Friday, June 27, 2008

Korean Primer, Part the Second

Let's play with consonants.

The first thing to realize about Korean is that certain consonants are closer to others than in English. Wow. What a terrible sentence. Patience, please.

I think, if you were to ask most people what letter "B" is most similar to, they would respond with "D". How about "G"? I think most people would say "J", because of the way English is formed.

In the Korean language, there are a few sounds that are something of a "sliding scale" phonetically, and they share written letters. For instance, make the "G" sound (guh) and then make a "K" sound (kuh) and notice how similar they are when being formed. The same goes for "B" and "P", "G" and "K", "J" and "ch". That's about all there is difficulty-wise for Korean consonants.

ㅁ ㄴ ㅎ ㄹ ㅇ

These letters are M, N, H, L, and ng (as in "well-huNG"). They are exactly the same as English.

ㅂ ㅅ ㅈ ㄷ ㄱ

These letters are "sliding scale" and they are B, S, J, D, and G

ㅃ and ㅍ, ㅆ, ㅊ and ㅉ, ㄸ and ㅌ, ㅋ and ㄲ

If you say them a bit "harder" they sound like this. P, ss, ch, T and K. This is the kind've the dumbed-down version of how these sounds work, but that's the gist of it.
Post a Comment