Vocabulary (Review)

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to Korean.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone.
I'm Jaehwi!
In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of Korean pronunciation.
"Pronunciation" refers to the manner in which a word is spoken. So don't focus on reading what's onscreen, instead focus on listening and repeating.
The Basics of Timing
Korean is referred to as a "syllable-timed" language. What this means is that the syllables in Korean follow each other at regular intervals, usually with the same amount of time allocated for each syllable.
고마워요 (go-ma-wo-yo)
고마워요 (go-ma-wo-yo)
Each syllable is pronounced for an equal amount of time.
Since Korean is "syllable-timed" language, there is no word stress. English, on the other hand, is a "stress-timed" language. Syllables that are stressed, are valued greater than syllables that are unstressed.
The stressed syllable "vi" in "individual" is deemed more important, so it's pronounced longer than all other syllables. Listen to it again.
This gives English a "Morse-code" like rhythm, where the pace is sometimes fast, and at other times, slow. One last time...
Compare this once again with Korean, which is even throughout.
When pronouncing Korean words, focus on giving equal time to each syllable as you say the characters out loud.
Pronouncing Korean Vowels
There are ten basic vowel sounds in Korean, which are used to create a total of 21 vowel sounds. Let's take a look at how some of the basic vowels are pronounced.
There are also 'iotized' vowel sounds in Korean. This simply means that there's an added Y sound.
Finally, there are 'diphthongs', which are two vowels pronounced closely together to form a gliding sound.
ㅘ, ㅝ, ㅢ
These are some of the basic vowel sounds in Korean.
Korean Consonants
There are 14 basic consonants, that produce a total 19 consonant sounds in Korean. All of these sounds are categorized into 'nasal', 'plain', 'aspirated' or 'tense' sounds. You can think of these categories as going from 'soft' to 'harder' sounding consonants.
Nasal consonants, are consonant sounds which are pronounced through the nose. These consist of M, N, and NG type sounds.
ㄴ, ㅁ, ㅇ
Plain' consonant sounds, are called that because they do not have special features added to them. Think of the T sound in 'stand', or the P sound in 'span'.
Aspirated consonant sounds on the other hand, have an added turbulent sound. These sounds are like the English T sounds in 'tuck' or 'take', or the P in 'puck'.
ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅊ, ㅎ
Aspirated' sounds are pronounced with a big burst of air, unlike 'plain' sounds which do not have this quality. Compare the two categories of sounds.
Tense consonants, also known as 'double consonants', are pronounced with a stiffer voice. More pressure is built up, and it's released much more quickly than 'plain' sounds.
ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅆ, ㅉ
The Unique Sounds of Korean
Korean has a handful of sounds that are similar to English. They're not identical however, so don't make the mistake of pronouncing them as such.
One of the most unique sounds in Korean, is the consonant 'ㄹ'.
This consonant is often romanized as an R or an L, but there isn't an equivalent sound in English.
This sound is actually somewhere between an 'L' and an 'R' sound. When pronouncing this sound, your tongue should strike the gumridge behind your upper teeth in a quick, rapid motion. Listen and repeat after ____.
ㄹ, ㄹ, 라마, 라마(re, re, ra-ma, ra-ma)
Well done! Let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that Korean is a 'syllable-timed' language. You also learned the different categories for vowel and consonant sounds in Korean. And you discovered that there some consonant sounds which do not have an English equivalent.
We've covered only the basics of Korean pronunciation. If you're interested in learning more, check out the entire course we created named "The Ultimate Korean Pronunciation Guide". In that course, we cover and break down all the sounds in the Korean language, showing you mouth and tongue positioning, and giving you tips to help you perfect your Korean Pronunciation.
In the next lesson, we'll introduce you to the basics of Korean Grammar, where you'll learn about Korean word order and how to build basic phrases in Korean.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!