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:
ㅛ - "yo"
ㅕ- "yeo" (remember, "eo" is pronounced "uh")
ㅑ - "ya"
ㅠ- "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" ㅛ
, you will get "oh" ㅗ
. 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, "ㅇ
". 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 ㅇ
at the beginning of a symbol, it is silent.
. The ㅇ
is silent. Therefore this is pronounced simply as "AH".
However, if the character ㅇ
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.
. The character is SILENT
at the beginning. So the top of the symbol would be read as "AH". The bottom has the ㅇ
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:
위 - "ui". It is pronounced as "wee". [wi]
의 - "eui". It is pronounced as "wui". [wui/we]
워 - "ueo". - It is pronounced as "woh". [wo]
와 - "oa". - It is pronounced as "wah".[wa]
왜 - "oae". It is pronounced as "way". [wae]
웨 - "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.