Korea Online, Korean Alphabet, Language

Why do Koreans have Usernames with All Consonant Letters

dlwlrma, skawngur, thstjddk, qkrrud78, dlstmxkakwldrl

Yes, those seemingly random words with jumbled letters above are real Instagram usernames. And, it’s not random at all! Don’t you believe?

A post shared by 이지금 (@dlwlrma) on

A post shared by 남주혁 (@skawngur) on

A post shared by KYUNG PARK (@qkrrud78) on

A post shared by 오뉴 (@dlstmxkakwldrl) on

See, those are real Instagram accounts of IU, Yang Ji Won, Kyung Park, and Onew. Even though they look like they couldn’t think of any username and let their cats type it, this kind of usernames are very common among Koreans.

How many of Korean friends (or celebrities) you follow on SNS a.k.a social media such as Instagram, Twitter, or KakaoTalk, which have incomprehensible usernames like that? Have you ever wonder why they chose such difficult username that almost all of it made of only consonant letters?


TL;DR Answer: because they type it in Korean (hangul) but using QWERTY keyboard layout and hence, latin letters.

Usually, usernames are limited to allow only latin letters (ABC), numbers, and a few symbols like an underscore. Because Korean letters (hangul) are not allowed for username, they would need to transliterate hangul into latin alphabet which, to them, is foreign. One way to transliterate 지원 is “Ji Won”.

Alternatively, they may also simply type out the username as if it’s in Korean. On standard Korean keyboard, the letter ㅈ corresponds to W key, ㅣ is at L, ㅇ at D, ㅜ at N, ㅓ at J, ㄴ at S. Therefore, 지원 became WLDNJS.

So, even though the word can’t be read in English, yet the username is perfectly comprehensible and easily remebered in Korean. wldnjs62 means 지원62 (ji-won-62).

Deciphering “dlstmxkakwldrl”

Now we know why and how they came up with such usernames. How about the reverse, deciphering the meaning of Onew’s Instagram account “dlstmxkakwldrl”? Same principle applies. The method is by checking out which hangul letter is located at D key on the keyboard, then L, then S, and so on. If you don’t have a Korean keyboard, see the layout of Korean keyboard compared to QWERTY below.

Q ㅂ W ㅈ E ㄷ R ㄱ T ㅅ Y ㅛ U ㅕ I ㅑ O ㅐ P ㅔ
A ㅁ S ㄴ D ㅇ F ㄹ G ㅎ H ㅗ J ㅓ K ㅏ L ㅣ
Z ㅋ X ㅌ C ㅊ V ㅍ B ㅠ N ㅜ M ㅡ

Alright, let’s try to convert those letters into hangul.

d l s t m x k a k w l d r l

Next, combine letters into syllable block following hangul rules. To put it simply, the combination must be either Consonant+Vowel (CV) or Consonant+Vowel+Consonant (CVC).

On Korean keyboard, the two types of letters are easily distinguished since they are grouped. From the center to the left (including G ㅎ), all of them are consonants, while from the center to the right are vowels (yes, they have that many vowels).

Once it is combined we get: 인스타마징기

Now, we need to know how to read that. You can use my romanization tool to help you read it.

인스타마징기 = in-se-tha-ma-jing-gi (instamazingy)

Wohoo we got it! If you are a Shawol and are asked what is Onew’s Instagram account, you can say it out loud, “Instamazingy!” 🙂

From now on, we can remember and pronounce these usernames easily. Try it out for those other usernames and see what you get!