Word pronounciation

Like any other language, sometimes there are exceptions to the way the word is pronounced. Korean in itself has a few exceptions in that it is not pronounced exactly like how the individual word is written. In this article, we will cover some common sound assimilation while the specific ones we will mention it as the form appears later on.

Before you go on to this article, please make sure you master all the content in “hangeul” article and make sure you remember clearly the sound of the vowels exactly because i will follow that romanisation which will not necessarily sound  like what it sounds if you say it the “english” way.

We first want to discuss about words that end with consonant (eg. ㄱ,ㅈ,ㄷ,ㄹ… etc). There are generally two main situations for this.

Situation 1: Ending of first word  is a consonant(s) and next word begins with a consonant

Examples of this form are 맞다 (ending of first word is consonant [ㅈ] and beginning of following word is also consonant [ㄷ]) ;  있다 (ending of first word is consonant [ㅆ] and the beginning of following word is also consonant [ㄷ]); though it doesn’t have to have a “다” to qualify.

Most of the time, the consonant are given a “t” sound when the preceeding word starts with consonant too. **

**NOTE: with exceptions to ㄱ,ㄷ,ㅂ,ㅁ,ㄴ,ㅇ,ㄹ,ㅎ,ㅍ,

Example: 맞다 is pronounced as (mat-da) but the “d” is given a strong emphasis.

                 있다 is pronounced as (it-da) but the “d” is given strong emphasis.

For those exceptions stated, (excluding ㄹ), they are pronounced as usual to what the hangeul sound is.

Example:  눈물  is pronounced as (nun-mul) with the letter “n” (ㄴ)and letter “m”(ㅁ)  pronounced as usual

For a consonant end with ㄹ, generally it is pronounce as “l” as an ending, not “r”

Example: 빨리 is pronounced as (pal-ri) though in this case cause its a “ㄹ” and “ㄹ” its a strong emphasis the “lr” part.

I noticed something in when studying korean is that a word like 못해 where the second word begins with “ㅎ” makes the ㅎ sound of it weak relatively to whatever the the consonant which comes before it. Usually the sound of the consonant which comes before it will take control, and in the case of 못해 the ending with ㅅ (as ending pronounced as “t”) will rule over ㅎ causing it to be pronounced as (mot-tae) instead of (mot-hae). This may not be the case in every ㅎ, but just keep this in mind.

Situation 2: Ending of first word  is consonant(s) and next word begins with a vowel or double vowel

NOTE: “y”+ vowels kind is NOT included. if its a “y”+vowel, it’ll be pronounced separately

Example of this form: 있어 (first word end with consonant [ㅆ] and preceeding word starts with a vowel [ㅓ])**;  남은 (first word end with consonant [ㅁ] and preceeding word starts with vowel [ㅡ] )

These happens like 99% of the time. In these cases, the ending consonant of the first word will “overflow” and be assimilated to the following vowel.

Lets just show you what I mean with some examples.

Eg. 사랑이  is pronounced as (sa-rangi) with the “ng” or 랑 word overflows to the “i” sound of  이 causing it to be “rangi” instead of  separately”rang + i”

 Eg. For case of 있어, because the preceeding word starts with vowel [ㅓ],  the ending consonant will not be a “t” sound anymore like in situation 1 above, instead it returns to its original sound which is “ss” and overflows to the sound of vowel. Therefore it’s sound is “is-seo” and NOT “it-eo” / “iss + eo”

 This too applies to words which ends with two consonants. In this case the consonant that will “overflow” to the next vowel will be the last one (on the right, second row).

Eg. 없어  has two ending consonants which is ㅂ and ㅅ. The consonant that overflows to the vowel is ㅅ. Thus it will be pronounced as “eob-seo”, NOT  “eobs+eo”/”eot+eo”



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