Everyone uses the table of elements, but not everyone calls the elements the same thing. For example, in the UK, the element with atomic number 13 is called "aluminium", whereas in the USA, it's called "aluminum".
I decided to look at the differences in names for some of the elements of the periodic table in American English and Korean. I found that, generally, the longer an element has been known, the more likely it is that the Korean name for that element differs from the American name.
In the table below, you can see the names of elements 1-56 and 72-86 in American English, Korean, and Romanized Korean (if the Korean name is substantially different from the American name) as well as the date of discovery. The date of discovery is given as * if the element was known to ancient civilizations. Generally, if an element was discovered before 1774, then the Korean and American names differ. Otherwise, they're the same outside of a few exceptions. This is interesting because one of the first efforts to systematically classify elements was published in 1789 by Antoine Lavoisier.
A couple notes about the Korean names:
- The Korean name for Sodium is "natrium" which matches the original name for that element and the chemical symbol it's given, "N".
- The Korean name for Potassium is "kalium" which matches the original name for that element and the chemical symbol it's given, "K".
- Koreans match British pronunciation and call element 13, "aluminium". This is not surprising since Korean pronunciation of many words more closely resemble that of British English. (The main example of this is in the difficulty many native Korean speakers have in differentiating L and R sounds and the fact that R sounds in British English are sometimes pronounced more as H sounds. Compare /hɑrd/ in US English and /hɑː(r)d/ in UK english for the word "hard". It's easier to just drop the R sound altogether rather than try to differentiate it from an L.)
Table 1. Selected Elements of the Periodic Table Sorted by Date of Discovery
|Atomic Number||American English||Korean||Romanized Korean||Date of Discovery|
Photo by Hans Splinter