actually one) deal with one another the outcome will be much more useful for Koreans. As long as these Yankees are imposing themselves everywhere as policeman and they think they have always right for what they do not only Koreans have peace within themselves also other countries around the globe also will have troubles.

  55. a Cruz -  November 24, 2010 - 12:23 am

    Instead of engaging in this conflict, why don’t we just bang those hot koreans?

  56. korea -  November 23, 2010 - 11:20 pm

    i am korean
    코리안 파워!!

  57. Talleyrand -  November 23, 2010 - 11:09 pm

    National pride is a ridiculous thing andsaying “god bless XYZ” is so damned cheap.

    But thanks for the interesting explanation. I was always curious about how the Koreas called their own country.

    Next time Hungary is in the news, do the same, please. The Hungarians call the country Magyarorszàg (Nation of the Magyars), so why do we call it Hungary (no, not because of the Huns)…

    Mind you the Poles in Hungarian are “Lengyelek,” Germans “Németek,” the Italians “Olàszok,” and Vienna is called Bécs, etc…. it’s confusing.

  58. 23 -  November 23, 2010 - 11:07 pm

    lets just pray for the safety of everyone in Korea now..my students are there as well.lets join hands for peace..^_^

  59. A.J.eon -  November 23, 2010 - 11:00 pm

    South Korea refers to America as “Me-guk”(mee-gook) and Americans “Me-gukin” (mee-gookin).

  60. HUMAN -  November 23, 2010 - 10:43 pm

    I realy dont know the history of south and north korea, all in know it needs to stop as soon as posible, we are realy tired of people fighting and getting killed.. we need to look forward to the future, there are more important things to worry about like global warming…..

  61. for the people -  November 23, 2010 - 10:13 pm

    Just reposting previous commentator’s wonderful words:

    Charles McKinney on November 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm
    May God bless all of Korea, north and south. Pray for the peace and unity of both nations. Let the past be the past and move forward to a brighter, happier, and tranquil future where the children can grow up in a land where they can feel safe and work towards progress in all aspects of society. May the Lord’s Prayer come to total fruition. Amen

  62. weigooksaram -  November 23, 2010 - 10:02 pm

    A comedian once likened North and South Dakota to the respective Koreas. He said: In the south there are nice, kind, gentle people and in the north there are crazy, isolated, world hating folks with nuclear weapons.

  63. ronald -  November 23, 2010 - 9:43 pm


  64. jacob -  November 23, 2010 - 9:30 pm

    i have many south korean friends so i am praying for you south korea

  65. bc -  November 23, 2010 - 8:22 pm


    Take is easy. Chris is merely pointing out a very common mistake in pronunciation due to the lack of a widely accepted romanization of the Korea phonemes. Some people write 우 as -u- and others write it as -oo-. The confusion lies in the fact that the official romanization changed in 2000. It is still widely criticized as confusing.


  66. akina -  November 23, 2010 - 8:19 pm

    South Korean fundamentally use ‘Korea’ and ‘Korean’ when having coversation with foreign people.
    Although some of foreign people are complicated which Korea is, South and North, I think most foreign people understand that ‘Korea’ and ‘Korean’ is referred as South Korea.

    In TV news North Korean use more ‘Republic(공화국)’ or ‘Chosun(조선)’
    because they think that they are descents of Korean history after Chosun Dynasty. Actually Japanese people call North Korea as ‘Kitachosen(北朝鮮, 북조선).’

  67. akina -  November 23, 2010 - 8:18 pm

    South Korean fundamentally use ‘Korea’ and ‘Korean’ when having coversation with foreign people.
    Although some of foreign people are complicated which Korea is, South and North, I think most foreign people understand that ‘Korea’ and ‘Korean’ is referred as South Korea.

    In TV news North Korean use more ‘Republic(공화국)’ or ‘Chosun(조선)’
    because they are descents of Korean history after Chosun Dynasty. Actually Japanese people call North Korea as ‘Kitachosen(北朝鮮, 북조선).’…

  68. kpopluv4fr -  November 23, 2010 - 7:27 pm

    Korean power!!
    Proud to be Korean!!
    Korean items are like pro~~XP
    God bless Korea!!
    코리안 파워~~

  69. lady_bug -  November 23, 2010 - 7:26 pm


    한국 is transLITERATED as Han-guk, although the pronunciation is Han-gook, so next time before correcting someone’s spelling, check how thing are spelled (transliterated) in non-Korean writing systems!

  70. jung pak-dome -  November 23, 2010 - 6:45 pm

    micheal dont you think they should make a dakota to. and a carolina to? they are both north and south. so you should try and fix your own country you babbling duck.

    babbling duck = micheal dadona i live in a village that is north and south koreans. we dont fight. well maybe we do, but who cares! i like bananas you got a problem?

  71. Tim -  November 23, 2010 - 6:34 pm

    Don’t forget that the South Koreans refer to the country of South Korea itself as “대한민국” or “Dae han min guk.”

  72. Michael Dadona -  November 23, 2010 - 6:08 pm

    Who introduced the split of North Korea and South Korea? If East Germany and West Germany at last combined as Germany, why not for North Korea and South Korea be as Korea?

    Got to dig the history of Japanese ruling period of time from 1910 to 1945, what had been done by Japanese to Korean leaders making both countries apart.

  73. Charles McKinney -  November 23, 2010 - 5:21 pm

    May God bless all of Korea, north and south. Pray for the peace and unity of both nations. Let the past be the past and move forward to a brighter, happier, and tranquil future where the children can grow up in a land where they can feel safe and work towards progress in all aspects of society. May the Lord’s Prayer come to total fruition. Amen!

  74. Zander -  November 23, 2010 - 4:41 pm

    My friends, I type from my South Korean office at this very moment. I’ve lived on this wonderful peninsula for almost a year now. A combination of both English and Korean exists here. It is known as “Konglish”, and is used in normal conversation amongst Koreans themselves as an almost in-vogue like style of speaking. Westernization is a very evident priority for both the country and its beautiful citizens. Learning English is the target held by all aspiring youths and adults alike. The ability to speak the language can be like having a 10000 vs a 13000 on the formely graded SAT, and thereby strongly effect students’ abilities to attain acceptance into universities.
    I’m glad Korea is being spoken of, but I, aswell as Korea and the neighboring Asian nations, are not happy with the means by which this has occured. Keep Korea in your prayers.

  75. chris -  November 23, 2010 - 4:36 pm

    hey if u say han guk its han gook not han guk. im korean and koreans are nerds!!!

  76. Brynn -  November 23, 2010 - 4:19 pm

    They certainly would have if we were still in, or freshly out of, a Civil war. You don’t think they called us by the Union or Confederates?

  77. Echokim -  November 23, 2010 - 4:03 pm

    Let’s Go KOrea!! Korean Power!!!!
    I love Korea
    Proud to be Korean

  78. Annyong hasseyo, Dictionary.com -  November 23, 2010 - 3:35 pm

    I’m an American foreign English teacher here in Korea, and I was so pleased to see Dictionary.com, my homepage, present a little etymology blurb on our great allies in the east!

  79. Justin -  November 23, 2010 - 3:35 pm

    An endonym, or autonym, is a name used by native speakers to refer to themselves or their place names etc., whereas an exonym is the name used by foreigners to refer to those place names or people, etc, that are not referred to in the same way by the natives.

  80. randomkorean -  November 23, 2010 - 3:35 pm

    actually, cyberquill
    Koreans do
    a romanization of what N & S America is called is “Buk America” and “Nam America”
    “Buk” is North in Korean
    “Nam” is South in Korean
    so North Korea and South Korea is also sometimes referred to “Buk Han” and “Nam Han” respectively
    “Han” is the same “han” in “han-guk” in the above article (“guk” is country or nation in KOrean)

  81. Cyberquill -  November 23, 2010 - 3:09 pm

    Koreans probably don’t refer to North and South America as North and South America, either.

  82. south korea power! -  November 23, 2010 - 3:07 pm

    and yes, lets hope that name rings true, my best friend lives there


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