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:
ㅐ- "ae". This is pronounced like it looks "AY".
ㅔ - "e". This is pronounced as "eh". It sounds very similar to ㅐ.
ㅣ- "i". This is pronounced JUST like the Japanese "i", as "ee".
ㅏ- "a". This is pronounced as "ah".
ㅓ- "eo". This is pronounced as "uh".
ㅜ- "u". This is pronounced as "oo".
ㅡ - "eu". This is pronounced as "ewe".
ㅗ - "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 ㅐ
(ae) and ㅓ
(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", ㅓ
. 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.