Say it Right…

I am at Chapter 4 of the book Elementary Korean. It’s getting exciting to read.  I am just adjusting on the pronunciation guide.  I like this Chapter because it seeks to explain some of the rules in pronouncing 한글characters. 

Two sounds in one character.  ㅂ,ㄱ, ㄹ andㄷ have dual sounds, chapter 4 of the Elementary Korean provided some rules on when ㅂ is pronounced ‘b’ or ‘p’ just like ㄱ can be ‘g’ or ‘k’.  But there is more to that in terms of pronunciation in 한글.

In my previous readings, I am confused when 것 (thing) is romanized as k-o-t when it should have been k-o-s.  This is where the basic pronunication will apply.  There is this rule on pronouncing final consonants of a word.  Only words ending in the following consonants can be pronounced or released ㄹ,ㅁ,ㄴand ㅇ like the following examples:

  • 물 water (mool)
  • 식당 restaurant (shik-tang)
  • 가 슴 chest (kasum)
  • mawn (window)

There is an exception for these characters ㅂ,ㄷ and ㄱ.  Its sound can be released BUT the word should be followed by a particle or a special verb -이에요 (i-e-yo).   Otherwise the consonant sound stay on the nose as if being swallowed (therefore not releasing it)…. this is really hard.   Sound of the other consonants is reduced as follows:

  • ㅂ,ㅍ,ㅃ —-> ㅂ (p)
  • ㄷ,ㅌ,ㅅ,ㅆ,ㅈ,ㅉ,ㅊ —-> ㄷ (t)
  • ㄱ,ㄲ,ㅋ —-> ㄱ (k)

Now I can say ㄷ is such a powerful character in terms of sound just imagine the sounds of all the characters that it can replace.  This is going to be tough thing to remember especially when you are seeing all 한글. 

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Other Consonants

2007년 9월 02일  

This is another difference of 한글 with the English alphabet.  There are consonants which are represented by 2 characters.  These are as follows:

  • ㅃ (pp) – my korean friend thought me one word which happens to start in this character, 빨리 (ppal-le) which means quickly.
  • ㄸ (tt) – i have encountered a word that uses this character from a phrase I have learned. 봐요 (tto bwoa-yo)  which means see you again or see you later.
  • ㄲ (kk)
  • ㅆ (ss) – in the phrase I previously wrote in this blog this character has been featured. 수고하 어요 (su-go-ha-kyo-sso-yo) which means ‘well done’.

At this point i really won’t be able to recognize the difference of this double character against the single one.  Based on my readings these characters when pronounced are tensed and unaspirated (not much air is released unlike the single character).

There are two other consonants that I find interesting in 한글.   These are ㅎ and ㅇ.  Previously i have discussed ㅇ which is silent or no sound when placed at start of syllable block.  This however becomes ‘ng’ in sound when placed as final consonant of a syllable block such as the word 식당 (shik-tang) or restaurant.

I find this character very Korean ㅎ it looks like a man with a hat to me.  In fact the word Korean and Hangul starts with this character spelled  as 한극 and 한글 respectively. This is represented with sound ‘h’. 

Learning Consonants Part 2

2007년 9월 01일  

Still on the consonants with dual pronounciation (this is my own term for these 한글characters) ㄷ,ㄱ and ㅅ are included.  ㄷ is pronounced ‘t’ as in the word take or ‘d’ as in the word date.  In one of my favorite songs from Se7en, 와줘 (Come Back), the phrase  돌아와줘 is often heard note that is  pronounced as (do-ra-wa-juo) while ㄷ sounds like ‘t’ in 도로 (taw-raw).

In English the letter ‘k’ will never be mistaken as ‘g’ but in Korean, the sound of ㄱ is similar to the sound produced in the letter ‘k’ and ‘g’ as in the word kite and game respectively.  In one of the books I read, ㄱ awhen at the beginning of a word, should be romanized as  ‘g’ based on the recent government imposed standards on translating 한글 in English alphabet.

ㅅ also has a tricky pronounciation.  In most cases it sounds like ‘s’ as in the word soup. However, if the vowel next to it is ㅣ it should be pronounced as ‘sh’ like the word 식당 which mean restaurant (shiktang).  ㅅ is treated as ‘t’ in some cases where it is a final consonant like the number 3 which 셋 (set) in Korean.

Learning Consonants

2007년 8월 31일  

한글 has few consonants compared to the English alphabet. I have been reading phrase books in the past few months and it seems they are true to their claim that almost every sound that an English word have can be written in 한글.  

Here are the first few consonants that I learned while doing self study.  The order may not be correct (similar to how we have been singing a-b-c)

ㅂ ㅈㄷㄱㅅㅁㄴㅇㄹㅎㅋㅌㅊㅍ

Of these characters ㅁㄴㅋㅌㅊㅍ are the less tricky in terms of reading.   The sound produced by these characters are written next to it ㅁ(m)  ㄴ (n) ㅋ(k)  ㅌ (t)  ㅊ (ch)   ㅍ (p). 

The rest have certain variation in pronunciation, i have encountered such in studying some phrases and words.   Take the case of ㅂ (the sound is between ‘p’ and ‘b’).  In some cases this letter is pronounced as ‘m’.  For example in the phrase:

 만나서 니다 (man-a-so  pan-gap-sum-ni-da) which translates as ‘Nice to meet you’, instead of pangapsupnida it is pronounced as pangapsumnida. ㅂ takes the ‘p’ sound rather than the ‘b’.

ㅈ is usually ‘j’ when pronounced as in ‘July’ but in some cases the sound is ‘ch’ as in ‘cherish’.  Like the word 잘 which means good or well in English, ㅈ is more of ‘j’ rathen than ‘ch’.  ㅈ sounds like ch in these samples:

  • 집 (chip) means house
  • 좀 (chom) means please
  • 제발 (chebal) means please or appointment