Korean/RWP/Lesson 3

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Learn Korean (Introduction)

Read, write, pronounce Korean:
CourseLesson 1Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5Lesson 6Summary
OrthographyEssential Pronunciation RulesAdvanced Pronunciation Rules
GrammarConversation

Consonants learned so far:
Basic
예사소리
Letter (jamo)
Romanization
Pronunciation
g or k
[g] or [k]
n
[n]
r or l
[ɾ] or [l]
m
[m]
b or p
[b] or [p]
- (initial)
silent
Vowels learned so far:
Letter (jamo)
Romanization
Pronunciation
a
[a]
i
[i]

Welcome back! This is the third lesson of "Learn to read, write and pronounce Korean". In the previous two lessons, you already learned a total of 8 letters.

In this lesson, you will learn 4 additional basic letters and many new Korean words. You will even use your knowledge to write some Korean words, rather than just reading them.

The vowel ㅗ (o)[edit]

ㅗ (o) stroke order.png
ㅗ (o) stroke order
Sound sample of ㅗ (o) (help·info)

The first new letter is the vowel ㅗ (o):

Letter (jamo):
Pronunciation: [o]

The vowel ㅗ (o) is pronounced like the ow in the American English pronunciation of row or the a in the Australian English pronunciation of ball (IPA: [o]). Since this vowel is much wider than it is tall (unlike the vowels you have learned so far), it would be difficult to fit it beside a consonant in a little square box. Instead, it is written below the initial consonant:

Letter (jamo): =>
Romanization: r
o
ro

Even when ㅗ (o) is already below the consonant, it is still possible to add another consonant below to make the syllable end in a consonant:

Letter (jamo): =>
Romanization: b
o
l
bol
Pronunciation: [ p o l ] [pol]

Exercise[edit]

Try to read the following Korean words that contain the letter ㅗ (o). Click "▼" to check your answers, as usual.

Korean: 오만 (hint: an country on the Arabian coast)

English: (O-man) Oman

Korean: 밀라노 (hint: a large city in Northern Italy)

English: (Mil-la-no) Milan

Korean: 로마 (hint: the capital of Italy)

English: (Ro-ma) Rome

Korean: 모로니 (hint: the capital of Comoros)

English: (Mo-lo-ni) Moroni

Korean: 나이로비 (hint: the capital of Kenya)

English: (Na-i-lo-bi) Nairobi

Korean: 일리노이 (hint: a state of the USA)

English: (Il-li-no-i) Illinois

Korean: 볼리비아 (hint: a country in South America)

English: (Bol-li-bi-a) Bolivia

Korean: (hint: formerly the capital of West Germany)

English: (Bon) Bonn

Korean: 바이올린 (hint: a musical instrument)

English: (ba-i-ol-lin) violin

Korean: (hint: a style of music)

English: (rok) rock

Final ㅇ (ieung)[edit]

[[Image:]]
Final ㅇ (ieung) stroke order
Sound sample of Final ㅇ (ieung) (help·info)

The consonant ㅇ (ieung) can appear at the end of a syllable. When ㅇ (ieung) comes at the beginning of a syllable, it is just a placeholder enabling the syllable to start with a vowel, but when it comes at the end of a syllable, it is pronounced like the ng in ring and is transliterated as ng.

Letter (jamo): o =>
o
Romanization: (none)
o
ng
ong
Pronunciation: [ o ŋ ] [ oŋ ]

Exercise[edit]

Practise reading these words now:

Korean: 가봉 (hint: a country in west central Africa)

English: (Ga-bong) Gabon

Korean: 앙골라 (hint: a country in south central Africa)

English: (Ang-gol-la) Angola

Korean: 리옹 (hint: a large city in France)

English: (Ri-ong) Lyon

Korean: 몽골 (hint: a country north of China)

English: (Mong-gol) Mongolia

Korean: 볼링 (hint: a sport)

English: (bol-ling) bowling

The consonant ㄷ (digeut)[edit]

ㄷ (digeut) stroke order.png
ㄷ (digeut) stroke order
Sound sample of ㄷ (digeut) (help·info)

Time to learn the consonant ㄷ (digeut):

Letter (jamo):
Pronunciation: [d] or [t]

The letter ㄷ (digeut) is pronounced similar to the t in stop or strain. It is not aspirated, so it does not sound like the t in try or today. Many English speakers liken it more to the d sound. It is transliterated as d or t.

Exercise[edit]

Practise reading by guessing the meaning of the following Korean words:

Korean: 빌딩 (hint: a closed structure with walls and a roof)

English: (bil-ding) building

Korean: 안도라 (hint: a tiny country between France and Spain)

English: (An-do-ra) Andorra

Korean: 인도 (hint: a large, populous country near China)

English: (In-do) India

Korean: 라디오 (hint: the original wireless music)

English: (ra-di-o) radio

Korean: 비디오 (hint: often distributed on DVD)

English: (bi-di-o) video

Check your answers by clicking "▼", as usual.

The consonant ㅅ (siot)[edit]

ㅅ (siot) stroke order.png
ㅅ (siot) stroke order
Sound sample of ㅅ (siot) (help·info)

Meet ㅅ (siot):

Letter (jamo):
Pronunciation: [s] or [ɕ]

The letter ㅅ (siot) is usually pronounced like the s in sand and is transliterated as s. When the following vowel is ㅣ (i), though, ㅅ sounds a little different because the body of the tongue is raised toward the palate to make the [i] sound. So, the syllable 소 (IPA: [so]) sounds like the English word "so", but the syllable 시 (IPA: [ɕi]) is somewhere between the English "see" and "she".

Exercise[edit]

Practise reading:

Korean: 사나 (hint: the capital of Yemen)

English: (Sa-na) Ṣan‘ā’

Korean: 시리아 (hint: a country in the Middle East)

English: (Si-ri-a) Syria

Korean: 미시간 (hint: a Midwestern state of the USA)

English: (Mi-si-gan) Michigan

Korean: 소말리아 (hint: a country in Eastern Africa)

English: (So-mal-li-a) Somalia

Korean: 사담 (hint: a former Iraqi ruler)

English: (Sa-dam) Saddam

The vowel 一 (eu)[edit]

ㅡ (eu) stroke order.png
一 (eu) stroke order
Sound sample of 一 (eu) (help·info)

The last letter for this lesson is 一 (eu):

Letter (jamo):
Romanization: eu
Pronunciation: [ɯ] or [ɘ]

The vowel 一 (eu) looks just like an ordinary horizontal line. It is much wider than tall, so it is also written below the preceding consonant rather than next to it. Its pronunciation is a bit strange for English speakers, somewhat like the oo of boot but without rounding the lips. In words of foreign origin, it is often an in-between neutral vowel sound used to make consonant clusters more pronounceable for the Koreans. In such words (and otherwise when unstressed), it often is pronounced similar to the u of the Southern American English pronunciation of nut, and the guttural "e" sound in French.

Exercise[edit]

Words for practise:

Korean: 보스니아 (hint: a Balkan country)

English: (Bo-seu-ni-a) Bosnia

Korean: 아그라 (hint: the city whose main attraction is the Taj Mahal)

English: (A-geu-ra) Agra

Korean: 그리스 (hint: a southeastern European country)

English: (Geu-ri-seu) Greece

Korean: 그린란드 (hint: a very cold Arctic country)

English: (Geu-rin-lan-deu) Greenland

Korean: 아이슬란드 (hint: a cold European country in the North Atlantic)

English: (A-i-seul-lan-deu) Iceland

Korean: 라오스 (hint: a country in South-East Asia)

English: (Ra-o-seu) Laos

Korean: 아디스아바바 (hint: the capital of Ethiopia)

English: (A-di-seu-a-ba-ba) Addis Ababa

Korean: 이슬라마바드 (hint: the capital of Pakistan)

English: (I-seul-la-ma-ba-deu) Islamabad

Korean: 리스본 (hint: the capital of Portugal)

English: (Ri-seu-bon) Lisbon

Korean: 마드리드 (hint: the capital of Spain)

English: (Ma-deu-ri-deu) Madrid

Korean: 오슬로 (hint: the capital of Norway)

English: (O-seul-lo) Oslo

Korean: 시드니 (hint: the most populous city in Australia)

English: (Si-deu-ni) Sydney


Exercise: Writing practice[edit]

Since you now can read Korean words with these jamo, try some writing practice:

Guess how to write "Asmara" (the capital of Eritrea) in Korean. (hint: A-seu-ma-ra)

Asmara -> A-seu-ma-ra -> 아스마라

Here's another one to try to write down: "Madras" (Ma-deu-ra-seu).

Madras -> Ma-deu-ra-seu -> 마드라스

Guess how to write "Syngman Rhee" in Korean. (hint: I Seung-man)

Syngman Rhee -> I Seung-man -> 이승만

End of lesson 3[edit]

If you learned the letters in this lesson, you are ready to go on to lesson 4, where you will learn the rest of the simple letters and continue practising your writing skills.

Consonants learned so far:
Basic
예사소리
Letter (jamo)
Romanization
Pronunciation
g or k
[g] or [k]
n
[n]
d or t
[d] or [t]
r or l
[ɾ] or [l]
m
[m]
b or p
[b] or [p]
s
[s]
- or ng
silent or [ŋ]
Vowels learned so far:
Letter (jamo)
Romanization
Pronunciation
a
[a]
o
[o]
eu
[ɯ]
i
[i]
Learn Korean (Introduction)

Read, write, pronounce Korean:
CourseLesson 1Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5Lesson 6Summary
OrthographyEssential Pronunciation RulesAdvanced Pronunciation Rules
GrammarConversation