Korean Alphabet Learn the Hangul Letters d Character Sounds

เวลาปล่อย:2023-01-28 01:36

In this lesson, youre going toin only 30 minutes using visual associations, mnemonics, and stories.

That means you will be able to read the Korean alphabet letters A to Z and start sounding out Korean words anytime you see them. You may be surprised how often you see Korean characters!>

We also have a free PDF version of this Hangul Korean alphabet lesson that you can download here:

You can print it out and write your answers in the PDF.

Weve also got a Korean alphabet chart below that has audio samples. If you already know the alphabet, you can skip directly to the chart and practice your pronunciation and listening.

How many letters are in the Korean alphabet

Korean Double Consonants Pronunciation

Pronunciation of the Korean letters ㅅ and ㅆ

How to differentiate the Korean letters ㅐand ㅔ

The official writing system forSouth Koreais Hangul (한글), which is the name for theKorean Alphabet system. That means you can say Hangul and Korean alphabet interchangeably since they mean the same thing.

Korean is the official language of South Korea, and it uses Hangul as its alphabet and writing system. The same writing system is used in North Korea, which is called Joseongeul (조선글). Both South Korea and North Korea use the writing system created by King Sejong the Great.

Hangul in Koreanis 한글 (hangeul). Hangul is also written in English as Hangeul. There are two different ways of spelling the same word. Hangul is the most common way, and Hangeul is the newer way of writing it.

The wordHangulcomes from the Chinese character 㐎. Han means Korean, and gul means letter. Put them together, and youve got the term Korean letter, or Korean Alphabet.

The Korean alphabet system is mainly made up of Hangul letters. This is the system thats widely and officially used in both North and South Korea.

However, theres another system Koreans use for writing which is called Hanja. This system is made up of Chinese letters that are read with Korean pronunciation.

TheKorean alphabet pronunciationshares a lot of similarities with the English alphabet. That makes it easy to learn because you can use the pronunciation of English letters to learn the Korean alphabet pronunciation.

The Korean alphabet consists of consonants and vowels that form syllable blocks. These syllables can be sounded out just like words in English.

Below is a basicKorean Alphabet chartfor consonants and vowels. The Korean Alphabet chart is also known as the Hangul chart.

The first Korean alphabet chart, or Hangul chart, is theKorean consonants chart. Next to each of the consonants is the romanized spelling for that particular consonant. The spelling changes depending on whether the consonants are positioned at the start or the end of the syllable.

The romanization is only used for thespellingof the Korean word in English letters. If youre learning Korean, or want to know the correct pronunciation, then you should use the associations later in this lesson and learn the correct pronunciation of the Korean alphabet consonants.

The second Korean alphabet chart is theKorean vowels chart. Next to each of the vowels is the romanized spelling of each vowel. The spelling of the vowels is consistent and doesnt change. However, keep in mind that some people may spell Korean words in English letters using their own system.

To have a good pronunciation of the Hangul consonants and vowels, its best to use the associations below as a guide and learn how each letter is correctly pronounced.

TheKorean alphabet a to z,also known as Hangul, is a very scientific alphabet. Its one of the best writing systems for beginners to learn who dont know any Korean. Its also quite easy to write in Hangul since the letters follow a basic order.

Did you know that there are fewer letters in the Korean alphabet than there are letters in the English alphabet?

The Korean Alphabet has14 consonantsand10 vowels.

Unlike Japanese or Chinese, which have thousands of characters, and each can have 10, 15, or more strokes, the most complex Korean character in the alphabet can be written using onlyfive strokes. That makes learning both Hangul and Korean quite easy.

On top of this,the Korean languagehas agrammar structurethat can be mastered by understanding some basic rules.This makes Korean a great language for learning quickly and easily.

It all starts with knowing the Hangul (Korean alphabet) the basic building blocks of the language.

Hangul is a very scientific writing system. It was developed with precision in mind about 500 years ago by King Sejong the Great.  The Korean writing system before it was created used classical Chinese characters. Only those who are educated are able to read and write using the old Korean writing system. As a result, King Sejong wanted to give Koreans a practical way of reading and writing to promote literacy.

Throughout this page, well use the termsKorean letterandKorean characterinterchangeably. People tend to use them both when they learn Hangul, so you can use either one.

TheKorean alphabet orderis called 가나다 순 (ganada sun). The alphabetical order of the letters separates the consonants and vowels. The consonant letters come first, then the vowel letters.

In South Korea, the double consonant letters follow their single counterparts.

Below is a table for the Korean alphabet in order.

The Korean alphabet (Hangul) is made up of24 basic letters. It has 14 consonants and 10 vowels.

However, there are 38 letters in total in the Korean alphabet, including double consonants and vowel combinations.

This Korean alphabet lesson makes use ofpsychological techniquesto help make learning Hangul fun and easy. Namely, it usesassociations and storiesto help everything stick in your brain so you cant forget it.

This lesson covers theKorean alphabet A to Z, broken down and simplified so you canbegin speaking right away. There is audio tohelp your pronunciation with Hangul. The audio looks like this:

Hangul (the Korean Alphabet) has both consonants and vowels just like English.

Lets learn the consonants in the Korean alphabet to start.

First, lets take a look at the English alphabet. Instead of looking at the actual letters, lets just look at the sounds they make.

In doing so, we can find the closest equivalents in the Korean alphabet so that we can start to make associations to learn the Hangul letters.

In Korean, there are noF,R,V, orZsounds, so lets take them out.

The rest of the consonant sounds exist in the Korean language. However, theQ,W,XandYsounds must follow one of these two rules:

a) They only can be made by combining two or more sounds (ie., X = K+ S)

For example:TheXsound can be made by combining theKandSsounds (X=K+S).Try it now!

b) They cannot be made without adding a vowel sound after (ie., ya or yo)

For example:In Korean, we can create the soundsyaoryobut not the standaloneYsound.

So lets take these letters out too.

Finally, lets remove the English vowels since we are first focusing on the consonant sounds.

But we can groupCandKtogether since, in English, they make the same sound.

Lets take a look at those 12 letters of the alphabet first. Since were learning a new language and have never seen these shapes before, it will be very difficult for us just to memorize them. Therefore, we need to link the characters to something already in our minds in order to create an association.

Lets do this using a visual learning technique to associate the new letters with pictures and sounds we already know.

The first letter of the English word in the picture has the same sound as the corresponding Korean letter.

This will help to start to create associations with Hangul characters.

The Hangul letterㅂ, which has a sound similar toBin English, looks like abedwith a post at either end. Look for a yellow speaker icon followed by the word, and click on the yellow speaker. Heres an example:

Make this association in your mind. Write it down and commit it to memory.

Likewise, the Hangul letterㄷcould seem like a doorframe or the panels on adoor. Correspondingly, this letter makes the soundD.

The Korean consonantㄱhas the appearance of agunand sounds similar to an EnglishG. This Hangul letter is especially easy to write since its only two lines.

The same goes for the Hangul letterㅎ(H), which looks like a man with ahat. You can write this consonant as a circle with two lines above it.

And the consonantㅈ(J) which could be seen as ajugwith a spout at the top. You can write this Hangul letter a few different ways, so just become familiar with the overall shape of the letter.

Try creating the associations for these consonant letters now.

Next is the Hangul letterㄹ, which is written using 5 basic strokes and could be compared to the rungs of aladder. Its sound is most similar to an EnglishLand can be made the same way by pressing down with your tongue. This is a fun letter to write!

Finally, there are the Hangul lettersㅁ,ㄴ, andㅅ, which have the soundsM,N, andSrespectively.

Theㅁis a square box like a message on a phone or a piece ofmail. You can write this consonant like a rectangle.

The Hangul letterㄴpoints up and to the right like a compass pointing to thenorth(and theeastat the same time). You can write this letter in two lines.

The consonantㅅis like aseashellor clam, having only two strokes that slightly overlap. There are two different ways to write this Hangul letter, so just get used to the overall shape. Its basically just two lines.

Now well learn the aspirated consonants of the Korean alphabet. To do that, lets take a look at four of the consonant sounds we just learned.

Make each of these sounds now. B. D. G. J.

What if we made these consonants stronger, aspirating as we spoke them? What sound would we then make?

ForB, a more aspirated sound forcing out more air would makePsound.

How aboutD? It would result in aTsound. T. Try it now.

AndG? A K sound, like aCorK. In English, these two sounds are very similar. Try saying Ive got a cot five times.

Finally, if you aspirated aJ, it would result in a ch sound. Try saying cheap Jeep several times and youll notice how similar the sounds are.

Lets match up the non-aspirated English sounds with their aspirated sound pairings.

See how similar these sounds really are?

When we do the same in Korean, well see some visual similarities in the letters, which can help greatly for the memorization of Hangul characters.

Its almost as if all we did was add a small line to each of those consonants to create the aspirated equivalent.

The next four Korean letters are called the aspirated consonants and are similar in sound to their non-aspirated counterparts.

Lets make a visual association as well to really drill in these Hangul letters.

Theㅋ(K) could be compared to akey. You can write this Hangul letter using three lines.

And the Hangul letterㅌ, which has a T sound, could be associated withteeth(like the ones in your mouth or the teeth of a fork). You can write this similar to the English letter E.

Whats that number? Pi! And the Korean letter with a similar sound toPlooks very similar to the symbol forpi. That makes it easy to remember. If you know how to write pi, then youre good to go with this letter of the Korean alphabet!

So there we have it. Thats how you learn Hangul!

But we said there were a total of 14 consonants in the Korean alphabet, so what are the last two Hangul letters?

One of the consonants is special because it doesnt have a direct equivalent to an English letter. Instead, it represents a sound in English.

ㅊ, the character representing the ch sound in English (choose), looks like achurchwith a steeple at the top. We can associate this Hangul letter with a church. Alternatively, we can remember it as an aspiratedJ(ㅈ) and add an extra line.

Ok, so thats 13 Korean letters already! Youre more than halfway there.

The last consonant in Korean is really just a placeholder, and makes no sound by itself when placed in front of another character. Nonetheless, it is considered a consonant.

Just like in math, where we use the number 0 as aplaceholder, in Korean, the placeholder character (ㅇ) is a round shape that looks like a zero.

It acts as a placeholder and is silent most of the time. After you learn the Hangul vowels in the next part of this challenge and see them next to the placeholder character, youll know what sound to make based on the vowel.

However, if the placeholder character ends a particular syllable, it is pronounced ng like the -ing in English.

This is a very important rule to remember.Without it, we would be tempted just to skip over the consonant, assuming it had no sound.

This will be easier to understand later so its best to just make a note of it for now.

In Korean, there are ten basic Hangul vowels that you need to learn. They are the basic building blocks from which you can create all other vowel sounds.

But before we get into that, it will be helpful to do a basic review of English grammar.

In English, we have short and long vowel sounds.

All of these vowel sounds exist or can be made using Korean letters except for the shortIsound (this just doesnt exist in Korean and so is very difficult for Koreans to pronounce).

The letters for the vowels are all pretty easy to learn. No complex shapes here, just good ol lines!

The first four Hangul vowels well learn are horizontal or vertical lines with a perpendicular line in the middle facing in a particular direction. They look like this:

The only problem is that we need to remember which way the perpendicular line points and associate that character with the particular Hangul vowel sound.

Lets use a little bit of psychology to learn this part of the Korean alphabet.

First, memorize the following acronym:

A little fun fact: did you know the first iPod came out in 2001?

The iPad came out in 2010, making it comparatively new.

Now listen carefully to the vowel sound in each word.

Great! Lets go back to the acronym. Weve placed it on a timeline to represent when each gadget was released.

Recite Old iPod, new iPad working counterclockwise around the circle.

Now, all we need to do is line up the Hangul vowel letters with the corresponding sounds.

The letter with the line pointing up is old and has the longOsound.

The letter pointing to the left has a shortOsound like theOin iPod, while the letter pointing to the right has a shortAsound like theAin iPad.

Finally, the letter pointing down has a longUsound like the e-w in new.

Not too bad so far, right? Commit these vowels to memory and lets keep the momentum going!

Remember how we added an extra line to some of the consonants to change the sound and make it aspirated? Well, we can also add a line to the four vowels we just learned to create new sounds!

You may recall back to the beginning of this challenge when we explained how we couldnt create aYsound on its own. But we did say we could if we added a vowel sound after it!

Well, we can do just that when we add a line to each of the first four vowels. That way, we can simply learn four more of the vowels!

The Hangul vowels we have learned so far are:

We can now create the following alphabet sounds by just adding a second line:

So, once you learn the first four vowels, the second four are really easy. All you need to do is double up the line and remember to add aYsound in front.

Learn these characters and commit them to memory.

So, there are only ten Korean vowels and we already know eight of them.

Luckily, we saved the easiest two for last. The last two Hangul vowels are just lines as well one horizontal and the other vertical.

The hardest part is just remembering which of the Hangul letters makes which sound.

Luckily weve got some visual associations for that!

We love nature, and these two Hangul vowels do too.

The first one is the treevowel. It is so-called (at least by us) because its tall and straight!

Notice how the double e in tree creates the longEsound. The Korean character with the same sound (ㅣ) looks like a tree, making it easy to remember.

And the most picturesque landscapes are not complete without abrook. This next Hangul vowel is long and straight just like a brook!

Also, notice the sound the double o in brook makes. This is the same sound the final Korean vowel makes. This vowel (ㅡ) is just a horizontal line.

Just like English, you read Korean left to right, top to bottom.

However, the Hangul letters stick together, existing within small invisible boxes. Each one of these boxes can have up to four letters.

Each little box is considered a Korean syllable. You can also think of them as syllable blocks.

Instead of reading Hangul straight across as we do in English, we read one Korean syllable (or syllable block) at a time. Within each syllable, we read using the rule left to right, top to bottom. Then we move to the next syllable block. Thats all there is to it!

This is the Korean word for hello. It has 5 syllable blocks, and each syllable block has 2 or 3 Korean letters.

In the first two-syllable blocks, there are two Hangul letters on the top and one on the bottom. Following our rule of left to right, top to bottom, we would read in the order 1, 2, 3 as shown above.

The same goes for the second syllable. But remember, the placeholder character here is ending the syllable so it would have to be pronounced ng.

The third, fourth and fifth syllable blocks are more straightforward and are just read simply left to right.

So going syllable block by syllable block, could you determine which order we would read the characters in? Give it a try!

It would look like this if wewrote the numbers in. Now, if we use the associations we learned earlier we can pronounce the word!

The word sounds like an-nyeong-ha-se-yo when you read it correctly.

If youve gotten the associations with the Hangul consonants and vowels down pat in the previous sections, you can start to read some Korean words on your own.

Lets try it out. Give each one a try first, then check your answers below. Use the associations we made to help you out!

How would you pronounce the words written below? Try reading them aloud. Well write the pronunciations below using romanization so you can check them afterward!

For the first two, we would just read left to right.

1.kforkey+aas iniPad=ka. This is the Korean word meaning car.

2.nfornortheast+eoas iniPod=neo. This means you.

Now, for the third one, we just read left to right for the first syllable, then top to bottom for the second syllable.

3.bforbed+aas iniPadplusbforbed+oas inold=babo. This is the Korean word for fool. If you can read these words already, you are definitely not a 바보!

Now, remember the placeholder characterㅇthat doesnt make any sound if placed in front of a vowel? It exists for a special reason!

Syllables (or boxes) must always start with a consonant, and then have a vowel following it.

Lets do a quick recap of the Hangul consonants and vowels:

Hangul base consonants:ㅂㅈㄷㄱㅅㅁㄴㅇㄹㅎㅋㅌㅊㅍ

Theㅇis a consonant, so that means it can start a syllable. But remember that is silent when it does!

Lets try reading some more difficult words and we can practice this rule. If you get stuck, remember to ignore the placeholder if it exists before a vowel and just read top to bottom and left to right as you normally do!

Ready, lets go for Round 2! Look at the words written below. How would you pronounce the following?

How did it go? Did you remember all of the Hangul letters from the associations we made before?

4. Did you remember to ignore the placeholder? Good. For the first syllable,oas inold. Thennfornortheast+euas inbrook+lforladder. Romanized, it is written asoneul. 오늘 means today.

5.mformail+ias in treeplusgforgun+uas in new+gforgunagain. This word is written in romanized English asmiguk, and is the Korean word for U.S.A..

6.kforkey+eoas iniPodpluspfor pi +ias intree=keopi, the Korean word for coffee.

Congratulations! If you got these, then you are now able to read 6 vocabulary words in Korean (and many more!).

In the alphabet, strong double consonants also exist. They are called theKorean double consonants.

But the good news is that there is no need to learn any new characters to incorporate them into our skillset!

When you see a double consonant, all you need to do is slightly change the way you pronounce it by making it stronger.

Weve already associated an English consonant sound with each of the characters weve already learned, so with these, we just need to double that up.

There are only five of these tense double consonants, and here they are:

The ㄸ is the double ㄷ, so well keep the door association. The D sound will be pronounced stronger, like DD.

The ㅉ will use the same J sound as does the ㅈ, but it will be pronounced as a stronger JJ.

Well use the strong GG sound for ㄲ, as well as the gun association.

If you put two ㅂs next to each other, youll get ㅃ. We will use the bed association. It will b pronounced using the strong BB sound.

The ㅆ is like two seashells next to each other. The sound is pronounced similarly to a strong SS.

To pronounce double consonants correctly, all you need to do is tense up your tongue and pronounce the sound with a little more force. Just double it up!

For example, lets take the double consonant ㅃ. For a moment, imagine a bus was coming quickly and your friend was standing in the middle of the street.

You might yell BUS really loudly to give your friend a warning!

Thatbsound when youyellthe word would be more similar to thebbsound of the character ㅃ.

The same goes for the other tensedoubleconsonants.For example:

The tough part is making the pronunciation distinction. The twin consonant is basically the same as the single consonant, except its said with emphasis. Here is a list of the single consonant sounds, their twin counterparts, and the pronunciation:

Above, we have gone over the Korean consonants and their double consonant counterpart, but it might be tricky to tell their difference at first.

Heres a video that will teach you how to pronounce the Korean letters ㅅ and ㅆ to help you differentiate them easier.How to Pronounce the Korean Letters: ㅅ and ᄊ (시옷 vs 쌍시옷)>

If you were going to say the word 상 in Korean, then it would sound like sang.

If you were going to say the word 쌍 in Korean, then it would sound like ssang.

The difference is in the emphasis and the strength of the s sound. The twin consonants sound almost aggressive because they are so sharp.

If you followed the lesson above to learn Hangul, then you have learned the majority of the Korean alphabet characters. You know the base consonants and vowels, which are the most important.

Hangul base consonants:ㅂㅈㄷㄱㅅㅁㄴㅇㄹㅎㅋㅌㅊㅍ

In addition to these Hangul letters, there are also 11 additional vowel combinations. These are combinations of the base Hangul vowels you see above.

The first Hangeul vowel is  written as a combination ofㅓ(iPod) + ㅣ (tree) = ㅔ (egg). If you say the o sound from iPod and the ee sound from tree together very quickly, it becomes the e fromegg.

The combined ㅓ+ㅣ doesnt exactly sound likee, but they are similar. Alternatively, you can skip the sound blending and try to remember this one as egg. Whatever works best for you!

The second Hangeul vowel combination is written the same as the first, except that were starting with ㅏ instead of ㅓ. Blend together iPad and tree and you getegg, the same sound as with ㅔ above.

Even though the pronunciation is the same, the romanization spelling is different. It is done that way, so if you see the spelling in English, you know which egg is used to spell the word in Korean.

Before we head on to the rest of the Korean vowel combinations, you can watch the video below first for a more detailed explanation of the difference betweenㅐand ㅔ.

How do I differentiate between the Korean letters ㅐ and ㅔ?>

This next Hangeul vowel looks very similar to the ㅔ, except the first of the vowels is written as ㅕ. That means well add they sound to the beginning. This vowel combination sounds like the beginning of the wordyes.

The first part of this Hangeul vowel combination can be seen as the character ㅑ (ya sound) with the characterㅣ (ee sound in tree) written after it. It also sounds like the beginning ofyes.

The Hangeul vowel ㅢ has roots in the ㅡ + ㅣ, so its quite fun to say. Its a unique sound, and you need to pronounce it quickly to get right.

Blend together the sound ㅡ (brook) + ㅣ (tree) and youll get ㅢ (gooey). Imagine saying chop suey really fast.

For this Hangul vowel combination, the sound is wa. It is similar to the beginning of the word waffle. It is written as a combination of the two Korean alphabet letters ㅗ and ㅏ.

This Hangeul vowel combination makes the sound that sounds like the beginning of the word wedding. It is written by combining the two Korean alphabet letters ㅗ and ㅐ.

This Hangul vowel combination is pronounced the same as ㅙ, from above. It sounds like wedding. It is written by putting together the Korean alphabet letters ㅗ and ㅣ.

If you combine the two Korean alphabet letters ㅜ and ㅣ, then you get ㅟ. This Hangul vowel combination sounds like the beginning of the word week.

This combination of Hangul vowels makes a sound like the beginning of the word won. It is written by combining the Korean alphabet letters ㅜ  and ㅓ.

When you combine the two Korean alphabet letters ㅜ + ㅔ, you get 웨. This Hangul vowel combination has a sound that is the same as the beginning of wedding.

The pronunciation of some of the Korean vowel combinations is exactly the same. These vowel combinations can be tricky because they dont follow as structured of patterns as the rest of the consonants and vowels.

We recommend coming up with associations that resonate well with you. You may also want to try our Hangeul Made Easy course, which is included inside of90 Day Korean membership. Inside the members area, we have a full step-by-step course on Hangul, as well as a structuredonline Korean coursethat will teach you how to have a 3-minute conversation in the first 90 days.

Its pretty amazing, isnt it? Youre already well on your way toward learning the Korean Alphabet!

We wanted to make things super easy for you to print out and study, so weve created a downloadableKorean Alphabet Reading PDF lessonfor you to continue the 90 Minute Challenge toward learning how to read in Korean. It also contains some written activities so you can practice what youve learned.

Get the free Hangul lesson here, and youll be reading Hangul everywhere you go!

Each one of the Korean Alphabet consonants and vowels has a name. Well cover thenames of the Korean lettershere in this chart of the alphabet letters so you can learn them easily.

Below is a list of the letter names of the Korean consonants.

Weve provided the English romanizations of the letters in the alphabet letter chart. However, they should only be used as a guide. Your pronunciation will be much more accurate if you learn the Hangul characters instead of relying on the romanized spelling.

The vowel names are the sounds they make. Below is the alphabet letter chart for vowels.

The names of the Korean alphabet letters (Korean vowels and consonants) are really useful when you want to spell out words, or if someone is explaining the spelling of a word. If youre not sure of the spelling, ask for the syllables to be read slowly, one by one. If youre not sure about the spelling of a syllable, say the characters in the syllable one by one and ask for confirmation.

Now that you know how to read Korean, lets talk abouthow to write in Korean. You can put to use what you already learned with the Hangul writing system.

First, well talk about how to write Korean letters individually.

Then once you have some practice with the Korean letters by themselves, well go more into learning to writeKorean wordsandsentences.

Just like the English alphabet, the Hangul writing system also has aletter order (stroke order). While you can get by without it, taking the time to practice will help speed up your Korean writing abilities. Its also helpful to learn to write the Korean Alphabet letters if youre going to travel to or live in Korea.

For example, here is how to learn the stroke order for ㄱ:

Try putting your skills to the test by writing Korean words that you hear in Hangeul. You can even practicewriting your name in Hangeulby sounding it out!

If you want to get good at Korean writing, then youll need to know the syllable structure.

Each Korean syllable is made up of at least one consonant and one vowel. Its possible to have multiple consonants as well. There will only be a single vowel, but that vowel may be one of the vowel combinations.

Korean syllable blocks can contain 2, .

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