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Lesson Transcript

Minkyong: 안녕하세요. 민경입니다.
Keith: 안녕하세요. Keith입니다. How’s my pronunciation?
Minkyong: It’s ok.
Keith: Ok. Wait, hold on. Let me try again. 안녕하세요. Keith, 키스입니다.
Minkyong: I like the first one better.
Keith: Well, welcome to KoreanClass101.com, Korean Pronunciation Series Part One. This pronunciation series has been designed to help you understand the fundamentals and the characteristics of the sounds in Korean, so that you can understand and speak Korean better. So, today we have Part One and we’re going to take a look at some sounds that seem similar in Korean and in English, but they’re not really similar.
Minkyong: Finally, a lot of our listeners has been waiting for this, right?
Keith: Yes, there’s been a lot of requests for a pronunciation series, so, we’ve delivered.
Minkyong: And, also, I think many of our listeners have improved a lot over the course of time.
Keith: Yes, listeners really, really like to study, not like you, 민경. No, you like studying though, right?
Minkyong: Yes.
Keith: Kind of?
Minkyong: Kind of.
Keith: All right. But, on the other hand instead of studying, learning new expressions and remembering is very good, but what happens if you’re not pronouncing it very accurately?
Minkyong: I think if your pronunciation isn’t accurate it is difficult to communicate really well even when you know the phrase.
Keith: Yes, that’s exactly what we thought of, and that’s why we thought it’s time we put together our pronunciation series. An absolute beginner can build a strong, basic skill for Korean pronunciation or if you’re already at a certain level, too, you can certainly benefit from this lesson, too. There might be some details that you’ve been missing out on, more accurate pronunciation means as 민경 said, better comprehension skills.
Minkyong: After this pronunciation series I guess our listeners will sound much, much more fuller in Korean with the same vocabulary level.

Lesson focus

Keith: All right. So, our pronunciation series is composed of five parts. Today, the sounds that seem similar but are actually different in Korean and English. And, since this lesson focuses on pronunciation, it’s advised to listen to the audio track of this lesson, while or after reading the lesson notes. All right. So, let’s get right to it. What are we going to look at first or rather, what are we going to hear and pronounce first?
Minkyong: ㄴ.
Keith: And “n.”
Minkyong: ㄷ.
Keith: And “d.”
Minkyong: ㅌ.
Keith: And “t.”
Minkyong: ㄹ.
Keith: And that one is “l” and “r.”
Minkyong: A lot of people think they’re just the same sounds.
Keith: Yes, actually they’re not and this is the reason that romanization can’t express the sounds of Korean 100% accurately. All right. So, let’s have a look at these pairs one by one. Now, before we get into all the examples, the phenomenon, the reason behind the basic difference between ㄴ and “n”, the English “n”, ㄷ and “d” and ㅌ and “t”, they’re all basically the same. So, we’ll try to go over as many examples as possible to give you an idea how you might sound, and how you might not want to sound. And, I think some of you, listeners, might find this lesson a little funny and I think, 민경, you’ll find this lesson funny, too, because really try hard to have a really bad Korean accent.
Minkyong: Ok.
Keith: Well, I mean the… I think… not to make fun of anybody, but it’s a good way to compare how it should sound and how it shouldn’t sound.
Minkyong: That’s a good idea.
Keith: All right. So, let’s start with ㄴ. What’s… 민경, can you give me the most commonly used word that has ㄴ in it?
Minkyong: 나.
Keith: And, this is different from when you read the sound “na” in English.
Minkyong: The reason they’re different is because the sounds are made at different locations in the mouth although they sound similar.
Keith: Yes, exactly. When “n” is pronounced, the English “n”, the tongue touches the ridge immediately behind the upper teeth. And, it’s getting a little linguistical, I guess, if that’s even a word, but for the Korean ㄴ, when that’s pronounced, the tongue goes between the upper and lower teeth. Kind of like the “th” in English, but not so pronounced, I guess. So, a lot of times, a lot of listeners mistake ㄴ for ㄷ, when it comes at the beginning of a word.
Minkyong: For example, when we say 누구 some people hear 두구.
Keith: Yes. And, I think the reason is because of the position of the teeth. All right. So, let’s look at some words containing ㄴ. So, 민경 will say the Korean words and I’ll pronounce them in the English really bad Korean accent way.
Minkyong: 나.
Keith: Na.
Minkyong: 내일.
Keith: Naeil.
Minkyong: 누나.
Keith: Nuna.
Minkyong: 나이.
Keith: Nai.
Minkyong: 누구.
Keith: Nugu. And, if you noticed there, the English version, the “n” kind of sounds a little longer, it’s a little more elongated, isn’t it?
Minkyong: Yes, yes, yes. It does sound longer and…
Keith: Yes, and a lot of people may not know this, but the Korean consonants or the Korean sounds are actually much more abrupt. They stop a lot quicker and the air that you breathe, it kind of gets stopped a lot quicker, more abruptly, than it does in English. So, that’s a reason is should sound longer in English, but shorter in Korean. So, can we have a sample sentence using a lot of words that have the sound ㄴ? And this is kind of a tongue twister, so good luck, 민경.
Minkyong: Ok. 나는 내일 누나하고 놀 거야.
Keith: Can we hear that one more time?
Minkyong: 나는 내일 누나하고 놀 거야.
Keith: All right. And, let me try with a really bad Korean accent. Naneun naeil nunahago nol geoya. Yes, that was pretty tough for me to do, to be honest. Probably took about four or five different tries, but… Yes, you know, I think it’s a good way to compare in contrast the way it should sound and the way it shouldn’t sound. So, let’s go with the next focus, our pronunciation focus number two. What are we going to focus on?
Minkyong: ㄷ and d.
Keith: Yes, even that “d” that you just said right now, it sounded different and I think it’s because of the position of the tongue in your mouth.
Minkyong: Oh, maybe.
Keith: So, when “d” is pronounced, the tongue, once again, it reaches the ridge immediately behind the upper teeth. Once again, it’s the same phenomenon as the ㄴ that we just went over. But, in Korean, when ㄷ is pronounced, the tongue goes between the upper and lower teeth, just like “th” is pronounced in English, and just like we went over with ㄴ. And, this difference is one of the reasons that even a very fluent speaker of Korean can sound like a foreigner, because of this ㄷ. And, just like we mentioned, Korean sounds are much more abrupt. When you say “n” or “d” in English, you kind of prepare for the sound and say, like you prepare for “now”. “Now.” But, in Korean, it’s just very short. Can you say “now” with a very Korean accent?
Minkyong: 나우.
Keith: Well, the vowels different, of course, but if you noticed the ㄴ there, it’s very short. So, if you kind of prepare for the sound and then you say it, then it might sound a little off. So, in Korean, remember, it’s much more abrupt and the consonant part is shorter. All right. So, let’s move on to words containing ㄷ.
Minkyong: 돌, 둘, 다시, 대학교, 도시.
Keith: And we’re not going to get into the meanings in this audio file, but they are in the PDF, so remember to stop by KoreanClass101.com and pick up the lesson notes. All right. So, let’s compare these words with ㄷ with the English “d” and once again, I’m going to try really hard to sound really bad.
Minkyong: 돌.
Keith: Dol.
Minkyong: 둘.
Keith: Dul.
Minkyong: 다시.
Keith: Dasi.
Minkyong: 대학교.
Keith: Daehakgyo.
Minkyong: 도시.
Keith: Dosi. And, yes, if you noticed and, 민경, did you notice, what is the difference between you and me?
Minkyong: You’re making it longer and you kind of stretch the sound.
Keith: Yes, well, I’m obviously trying harder to do that, but, you know, once again, I’m exaggerating, but when you do it quickly you can also realize it, too, like dul, dol, dul. Instead of that, it’s much more shorter. And remember to put your tongue in between your teeth. So, 돌, 둘.
Minkyong: So, let’s make a sentence with ㄷ.
Keith: Ok. You’re the Korean speaker.
Minkyong: Ok. 이 도시에는 대학교가 두 개 있어요.
Keith: And, for me, i dosieneun daehakgyoga du gae isseoyo. Hopefully our listeners will be able to hear the difference and of course, once again, I’m exaggerating. All right. Let’s move on to our pronunciation focus number three. What are we focusing on?
Minkyong: ㅌ and t.
Keith: And, once again, this is the same phenomenon as the last two ㄴ and ㄷ. Once again, what happens, where do you put your tongue when you say this in Korean? ㅌ?
Minkyong: Between the upper and lower teeth.
Keith: And, in English, when you say “t”, it touches the top of your mouth, the ridge immediately behind your upper teeth. So, it’s a different placement. Your tongue is placed differently. So, let’s take some words containing ㅌ. And, before we get into the words that we want to go over really quickly, in Korean ㅌ is more blocked, the air in your mouth, when it comes out of your mouth it’s blocked more than when you say a “t” in English. 민경, practice with me right now. Let’s do “t”s in English, so, the number two.
Minkyong: “Two.”
Keith: See? But, you didn’t have much air coming out of your mouth. If I say “two”, “two”, it’s a lot of air. So, that’s one of the bigger differences between ㅌ and “t.” All right. So, let’s go into our couple of examples.
Minkyong: 태양, 토지, 오타, 외투, 타다.
Keith: All right. And now, once again, we’re going to compare with the English “t”. And remember, more air comes out of your teeth when you say the English version, the “t”, but in Korean it’s much more abrupt, not so much air. So, remember to listen for that. All right. Let’s go.
Minkyong: 태양.
Keith: Taeyang.
Minkyong: 토지.
Keith: Toji.
Minkyong: 오타.
Keith: Ota.
Minkyong: 외투.
Keith: Oetu.
Minkyong: 타다.
Keith: Tada. Were you able to hear the air coming out of my mouth?
Minkyong: Yes.
Keith: I did it so strong, you can probably feel it, right?
Minkyong: Yes.
Keith: All right. So, let’s go over a sample sentence using ㅌ.
Minkyong: 태양이가 외투를 입고 오토바이를 타고 있어요.
Keith: And, the really bad Korean pronunciation version, so you can compare. Taeyangiga oetureul ipgo otobaireul tago isseoyo. Remember, once again, I’m exaggerating this and, 민경, were you able to hear the difference?
Minkyong: Yes, yes. I can find some differences.
Keith: All right. So, let’s move on to our next one. What are we taking a look at? It’s not the most difficult sound in Korean, but for some people it is, so which one are we taking a look at?
Minkyong: ㄹ.
Keith: And, a lot of people relate this to the English “r” and “l.” In Korean, the sounds “r” and “l” are considered to come from the same underlying sound which is represented by the 한글 ㄹ.
Minkyong: There’s no differences in “r” and “l” in 한글. It’s all ㄹ.
Keith: Exactly. So, a lot of Korean people have a lot of trouble when they’re learning English to see the difference between “r” and “l”.
Minkyong: Yes.
Keith: So, getting into a little bit of linguistics, I’m not a linguist, so… Getting into a little bit, when we pronounce “l” at the end of words in English, there’s some tension in the back of the mouth making the “l” dark, kind of, that your tension in the back of your mouth. However, in Korean, the “l” sound should not be pronounced with any other tension in the back of your mouth. This makes, kind of, like “light.” It’s not in the back of your mouth “light.” So, remember, where to not put the tension, it’s not in the back of your mouth. All right. So, let’s look at some words containing ㄹ.
Minkyong: 라디오.
Keith: And, this one’s kind of, it’s kind of got this rolling “r” feel in English. Not as strong as the Spanish, like rrrr, it’s not like that, but it’s close. It’s not strong, but it’s somewhat similar to that rrrr sound.
Minkyong: A little bit, yes…
Keith: A little, a little. I think your tongue, you can relate that position when you’re speaking Korean. All right. So, we had 라디오, and what do we have next?
Minkyong: 미래, 우리, 콜라, 파랑.
Keith: All right. Now, let’s compare this sound with the English “r.” First we have?
Minkyong: 라디오.
Keith: Ladio or radio.
Minkyong: 미래.
Keith: Mirae.
Minkyong: 우리.
Keith: Uri.
Minkyong: 콜라.
Keith: Kola.
Minkyong: 파랑.
Keith: Parang. All right. So, how about we have a sample sentence?
Minkyong: 우리는 라디오를 들으면서 콜라를 마셔요.
Keith: And, with a really bad Korean pronunciation. Urineun radioreul deureumyeonseo kollareul masyeoyo. Wow. Ok, I think we’re finished and to be honest that was a really tough lesson, though.
Minkyong: Yes, it was one of the most difficult lessons we ever had.
Keith: Yes, I think so, too, but I also think it’s one of the most important lessons as well.
Minkyong: That’s right.
Keith: So, next week we’re doing it all over again. Are you excited?
Minkyong: Yes. I’m so excited.
Keith: Now, you’ve learned a lot from this, too, didn’t you?
Minkyong: I know, I learned about how to speak correct English.
Keith: Not correct Korean because you already speak correct Korean.
Minkyong: Yes.
Keith: Correct English.
Minkyong: Yes.


Keith: Well, hopefully our listeners have been able to practice their pronunciation and also remember to stop by KoreanClass101.com. There we have a review track where we have all the words that came out in this lesson, so you can practice after the native Korean speaker. All right. So, that’s going to do it. Remember to stop by KoreanClass101.com. And 민경, help us out.
Minkyong: Leave us a post. 포스트 남겨 주세요.
Keith: Bye bye.
Minkyong: 안녕.