Friday, September 21, 2012

Learning the alphabet!

It's time for the Alphabet song!

No not that one. This one:

  ㄱ        ㄴ       ㄷ      ㄹ     ㅁ         ㅂ       ㅅ         ㅇ    
kiyok    niun    tikut   riul   mium   piup    siot      iung    
(g, k)      (n)     (d, t)    (r, l)   (m)    (b, p)    (s, sh)    (ng)    

  ㅈ       ㅊ     ㅋ       ㅌ     ㅍ       ㅎ
 jiut   ch'iut   k'iuk   t'iut   pp'iup   hiut
(j, ch)   (ch)      (k)     (t)      (p)    (h, ng)

The above letters are consonants of the Korean alphabet. The first row, as you can see, is a Korean letter. The second row is the name of the letter. The third row is the sound it makes either at the beginning or end of the word. For example, 곡 is pronounced "gok" (We will get to the vowels later). Notice how the character is is starting with ㄱ and ending with ㄱ with a vowel in between. That's what the parentheses mean.

For more understanding on how to pronounce correctly, here is Professor Oh!

When you read Hangul, you will see three characters put together in a block. It never starts with a vowel. It can hold two or three letters, but never one. In fact, in the word "receipt", the p is silent. So, when you hear "annong haysaeyo" you'll think, wait, it starts with a vowel. That's where ㅇ comes in. If you didn't watch the video I linked, you should go to 6:30 to see her pronouncing it. Didn't hear it? That's why... It's silent at the beginning. When ㅇ is at the end, it's not silent. Professor Oh has started the vowels, so that should give you a head start on the vowels, which will be posted next!


  1. The "subtle" sounds for the consonants in the video sure are tricky. Several sound like the ones later on (kiyok vs k'iuk for example). But in the full symbol you put (gok)...are the symbols from each consonant and vowel in a certain order (top to bottom, left to right, etc?)

  2. The organization of the characters in a block depends on the vowel. I will post more helping your understanding! Please await my next blog post. :)

    PS: To answer, it is always read consonant, vowel, consonant (Sometimes it ends in a vowel, sometimes it starts with a double consonant.)

    As for the difference between kiyok and k'iut, it's more emphasis on the K. Kiyok is more of a soft "kuh" and k'iut is a hard "kuh".