Everyone knows that (G)I-DLE‘s Yuqi is beautiful, talented, and loveable. However, one thing many fans can’t wrap their heads around is her name—specifically, the big difference in spelling and pronunciation. However, there is a logical explanation…
As you may already know, Yuqi is Chinese, originally born and raised in Beijing. In Chinese, her name is 宋雨琦, which transliterates to Sòng Yǔ Qí in Pinyin. It’s difficult to express the exact pronunciation of Yuqi’s original Mandarin name in standard English, but given the spelling Yuqi, most people expect it to be pronounced “yoo-chee“. However, the way it’s said in Korea is completely different.
Few fans get the Korean pronunciation of Yuqi right on their first try. Despite the way it’s spelled in English, Yuqi’s Korean name is spelled 우기—pronounced roughly like “oo-gee”. But why is there such a big difference between her “real” name and the one she uses as part of (G)I-DLE?
Unfortunately, Yuqi has never confirmed the unusual choice of Korean spelling and pronunciation herself, but there is a likely and logical explanation—as long as you know enough Korean and Mandarin.
In Mandarin, the first character of Yuqi’s given name (Yǔ) means rain. In Chinese culture, name meanings are very important. In fact, tradition says that your name can make or break your future and fortune. As a result, it’s likely that Yuqi wanted to keep the original meaning of her name in Korea.
So, that may explain why Yuqi decided against using the closest Hangul characters to her Chinese name, which would alter the meaning completely. Instead, she went with 우기, which means “rainy season” in Korean.
Not only does the Korean spelling retain the rainy meaning of Yuqi’s birth name, it’s also derived from the Hanja character 雨 (Yǔ, part of Yuqi). Hanja are Chinese characters that have been incorporated into the Korean language.
Now you understand the logic, you may be wondering—why doesn’t Yuqi simply spell her stage name as “Ugi” to better reflect the pronunciation? Again, Yuqi hasn’t revealed her exact reason, but it may have something to do with her international stardom.
Although Yuqi and (G)I-DLE are popular in Korea, the lead dancer also has activities in China too. Alongside NCT‘s Lucas, she’s been a long standing cast member on ZRTG‘s Keep Running, the Chinese version of SBS‘s Running Man. She also sang an OST for Chinese variety show Attention All Tourists.
As such, keeping her name Romanized as Yuqi may be her way of keeping her personal “brand” consistent across all promotions. Or, perhaps she just likes that spelling best!