[KS] Variable Romanization of 년(年) in McCune-Reischauer

Dennis Lee dennisleeucla at gmail.com
Sat Feb 22 14:56:16 EST 2014

Dear List Members:

I apologize in advance if this has already been answered on the list.
However, my search came up nothing about this.

This is something about the McR romanization for 년(年) that has bothered me
for years, but I haven't yet found a satisfactory answer.

On page 32 of the ALA-LC guidelines, it gives several examples of
romanizing 년, but in some cases it will romanize it nyŏn while in others it
will be yŏn. Logically, I think it should be nyŏn all the time.  At first,
I thought the use of yŏn was some arbitrary rule for years written in
Indo-Arabic numerals, but I have seen it used both ways in various

Does anybody know what the exact rule is for choosing yŏn over nyŏn, and
more importantly, why? Also, does this apply to the Revised Romanization
system as well?

Here are the examples given:

천구백구십육년  Ch'ŏn-kubaek-kusip-yungnyŏn
1996년 1996-yŏn

六十二年 事業 計劃 Yuksip-inyŏn saŏp kyehoek
62 年 事業 計劃 62-yŏn saŏp kyehoek

Thank you,
Dennis Lee
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