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General Help for Pronunciation of Letters?

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Posts: 1
Joined: February 14th, 2018 3:49 am

General Help for Pronunciation of Letters?

Postby daylenkboen_233628 » February 14th, 2018 4:06 am


I've been studying Korean on a daily basis for a few weeks, maybe 2 or 3, and I have to say: It's quite a fun language to learn!

However, I'm still struggling to pronounce certain letters. I study on my own at home on a daily basis, and I use multiple different sources. I've utilized videos, articles, lessons, etc. However, I it seems as if many of them have a different tactic or explanation on how to pronounce these letters. I'm also a little confused on how the position of these letters in words affects the pronunciation.

I specifically struggle with ㅂ, ㄱ, and especially ㅈ.

I've read and heard ㅂ pronounced as a softer "p" sound. However, I've also heard it pronounced as a "b" sound in other words, which I thought was how you pronounced "ㅂㅂ" . I've read and heard ㄱ pronounced as a softer "k" sound, however I've also heard it pronounced as a "g" sound, which is how I thought you pronounced "ㄱㄱ".

Finally, I still struggle with ㅈ. It doesn't sound like a regular "j", as some sources say it does. To me, it sounds almost exactly like "ㅊ".

I could really use some help here. I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing them wrong, or if the sound changes because of it's placement in the syllable, but if anyone would be generous enough to lend me help, I would be very grateful! :D

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Joined: February 3rd, 2017 11:16 am

Re: General Help for Pronunciation of Letters?

Postby contactus_231994 » February 16th, 2018 1:18 am

Hi daylen,

Thank you for posting. First of all, don't worry, many people get the pronunciation of Korean consonants confused, as there is no actual equivalent in the English alphabet--and some of the consonants people struggle with are the ones you are also having trouble with.

ㅂ is actually closer to the 'b' sound, but it is slightly 'stronger' than the 'b' sound. Think of it as somewhere between b and p. Usually when it is used in the front of a word or sentence, it will sound stronger (more aspirated), but when it is in between syllables it will sound more like a 'b'.
Same goes for ㄱ, as an initial it sounds 'stronger', somewhere between a g and a p, but in between syllables it will sound like a 'g'. It is different from ㄲ, which is more tense (sorry, there is no equivalent in English).
ㅈ is tricky as it is used to write English words that begin with either 'J' or 'Z'. For example, both the names Jack and Zack are written in Korean as 잭. So it would actually be a sound that is between a 'j' and 'z', rather than 'ch', which is ㅊ.

The best way is to listen to as many words and sentences as possible and reading them out loud until you get the pronunciation down but that takes practice. So don't get discouraged, practice, practice, practice! :D

Hope this helped somewhat. Please let us know if you have any other inquiries.

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