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Tsuna 02-05-2009 11:22 AM

Korean | Hangeul | 한국어

The Korean Alphabet

The Korean alphabet consists of 14 consonants, 6 basic vowels, and what I would call combined vowels. (I'm sure that's not the official name for them but it works.)


ㅂ[ㅃ] - "b, p" ["bb", "pp"]
ㅈ[ㅉ] - "j" ["jj"]
ㄷ[ㄸ] - "d, t" ["dd", "tt"]
ㄱ[ㄲ] - "g, k" ["gg", "kk"]
ㅅ[ㅆ] - "s" ["ss"]
- "m"
- "n"
- "r, l"
- "h"
- "k*"
- "t*"
- "ch"
- "p*"

As you can see, the first five of these consonants have a second form that I wrote within the brackets. This form is called a double consonant. Double consonants are pronounced differently than single consonants. A good comparison for those who have studied Japanese - Japanese has the same kind of thing, such as in the word "Tokko". The first k is pronounced separately from the second, making it sound like "TOHK - koh" rather than simply "toh - koh". Hangul's double consonants are pronounced similarly, but we'll get into that later.

* Also there are a few consonants with asterisks after them. These consonants are what you would call the hard consonants. These are sometimes used to express words that are not purely Korean, but that's not to say that no Korean words are written with these consonants, either.

A good example would be the names Tiffany and Jessica. To prevent Tiffany from being mispronounced as Ddibbani, it is written with the sharp consonants. (As Korean does not have an "F" and the [ㄷ] character does not sound like the English pronunciation of the letter "T".)

If Tiffany was written in Hangul without the sharp consonants, it would be written with the Double Consonant of Dd, and bb, as the respective T and ff. However this is what we have the sharp consonants for. Therefore, Tiffany is written as:

티파니 "Ti-Pa-Ni"
Instead of as 띠빠니 "Ddi-Bba-Ni", which just sounds retarded.
Same with Jessica. If they used the normal Korean consonant for the K sound, , it would sound like "Je-si-ga".
So instead they use: 제시카 "Je-Si-Ka".

I would also like to point out that, in the case of the double consonants for D/T, G/K, & B/P, they are often used interchangeably when Hangul is romanized. When the syllables for these double consonants are used, depending on the person romanizing the word, it may be romanized as "dd" or "tt", "bb" or "pp", or "gg" or "kk"; without there being any real difference in pronunciation.

This concludes our lesson on the Korean consonants. Your Homework (for you serious students) is to practice writing and reading the Korean consonants so that you can recognize them easily once we start forming words and writing in Hangeul later on.

Tsuna 02-05-2009 11:26 AM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Yes, I'm double-posting, get over it.

Guys if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. If you get confused on a certain part of a lesson, ask me about it. Don't keep it to yourself or else you'll never be able to keep learning the language. You'll get twist-turned right around and you'll give yourself a headache trying to figure things out on your own.

For question posts:
Please format them as follows:
Lesson Number - Question/Comment

That way it'll be easier for me to help you when you have a problem.

Playa 02-05-2009 11:48 AM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
For the letters that have 2 sounds i.e. ㄷ[ㄸ] - "d, t" how do we know which one to use w/ what word...

Also this should be interesting, learning Korean that is

hackerumas 02-05-2009 12:05 PM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Hmmm very Hard for understand language Korea !

Tsuna 02-05-2009 01:35 PM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어

Originally Posted by playafosho99
For the letters that have 2 sounds i.e. ㄷ[ㄸ] - "d, t" how do we know which one to use w/ what word...

Also this should be interesting, learning Korean that is

For the d/t thing, it doesn't matter which one you use, to be honest. Like I said, the romanizations for those letters are interchangeable.

Like for instance, the word 예뻐 or . (예뻐 means "pretty", means "clumsy/mistake".)

These two words are usually romanized as "yeppeo" and "ddil". But in both cases, it could also be romanized as "yebbeo" and "ttil". The only reason the former romanizations are more commonly used is because the words themselves, to English speakers, sound more like they're using "pp" and "dd" than "bb" and "tt".

To put it simply, the only reason the romanization changes for the D/T, G/K, and B/P characters are because of English speakers trying to spell out Korean words phonetically. In truth, there is really very little difference between the sounds in Korean when they're spoken - but for English speakers learning to pronounce Korean, it's easier for them to assimilate the romanizations to English phonetics, which is why the spellings change when words are romanized.

Either way is correct, technically.

But commonly, this is the rule I've noticed people following as far as double consonants go:

If the double consonant is at the BEGINNING of a word, such as in , you use the softer tone of the letters. (Softer tones are DD, BB, and GG.) If the double consonant is at the END or in the MIDDLE of a word, you use the harder tone of the letters. (Harder tones are TT, PP, and KK.)

This also applies to the consonant for R & L. As with double consonants, is romanized as R at the beginning of a word, and romanized as L at the middle or end of a word.

Tsuna 02-06-2009 07:46 PM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Lesson 2: Korean Vowels

This, I think, is the hardest part of Korean to learn. This is why the lesson on Korean vowels will be split into two separate lessons - Lesson 2 for Basic Korean Vowels, and Lesson 3 for Combined Korean Vowels.

The basic Korean vowels are as follows:

- "ae". This is pronounced like it looks "AY".
- "e". This is pronounced as "eh". It sounds very similar to ㅐ.
- "i". This is pronounced JUST like the Japanese "i", as "ee".
- "a". This is pronounced as "ah".
- "eo". This is pronounced as "uh".
- "u". This is pronounced as "oo".
- "eu". This is pronounced as "ewe".
- "o". This is pronounced as "oh".

For those who have studied Japanese:

This is especially for you. I found learning to pronounce the more complex Korean vowels such as (ae) and (eo) extremely hard. This is because I learned Japanese pronounciation first, which, while it is not vastly different from Korean, can cause some difficulties.

This is because, when learning to pronounce Japanese, you are taught to separate the vowels rather than blend them together. So, in Japanese, say your last name is Aino. The way to properly pronounce this in Japanese would be to separate the vowels sounds of A and i, which are "ah" and "ee", respectively. Aino becomes "Ah-ee-noh", and though when spoken quickly it often sounds like "AYE - noh", you can STILL hear the separation of vowels if you are good enough at Japanese.

This is not true in Korean, and this is why the Korean vowels are sometimes misleading, and why many people romanize it differently than it's OFFICIAL romanization. A great example of this would be the vowel for "eo", . Many people romanize this as UH, because English and Japanese speakers alike will often try to pronounce the EO as "EH - OH", which is incorrect in Korean.

Though technically the vowels in Korean are also separate, they are blended together in a much more English way than Japanese vowels are. (Remember learning blended vowels back in grade school, guys? Like that.)

The vowels are often the hardest to learn because they all look so similar. Study hard.

This concludes our lesson on Basic Korean Vowels. Your Homework (for you serious students) is to practice writing and reading the Basic Korean Vowels so that you can recognize them easily once we start forming words and writing in Hangul later on.

hackerumas 02-07-2009 12:23 AM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Tsuna can you give more example ?

Tsuna 02-07-2009 06:27 PM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Give more examples of what?
What exactly do you need help with? I want to help you but I don't know what to do if you don't tell me anything specific. xD

hackerumas 02-07-2009 10:52 PM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
I already forget anyway How to Forming predicates with verbs, adjectives, and nouns ?

Tsuna 02-09-2009 02:03 PM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Well we haven't gotten to grammar yet, so you don't need to worry about that at the moment. We'll start explaining on word tenses (predicates and such) when we get past learning 1) The alphabet and 2) how to form words.

Lesson 3 - Combined/Complex Korean Vowels

This lesson can be the easiest or the hardest depending on how serious you are about learning Korean. If you've been paying close attention up till now and doing your homework, this lesson should be easy to grasp because it will draw on your former knowledge of the basic Korean vowels. If you haven't... then this may be a difficult lesson for you.

The complex Korean vowels, I will break up into two groups.

Group 1 is the Y combined vowels:

- "yo"
- "yeo" (remember, "eo" is pronounced "uh")
- "ya"
- "yae"
- "ye"
- "yu" ("yoo")

If you notice, all of the Y combined vowels are basically the normal Basic vowels with an extra line added. If you take off the second vertical line on "yo" , you will get "oh" . Remembering this is a good trick on how to learn and remember the Y vowels.

Group 2 is the W combined vowels. These are the hardest, because technically there really is no W in the Korean language, but that is the easiest way to learn how to pronounce the Korean vowels.

For this section, we'll also need to learn the special character, "". I say this is a special character because it has two different pronunciations depending on where this character is placed in a word. At the beginning of a word, this character is NULL. This means that you do NOT read it, it is simply silent. Think of the P in Pterodactyl. You don't pronounced the P. If you see the NULL character at the beginning of a symbol, it is silent.

Example: . The is silent. Therefore this is pronounced simply as "AH".

However, if the character is found at the BASE of a symbol (we will learn more about bases when we start working on grammar), it is pronounced as NG.

Example: . The character is SILENT at the beginning. So the top of the symbol would be read as "AH". The bottom has the character in it, so the entire symbol would be read as "AHNG."

Now, off of that tangent and back to our W vowels. I had to explain the use of the null character to help you guys learn the W vowels without having to worry about consonants when I give examples.

Again, the W vowels are a lot like the Y vowels. They combine different vowels as one to make a new sound, which often gives the impression of the W sound. Hence the name, W Vowels.

The W Vowels are as follows:

- "ui". It is pronounced as "wee". [wi]
- "eui". It is pronounced as "wui". [wui/we]
- "ueo". - It is pronounced as "woh". [wo]
- "oa". - It is pronounced as "wah".[wa]
- "oae". It is pronounced as "way". [wae]
- "weo". It is pronounced as "wuh". [wuh]

In romanizations, the W vowels will ALWAYS be written with the W, instead of the literal translation I provided above. I have provided the romanizations you will see for the W vowels in brackets.

This will conclude our lesson on Combined/Complex Korean Vowels. Your Homework (for you serious students) is to practice writing and reading the Combined/Complex Korean Vowels so that you can recognize them easily once we start forming words and writing in Hangul later on.

Tsuna 02-09-2009 04:05 PM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Lesson 4: Reading and Writing in Hangeul

When Korean is written, you will notice it is not like Japanese, where the letters you learn are all used seperately - like the word "kawaii" ~かわい。 In Korean, the letters are "stacked" in "blocks". The reason why I say it this way is because that's exactly what it looks like.

Korean is called Hangeul - 한글. For you smart kids, you should already start to catch on.

ㅎ +ㅏ + ㄴ = 한. (han)
ㄱ + ㅡ + ㄹ = 글. (geul)
한 + 글 = 한글 (hangeul - Korean).

Now that you know this, you understand how symbols are formed. Now for why the symbols are formed this way.

Korean is read similarly to English in a way. Unlike Japanese, which is traditionally read from right to left, Korean is also read from left to right, like English is.

Each character in Korean represents one syllable. Characters are structured in a way that can be described as (C)V(C). Consonant - Vowel - Consonant. However, remember that there may not always be a consonant before or after a vowel. But in general, when a syllable consists of three letters, this is the rule it follows.

Your first consonant will always be placed at the left. Your vowel will be placed either to the right or underneath the first consonant, depending on the kind of vowel it is. The two kinds of vowels are HORIZONTAL vowels and VERTICAL vowels. Vertical vowels are those like ㅏ.ㅓ.ㅣ. ㅐ,ㅔ,ㅕ,ㅑ, etc. Horizontal vowels are those like ㅡ, ㅜ, ㅠ, ㅗ,ㅛ, etc. Your final consonant will ALWAYS be placed at the BOTTOM of the character.

When it comes to reading Korean, the only real way to improve upon your reading is to practice. Practice makes perfect and trust me, if you're starting out learning Korean as an English speaker, it WILL be hard for you to read the characters at first. If you expect to be good at reading Korean, you need to practice.

I've worked up some practice problems for you to do in case you are serious enough to practice your reading/writing skills.

Romanize the following sentences.

저는 학생입니다.
저는 캐티입니다.

샴푸는 여기 있어요. 그리고 비누는 거기 있어요.

Re-write the following romanizations in Hangul:

Oneul, jeoneun hakgyo gayo.
Kaeti jjang.
Eoni gayo?

Baphago kimchihago bulgogireul meokeoyo. Geurigo muleul masyeoyo.

REMEMBER: To write double consonants, like "ss" or "jj", simply press shift when using the key as if you're capitalizing a letter. (For instance, for SS, use shift+T: ㅆ. For JJ, use shift+W: ㅉ.)
[And don't worry about what the words mean at the moment, I'm more concerned with your reading and writing]

If you plan on answering these questions, this is how you add the Korean keyboard to your computer (windows).
Control Panel --> Language & Regional Options --> Change Keyboard or Input Method --> Add Keyboard --> Korean IME. After you press OK, something like THIS should appear on your taskbar.

KO - Korean Language Input method
The little globe - You won't ever use this so don't worry about it.
A - This is your input type. When it has an A, you will type in English letters. If you click on the A, it will change to 가 - This means you will type in Hangeul. If you want to switch between language inputs, simply click the symbol.
漢 - "Han" - Chinese characters. Don't worry about this, we won't ever be using it.

To switch back to your English Keyboard, you can click the KO and it will provide a drop-down menu. If you don't have any other languages installed, it will say "EN (United States/United States International/United Kingdom); KO Korean (Korea)".

As you can see, I have the keyboards for Japanese, Korean, and English installed on my computer, and the check next to KO means that Korean is my default keyboard setting.

For those who decide to do the practice exercises: Please post your answers here so I can check them.

Playa 02-16-2009 09:32 AM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Since you haven't posted a new lesson in a while i assume it's cuz you are waiting on ppl to do work....
So here it is, the typing in hangeul was a challenge
Jeoneun hagsaeng nida
Jeoneun kaeti ip nida
Challenge:Syangpuneun yeogi isseoyeo geurigo pinuneun geogi isseoyo

ㅗ늘 저는 학교
개티 짱
ㅓ니 가ㅛ
Challenge: will do later

Tsuna 02-16-2009 10:11 AM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
Lol I actually just forgot about it, but thank you for doing the work. Only problem you had is the beginning vowels--when they're alone you have to use a null character with it. So this: ㅏ녕 is actually 아녕.

I'll post another lesson up sometime today, I have to finish writing it lol

Playa 02-16-2009 10:49 AM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
the null character is the same as the character i use to create the 'ng' sound, right?

hackerumas 02-17-2009 07:38 PM

Re: Korean | Hangeul | 한국어
what i miss ?

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