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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Korean Pronunciation Guide.
Since we've mastered vowels, we're going to start learning how to pronounce Korean consonants.
In this lesson, we'll take a look at the consonants that make nasal sounds. Here's the first consonant.
ㄴ / (slow) ㄴ
This sounds exactly the same as the letter 'n.' The shape of this character shows where your tongue needs to be placed. Make sure the tip of your tongue touches the lower part of your top teeth when reading this character. Listen to the Korean word for "I"
나 / (slow) 나
As you see here, a Korean consonants always come with a vowel.
Now, listen to an example word that has this letter on the bottom.
The next consonant is...
ㅁ / (slow) ㅁ
This is pronounced like the letter 'M'. Here's a Korean name with this sound.
미나 / (slow) 미나
Are you able to say it correctly? The pronunciation of the first two consonants is very straightforward.
Here's one more word that has this letter at the bottom.
The next consonant is...
ㄹ / (slow) ㄹ
You can say it similar to an 'R', but your tongue should hit the roof of your mouth.
Here's an example.
라마 / (slow) 라마
Did you hear a clicking sound on the first syllable?
In English, you barely touch your tongue when reading R or L sound. But in Korean, your tongue should hit the roof of your mouth.
Listen to the example word again.
라마 / (slow) 라마
When it's placed at the bottom, you can say it like you'd say 'L' in English. But make sure your tongue touches the roof of the mouth. Here's an example.
날 / (slow) 날
When you say 'L' in English, your tongue touches your teeth. But in Korean, you should move your tongue to the roof of your mouth instead. Listen to the sample word one more time.
날 / (slow) 날
Got it? This is a unique pronunciation to Korean, so keep practicing!
The next consonant is..
ㅎ / (slow) ㅎ
It sounds the same as the letter H. Listen to an example word.
하하 / (slow) 하하
Can you guess what it means? It's the sound of laughing in Korean. Women sometimes laugh in another way. Let's hear that sound.
호호 / (slow) 호호
Now, look at the last consonant.
This letter is different from the rest because it has two pronunciations. Here's the first way to say it.
ㅇ (ng) / (slow) ㅇ (ng)
When this consonant is placed on the bottom, it sounds like 'ng'. Make sure you don't touch the tip of your tongue anywhere in your mouth when you read this letter. Instead, it should be suspended in the empty space in your mouth. Here, listen to an example.
랑 / (slow) 랑
But when it's placed on the top, it doesn't make any sound, like in this word.
아이 / (slow) 아이
In Korean, each syllable needs to have at least one consonant letter, but when you need only a vowel sound you can use this letter as a place holder.
Now, I'll show you a word. See if you can read it correctly.
Did you get it? Now, listen to the native pronunciation.
응 / (slow) 응
The first one worked as a place holder and the second one had an 'ng' sound. Korean words never start with an 'ng' sound, so make sure you don't read the letter on the top that way!
In Korean, every consonant has a name. Before we close the lesson, let's hear the names of the consonants we learned today.
니은
미음
리을
히흫
이응
Did you catch the pattern? Each consonant's name begins and ends with itself!
Practice these sounds, because in the next lesson, you'll master the next set of consonants. How confident are you about your pronunciation of double vowels? Tell us about it in the comments. See you in the next Ultimate Korean Pronunciation Guide lesson!

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KoreanClass101.com
Friday at 6:30 pm
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What do you think about these Korean consonants? Are they difficult to pronounce for you?

Lyn
Thursday at 11:39 am
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Hi Joshua,


Thanks for posting. Unfortunately there is no equivalent sound in English for the consonant ㄹ, as it is actually a sound that is between a 'r' and 'l' sound. Practice makes perfect though, so please listen to how it is actually pronounced (rather than the romanization) and practice saying it out loud!


Cheers,

Team KoreanClass101.com

Joshua McKInney
Thursday at 7:44 am
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The consonant ㄹ is a difficult for me to pronounce. It sounds like L in English, and Rama sounds like Lama to me.

KoreanClass101.comVerified
Tuesday at 10:52 pm
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Hi Tortoise789,


Thank you for posting. Each consonant has its own 'name'--ㄱ=기역(giyeok), ㄴ=니은(nieun), however, when they are used with in the syllabic block, they take on the initial sound--ㄱ would take on the 'g' sound and ㄴ would take on the 'n' sound.


Hope this is of help. Please let us know if you have any other inquiries!


Best,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Tortoise789
Monday at 12:27 pm
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Hi,


I got a question about the ㄴ sound. When i was watching another video titled comparing English and Korean consonants, the speaker pronounced ㄴas Nieun , which sounded quite different from what i am hearing in the video. Which is the correct one? Thank you for the amazing lessons!

KoreanClass101.comVerified
Monday at 9:35 pm
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Hi Tobias,


Thanks for posting.

According to the batchim rules, the batchim sound that comes before the consonant 'ㅇ' will take the position of the 'ㅇ' sound, meaning that 칠월 will actually sound like 치뤌(chi-rwol).

And usually, when the consonant 'ㄹ' is used as a batchim (words that end with a consonant), it usually sounds closer to the 'L' sound, rather than the 'R' sound (although technically, it is neither the 'L' or 'R' sound but somewhere in between). When it is used in the front of a syllable, it is pronounced as its original sound, which is between the 'R' and 'L' sound.

Hope this made sense. Please let us know if you have any other inquiries.


Best,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Tobias
Monday at 4:31 am
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Hi


I got a question about the ㄹsound. In the word july (칠월) the first ㄹsounds much more than an R and the second one like an L.

Why is that?

Thank you for this amazing site. ?

KoreanClass101.comVerified
Monday at 10:07 pm
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Hi Mia,


Glad to hear that our lesson was beneficial to your Korean studies!

Study hard and please let us know if you have any questions along the way.


Best,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Mia
Saturday at 9:36 am
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Yes. This is helpful. It helped me so much and I love how they told me the name of the consonant in the end.

KoreanClass101.comVerified
Thursday at 9:13 am
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벤씨 안녕하세요,


Thank you for posting. Many people have problems pronouncing he consonant ㄹ initially as there is no equivalent to its pronunciation in the English language. Just remember to practice practice practice, so that you can get the hang of it! :thumbsup:


Cheers,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Wednesday at 9:25 am
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The one letter I seem to have the most difficulty with is the ㄹ. I like the way this video explains the placement of the tongue and has the little graphic demonstrating it. Hopefully I can use these tips to improve my pronunciation of the letter.