Feather's Charm presents...

Made for Korean...

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안녕하세요 여러분!

Y’all should already know what that means by now…Anyway, yes, it’s time to recap what we’ve learned so far because although Korean can be easy to understand, it can also be pretty complicated. It’s especially complicated when you get to the pronunciation, and the formation of sentences and words, and remembering them. So, let’s recap, shall we?

Studying in a Library

After all, remembering what certain letters and syllables sound like is important, when stringing them all together. So, let’s remind ourselves, what those sounds and letters are like.


Hangul or 한글

Ok, so, we know that Hangul has 24 letters: 14 consonants and 10 vowels, and they are:



ㅂ, ㅈ, ㄷ, ㄱ, ㅅ, ㅁ, ㄴ, ㅇ, ㄹ, ㅎ, ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅊ, and ㅍ.



ㅏ, ㅓ, ㅣ, ㅕ, ㅑ, ㅗ, ㅜ, ㅡ, ㅛ and ㅠ.


Now, each letter has a specific sound but can change just a tiny bit, depending on where in the word, or sentence, it is. So, for example, ㅂ can sound like “b”, “m” or “p” depending on what vowels and consonants surround it, like in “밥”. It sounds like “bap” because the first ㅂ sounds like “b” since it’s at the beginning of the word, and the second one sounds like “p” because it’s at the end. However, in a sentence like this “저는 여저입니다”, the ㅂ sounds like an “m” because it is close to a ㄴ letter, which sounds like “n”.


Strong Consonants, Double Consonants and Diphthongs

Let’s go back to the consonants, remember that ㅂ, ㅈ, ㄷ, ㄱ, ㅅ, ㅁ, ㄴ, ㅇ, ㄹ, and ㅎ are basically the standard vowels that will crop up everywhere, but there are also these consonants: ㅍ, ㅊ, ㅌ, and ㅋ, which are classed as standard, but are also known as Strong Consonants because they’re basically a stronger form of ㅂ, ㅈ, ㄷ, and ㄱ. There are also double consonants, such as ㅃ, ㅉ, ㄸ, ㄲ, and ㅆ, which emphasize the sound for ㅂ, ㅈ, ㄷ, ㄱ, and ㅅ.



Now, Diphthongs are extra versions of the 10 vowels of 한글, by adding an extra line to some of the vowels, and by pairing with 우 or 오, you are creating a combination of sounds, rather than having an individual sound. So, these diphthongs are ㅐ, ㅔ, 위, 와, 워, 웨 외, 왜 and 의. Remember, don’t get mixed up with 외 (wi) and 위 (oe), because it will change the meaning of a word and they don’t sound the same.


Sound Changes Are Important Too


Ok, so we now know the 한글 alphabet and the way each letter changes, depending on where they are in a word or sentence. Let’s recap the sound changes of some of these syllables and words. Remember that when dealing with syllables, with three or four letters, they can change the way they sound, particularly if they have a ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㄹ, ㅎ, ㅂ and ㅍ in the bottom part of the syllable.

Hand writing on a blackboard in a Korean


So, don’t forget that ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, and ㅊ turn into a “t” when they’re placed at the end of a syllable, or word. So, a syllable like 갓 sounds like “gat”, instead of “gas”. If you remember, when you say “gas”, you release the extra breath in a silent “eu” and since, in Korean, you can’t write “가느”, because that means a different thing, you change it to “get” because it makes sense that way.



Also, with ㄹ and ㅂ, they make the ㄹ silent. So, for example, 밝, on paper, sounds like “balk”, but that just elongates the ㄹ, and it would look weird written out in 한글. So, instead, they say “bak”, to eliminate the ㄹ altogether, to make the syllable make sense.


Go With The Flow

Finally, when you hear a native Korean speak 한글, you’ll notice they flow right through their sentences, and miss out loads of their letters and syllables. Much like what we do in English slang, like when we say “fiddy” instead of “fifty”, or “gotta” instead of “got to”. Koreans flow through their words, and miss out on some of their letters, to make it easier to say.

Image by Helena Lopes


So, for example, “저는 괜찮습니다”, which means “I am fine", and in a romanised version, should sound like “Jeo-neun gwaen-chanh-seub-ni-da”, but in reality sounds more like “Joh-neun ken-chan-seum-ni-da”. Do you see the difference? The same can be said, with smaller words like, 미국인 (which means “American”). You don’t say the ㅇ letter, because normally, it's silent, remember? So, the word sounds like “mi-gu-kin” because it’s silent. However, you can't write it out like that in 한글, because it looks like "미구긴", because it looks weird, so that’s why there’s that silent ㅇ.


Practice Time

Ok, so we’re now ready to look at creating some sentences and looking at starting to add to our bank of vocabulary, but first, let’s practice pronouncing their words and sentences. So, before you make your own, read ones that are already in existence. How? Song lyrics of course! Or, if you want a challenge, why not buy a book in 한글and reading those sentences out loud. You’ll be slow of course, but who isn’t when they’re reading something for the first time, right?


Well, that’s it from me today, I’ll see you guys next time. For now, don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow for more updates and the latest posts here on Feather’s Charm and on my social media accounts. Oh, and share these posts with family and friends, who you’d think might enjoy these topics and tips! I’ll see you later!


With love,

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