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Lesson Transcript

Minkyong: 안녕하세요, 여러분.
Keith: Hey, Keith here. And, welcome to Pronunciation Lesson #5. Our last and final pronunciation lesson. Minkyong, what did we talk about in our previous four pronunciation lessons?
Minkyong: In our previous lessons, we have looked at some unique sounds in Korean. And compared them with similar sounds in English. And, we also looked at some sound combinations of different consonants.
Keith: Right. And, in this fifth lesson of the Pronunciation Series we’ll look at some liaisons and tensing rules.
Minkyong: This lesson will definitely make your pronunciation sound much more natural.
Keith: All right. So, liaisons and tensing rules. These are some pretty fancy words, but they make me sound smart, no? You’re just giving me a dead look.
Minkyong: Sounds smart, but not smart.
Keith: Ok. Well, to be honest and I think I’m not 100% sure, I just got this off of Wikipedia. The liaisons are generally referring to a phenomenon that happens in French, in the French language. Minkyong, you studied some French before. What’s a liaison?
Minkyong: It’s when a letter ends a word, but it’s usually silent. But, when there’s other words after that, the silent letter is pronounced.
Keith: And, generally speaking, the same thing happens in Korean.

Lesson focus

Minkyong: Like we mentioned in our previous pronunciation lesson. We’ll be using the word 받침 a lot in this lesson, as well.
Keith: And, that’s when a consonant ends a 글자, a single block of 한글. So, let’s get started. How about we start with the easiest?
Minkyong: Ok. Let’s start with the basics of Korean pronunciation. So, once again, the 받침 is what we call the consonant that ends a 글자.
Keith: And, 글자 is referring to the one block of 한글. The one syllabic block.
Minkyong: If there is a 받침 and the next 글자 starts with ㅇ, then the pronunciation moves.
Keith: Right. It moves from the last, final position of one 글자, and then the pronunciation carries over to the next 글자. Basically, what happens is the 받침, it replaces ㅇ.
Minkyong: This one’s really easy. And most people, just kind of get this naturally.
Keith: Yes. But, we just wanted to explain in case people weren’t aware. And, because we want to sound smart.
Minkyong: Yes.
Keith: You too?
Minkyong: Yes, of course.
Keith: All right. So, why don’t we take a look at a really simple example? How about 먹어요?
Minkyong: When I meet people learning Korean, a really common mistake that people make is that they pronounce every single 글자 to try to get the pronunciation really clear. But, actually, it sounds a bit unnatural to pronounce everything so clearly.
Keith: Right. So, you might hear a lot of 먹어요, 먹, 어, 요. Really pronouncing that middle syllable really clearly. Or, at least, trying to.
Minkyong: Yes. But, if you say it faster, that middle syllable 어 becomes 거.
Keith: And, this is because ㄱ is the 받침 for the syllable right before it.
Minkyong: 먹어요.
Keith: One more time slowly?
Minkyong: 먹어요.
Keith: Right. So, to sound natural, you kind of mashing the sounds together. And, that’s because we want to be efficient when we’re speaking Korean, of course. All right. Minkyong, let’s take another look at a different example.
Minkyong: We can look at 읽어요.
Keith: And, the first syllable is what?
Minkyong: 읽.
Keith: You only hear the ㄹ there, but in reality the 받침 has two consonants. The 받침 is actually composed of ㄹ and ㄱ.
Minkyong: Yes, sometimes the 받침 has two consonants.
Keith: So, here, we take the last consonant ㄱ and carry it over to the next syllable.
Minkyong: So, instead of 어, we have 거. So, 읽어요 is actually pronounced as 일거요.
Keith: Right. So, knowing the spellings of words are pretty important, too. This carry-over when you’re moving the consonant from one syllable to the next, this happens in almost every single Korean sentence.
Minkyong: Yes, this one’s pretty easy. But, since it happens so often, it’s really important to make sure all our listeners know.
Keith: Ok. So, since we got the easier stuff down, why don’t we move on to something a little more difficult?
Minkyong: How about we talk about ㅂ and ㄴ?
Keith: Ok. When ㅂ and ㄴ starts the next syllable what happens?
Minkyong: The pronunciation for ㅂ turns into ㅁ.
Keith: Right. And, that’s because the lips are put together when you pronounce ㅂ. So, when you say ㄴ as you’re opening your mouth again, there isn’t time to let out the ㅂ sound. Remember. Efficiency, quick, fast, let’s be Korean fast.
Minkyong: Well, it doesn’t have to be fast. Even if you speak slower, it’s pretty easy to figure out because it’s pretty natural.
Keith: Ok. So, why don’t we take a look at an example? How about 안녕하세요. 저는 Keith입니다?
Minkyong: That last 입니다 is actually spelled 입니다.
Keith: So, the first syllable has, as we mentioned before, ㅂ as the 받침. And, the next syllable starts with ㄴ and we can change ㅂ to ㅁ.
Minkyong: So, we have 임니다.
Keith: And just to give you something to compare with, the actual reading of it is 입니다.
Minkyong: 입니다.
Keith: And, I want our listeners to try this out as they’re listening. If you try to say the exact written pronunciation 입니다, 입니다. it’s actually kind of unnatural, because you have to move your mouth so much.
Minkyong: 입니다, 입니다, 입니다. Yes, it’s a little uncomfortable.
Keith: So, to make it comfortable, we change ㅂ to ㅁ, and now we have?
Minkyong: 임니다. And this should be really useful for all of our listeners.
Keith: Yes, because the formal politeness level, a large percentage are the conjugations, the endings and in 입니다. 좋아요. Minkyong, let’s move on to our next focus.
Minkyong: Ok. Let’s take a look at when ㄱ is the 받침.
Keith: When ㄱ is the 받침? What do the next syllables need to start with for this ㄱ to be affected?
Minkyong: In the next 글자, it needs to start with either ㄴ or ㅁ.
Keith: And, just to really quick remind, we’re throwing up a lot of consonants ㄴ,ㅁ, ㅂ, ㄱ, and a lot of letters here and there, and it might be a bit tough to follow, so we strongly suggest stopping by KoreanClass101.com and picking up the accompanying lesson notes to read while you listen to what we’re talking about. Ok. Minkyong, so why does this happen? Why does ㄱ turn into ㅇ?
Minkyong: Well, it’s the same thing as before. It’s hard and tiring to have to stop exactly after pronouncing ㄱ, and then say ㄴ or ㅁ after that. So, the sound ㄱ changes to ㅇ.
Keith: And, really quickly, ㅇ when it’s in the last position, when it’s a 받침, how does it sound like?
Minkyong: 응.
Keith: Like a “ng” like sound in English. And, once again, we’re moving our mouth too much, so we to minimize that when we’re trying to speak natural Korean. All right. Let’s have an example.
Minkyong: We can look at 국물.
Keith: And, if you pronounce it like it’s written, it should be 국물, but as we’re going over spoken Korean, the pronunciation is?
Minkyong: 궁물.
Keith: There we change ㄱ to ㅇ. Ok. Let’s move on to our last example. Lastly, we’re going to take a look at tensing. Minkyong, do you remember tensing?
Minkyong: All the 쌍 consonants ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅆ, and ㅉ.
Keith: Right. Those are all tensed and if you need to review this, please listen in to our second installment of Pronunciation Series. There we go over the tense consonants.
Minkyong: So, with this, all you have to do is know all the consonants that have a tense version.
Keith: Right. When written, they’re written as two ㄱs, two ㄷs, two ㅂs, two ㅅs and two ㅈs.
Minkyong: Yes. So, if you know which ones there are, if any of them crash…
Keith: Or collide, not really sure what the word is.
Minkyong: When the sound of 받침 carries over to the next syllable, and the next syllable starts with any of these ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㅅ, and , ㅈ, it becomes tensed. The 쌍 versions.
Keith: Right. So, we’re talking about the regular consonants right now. If any of those five regular consonants come in contact with each other, the one that starts the second syllable becomes tensed. Let’s go into a quick example. I think it’ll be easier to understand.
Minkyong: Let’s go with 줍다.
Keith: Ok. If read like it’s written it would be?
Minkyong: 줍다.
Keith: But, since both ㅂ and ㄷ are in our five consonant list, one of them gets tensed. Which one is that again?
Minkyong: The one that comes later, ㄷ.
Keith: So, now that it’s tensed, it becomes 따 instead of 다.
Minkyong: And you know all verbs in Korean ends in 다.
Keith: Yup. So, the syllable that starts that is ㄷ, one of our magical consonants. Well, probably not magical, but… In any case, if you’re listening to the lessons, when we give you some words, sometimes we’ll say 다, but sometimes you’ll also hear?
Minkyong: 따 like 줍따.


Keith: Ok. That’s going to do it for this lesson and that’s also going to wrap up our pronunciation series.
Minkyong: 아쉬워요.
Keith: Yes, it’s a shame because it was a good series, but actually it was pretty tough to be honest.
Minkyong: But, it was very useful.
Keith: Yes. And I think it was very helpful, too.
Minkyong: Well, our listeners can always stop by KoreanClass101.com and leave us comment or question. We’ll be there to answer.
Keith: And, please, remember to pick up our review track as this was the Pronunciation Series, these review tracks were specially designed to help our listeners gain proper pronunciation.
Minkyong: You can listen over and over until you perfect your pronunciation.
Keith: All right. Great job, Minkyong. Your Korean pronunciation is almost perfect. You need a little bit of work, though.
Minkyong: Ok. I’ll do my best.
Keith: You can stop by and pick up the review track. I’ll give you a discount.
Minkyong: Oh, really? Yay!
Keith: All right. So that’s going to do it. See you later.
Minkyong: 안녕히 계세요.