web analytics


This was one of the first things that confused me when I first came to Korea. I just started learning hangul and couldn’t remember all of the letters and sounds yet.

Sometimes I would see signs that said “sundae” thinking they served ice cream as a dessert or something. So one time I went into a restaurant, ordered my dinner, and afterward asked for a “SEON-dae” as in the ice cream. The lady had no idea what I was talking about, and after frustration because of my lack of Korean skills, I just left dumbfounded and craving an ice cream sundae.

Then at school one day, I was telling students some of my favorite desserts, and I wrote “sundae” on the board. They kept calling it “SOON-dae” and I kept asking them why they were calling it that and I was getting very annoyed about it haha.

They then showed me pictures and it was one of the first Korean words I can remember learning. Just one of the many interesting experiences as a noob here in Korea. I think they should change the romanization to soondae as many Koreans who have “순”in their name also write it out as “Soon”.

I’m not a big fan of the dish, but will eat it when presented with it for school at lunch.

This was long before I met Hyo, as I’m sure she would’ve pointed out my mistake immediately.

Learning Korean is Easy when You Have this Starter Pack

Learning the Korean language can seem like a big task at first, but the way you learn can make it a simple and fun experience.

Whether you want to understand basic words in K-pop or K-dramas, impress your Korean friends, or simply learn more about Korean culture, the Korean Language Starter Pack will help you quickly learn and remember the most commonly used Korean words and phrases today.

What’s Inside?

• Infographic Compilation – More than 160 Korean infographics that help you quickly learn common words and phrases.

• Review Flashcards – Easily learn and review 600 must-know Korean words with printable front and back flashcards.

• Cheat Sheets – 17 printable Korean word lists that ensure you always have access to the most commonly used Korean words.

• Weekly Vocabulary Guide – Kickstart your Korean vocabulary with 16 value-packed lessons that you can conveniently complete at your own pace.

*Bonus - Free updates for life!

Receive all future updates by e-mail when they are released, as well as a bonus printable poster from our store! Simply email us with your order number and the name of the poster you would like.

Immediately after purchase, a zip file will be available for instant download. Remember, this is a digital file that will conveniently be sent to you right away (not a physical book).

Happy Learning!

8 thoughts on “Why 순대 (Sundae) is the Worst Romanized Korean Word

  1. dewaanifordrama says:

    ㅋㅋ The funny thing is that I saw the word and in my head I said: “soondae”…even though I am a native English speaker…maybe I am listening to too much Korean 😉

  2. Molly says:

    Why would you get angry at someone for pronouncing a word differently than you do? To-may-toe .. To-mah-toe ..

    • dewaanifordrama says:

      I don’t think it was the pronunciation so much as the expectation. Imagine expecting a delicious, sweet, ice-cream sundae, and instead getting pig’s intestines stuffed with some noodles and pig’s blood. I’m not saying that soondae is necessarily a bad thing, but it’s the expectation that ended up being disappointing…at least from what I understood from the post ^^ And it’s not the pronunciation, it’s how it’s been romanized that’s the issue I think ^^

  3. kanariya says:

    Thats why I dont like the fact that there is no uniform romanisation system like Japanese has when it comes to Korean~ ㅜ in fact should be romanised as “u”, but the english speaking world is so used to romanising ㅜ as “oo” (which annoys me as hell XD) and most people end up thinking u = ㅓ, i think its focused waaaaay too much on the english type of pronounciation, which leads to this kind of confusion…

    • Patrick07 says:

      Japanese is easy to learn to spanish speakers and korean is easy to learn to english speakers

  4. Monica says:

    I saw this word first on Global We Got Married when Key was talking about it and I also thought it was a Sundae, so when they were pronouncing it with that “oo” sound, I thought, oh, maybe Korean’s romanized it but pronounce it weird. I agree that more u’s in romanization should be written as oo. Makes for too many weird misunderstandings haha

Comments are closed.