Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Easy to Memorize Korean consonants!


Today, I am going to give you a tip to easily memorize Korean alphabet, Hangeul.
If you have followed my postings so far, you know how the vowels got their shapes,
and you know some of the Korean consonants.

Do you remember the ㄱ letter which is from the tongue shape when Koreans pronounce /g/ and /k/ ? Okay, the picture below is the ㄱ guy which I drew.

Koreans use this ㄱ guy when they pronounce /g/ and /k/ sound.

Did you notice anything confusing? 
Yes, Korean doesn't differentiate voiced /g/ and voiceless /k/ sound.
Therefore, Koreans words with ㄱ letter are tricky to write in English.

The name of Korean food Kimchi is 김치, and the initial sound of ㄱ is not same as 'k' in English.
The initial sound of 김치(Kimchi) is between the 'g' and 'k.'

So, instead of applying voiced /g/ and voiceless /k/ distinction, Korean language applies to use /kh/ sound, and gives a distinctive letter.
This is ㅋ which is the letter for /kh/ sound. 

(By the way, the picture of Kimchi is just from my refrigerator.)

The sound of /kh/ is simply add more air when you pronounce /k/ sound. 
Technically, the /kh/ sound is called as aspirated, 
however, you can just remember that when Korean /k/ sound is added more air, 
then the /kh/ sound is created.
I can explain more simply just like below.

When ㄱ which is /k/ has more air like this, ㅋ which is /kh/ is used.
When you pronounce /kh/ sound, you can feel that the puff of air is emitted. 

On the other hand, Korean has one more distinctive letter for strong sound /g/.
To pronounce strong /g/ sound, the puff of air is not required like ㄱ sound, but more intense energy is required.
Therefore, Hangeul used double ㄱ sound to express strong /g/ sound.

Isn't it logical enough to put double the normal ㄱ?

The same logic applies to the /s/ sound, /d/ sound, /j/ sound, and /b/ sound as well.

The below is the total list of Korean consonants again.

If you remember what I told you about the principle of the consonants shapes,
I guarantee you can easily understand and memorize them!!
Now, you can read Korean letters!

Thank you for reading my posting!
See you soon! 
Bye Bye!! = 바이 바이!! [baibai]

I would like to introduce the useful links which also provides a pronunciation.
This is from Ohio State University.

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