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Perfecting Your Korean Alphabet Pronunciation: How to say Korean Letters and Words Properly

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Are you learning to improve your Korean skills by practicing Korean words? But studying at home can be a daunting task in perfecting your Korean alphabet pronunciation. How would you know if you were learning to speak correctly without someone to tell you?

Well then, welcome to our guide to help you in learning the Korean alphabet. In this lesson, we’ll teach you how to pronounce Korean words and letters, Korean consonants, vowels, and sentences correctly so that you can be understood when you talk.

Grab a pen, paper, and your favorite drink, because we’ll learn the Korean alphabet Hangul and master Korean pronunciation and sound like a native.

Hangul Alphabet Pronunciation

To learn the Korean alphabet, you must first familiarize yourself with “The Hangul,” which describes the “alphabet” used in Korea. It is nice because it shares many sounds with the English alphabet. For example, many of the sounds in Hangul have sounds that are similar to those in English. So, it’s an easy alphabet to learn, especially if you can associate each letter with a picture.

How to Say the Letters of the Korean Alphabet

For example, in English, the letter can be linked to the word “gun.” The letter looks and sounds a lot like the letter “g.” So, you might want to remember that means gun.

The letter sounds like a “g,” but it can also be said like a “k.” This is because many Korean letters can make different sounds. So, the letter can sound like either a “g” or a “k.” It makes no difference which one you choose. Think of it instead as a “blend” of the sounds “g” and “k.”

Writing vs. Speaking

In the Korean writing system, You might see the letter as a “g” or a “k,” but that doesn’t tell you how to say it. When a Korean word is written in English letters, it is often so that people who can’t read Korean can get a sense of what the word means. But it’s not a good way to learn how to say words. Instead, it’s a much better use of an hour to learn the alphabet.

Basic Korean Alphabet Rules

Now that we’ve gone over some basics about how to say Korean Hangul letters, we can move on to some simple lessons that teach the basic rules for how to say Korean words.

Consonants only make noise when they are paired with a vowel.

In the Korean language, no consonant can make a sound. There has to be a vowel and a consonant in every word. For instance, ㄱ by itself means nothing but means ga. This could be why the way some English loan words are said in other languages is different from how they were said in English.

Vowel That Comes After a Consonant

If the last sound of the previous syllable was a consonant and the first sound of the next syllable was a vowel, the sound of the consonant is added to the beginning of the next syllable. For instance:

먹어 -> 머거

십이 -> 시비

Also, if a syllable’s last consonant is, it will become silent in the world. In this way:

좋아 -> 조아

When the last consonant is in a syllable ㄹ, on the other hand, it sounds more like an r than l. In the same way, if the last consonant ㅌ or ㄷ and the next letter is 이, the sound changes to 치 and 지, respectively. For instance:

같이 -> 가치

Only when the last consonant of a syllable is ㅇ does the Korean sounds of the consonant not change to the next vowel.

What if there isn’t a vowel right after the consonant?

Consonant clustering occurs when the final letter of the word ends in a syllable, and the word that follows doesn’t begin with a consonant. The way that consonant is pronounced may change.

In this way:

ㄱ, ㄲ, ㅋ -> k

ㅂ, ㅃ, ㅍ -> p

In this case, most other consonants will be said as “t.” The only two exceptions are ㄹ, which is just said as “l,” and, which sounds like “ng” when it’s the latter consonant in a syllable. Even though these rules sometimes apply to verbs, you’ll usually use them to figure out how to say nouns.

Korean Double Vowel Combinations

Double Korean vowels, also called diphthongs, are long vowels made by combining two simple vowels. When the two basic vowels come together smoothly, they make a new sound.

The “oi” in “coin” and the “ea” in “clear” are both examples of double vowels in English.

Korean and English are very different languages with very different sounds. The easiest way to learn how to say words in Korean is to listen to a native speaker or an expert. Some of these double vowels make the same sound, which you may have noticed.

For example, both sound like “eh,” and both sound like “yeh.” Then there are the three characters, all sounding “weh.” These double vowels used to sound different, but they have changed to sound the same over time.

Technically, there are still small differences between them, but even native Korean speakers ignore these differences and say them in the same way.

Here are the 11 korean vowels:

(ae)
(e)
(yae)
(ye)
(ui)
(wi)
(wa)
(wo)
(oe)
(wae)
(we)

Korean Double Consonants

In Korean, a double consonant is not said twice as long or with twice as much emphasis as in English, Finnish, and many other languages. Getting the pitch and stress right on Korean double consonants is one of the hardest things you’ll have to learn about how to speak Korean.

Especially when learning double consonants, it will help you to follow an audio guide. Here are some words with two consonants that you can try:

가까워요 (gakkawoyo)

딸기 (talk)

바빠요 (bappayo)

비싸요 (Bisaya)

짜장면 (jjajangmyeon)

The romanization is just here for reference. When you try to improve your pronunciation, try to follow the Hangul. Check out our guide on Korean double consonants if you want to learn more about double consonants.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, we hope that this guide to the Korean alphabet has helped you learn to say Hangul properly. Like with any language, it takes practice to get the pronunciation right, but if you put in a bit of time and effort, you’ll soon know how to read and write Korean easily.