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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Jae here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Korean questions.
The question for this lesson is…
How do you say the vowels ㅗ (o) and ㅜ (u) correctly?
These two vowels sound similar, so they can be a little tricky to pronounce. The vowel ㅗ (o) sounds like a very round “o,” like in the words “oval” and “orange.” The vowel ㅜ (u) sounds more like the “oo” sound in the words “moon” and “room.”
Let’s break it down with some examples so you can hear the difference between ㅗ (o) and ㅜ (u) more clearly.
Let’s take the word 공[gong], which means “ball” in Korean. 공[gong] has the vowel ㅗ (o), which makes a round “o” sound.
Now let’s take another word 궁[gung], which usually means “palace.” This word has the ㅜ (u) vowel, which means it's going to have more of an “oo” sound.
A good way to practice these vowels is by alternating between them while repeating, like this: 공[gong] 궁[gung] 공[gong] 궁[gung]. Can you hear the difference?
Let’s do one more example. The word 오후[ohu], meaning “afternoon,” has both the ㅗ (o) and ㅜ (u) vowels. Once you have mastered saying 공[gong] and 궁[gung], try repeating the word 오후 [ohu] and see how you sound!
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
See you next time. 다음 시간에 만나요. (Daeum-sigane mannayo.)