Proper pronunciation is a vital skill you need to master if you want to be easily understood in any language. As in all other languages in the world, there are a quite a few Korean pronunciation rules you need to keep in mind. Time to start exploring a few because without them, people might not know what you are talking about . In this post we are going to see three pronunciation rules.
Before we start, however, I believe we need to agree on a few conventions to make sure everyone understands what is written. When something is written between square brackets, it represents the pronunciation of the word; not its spelling. Letter between square brackets as well represent a pronunciation not a spelling. Keep that in mind when reading the articles on Korean pronunciation rules.
Korean Pronunciation Rule: [ㅂ] + ㄴ > [ㅁ] + ㄴ
The first Korean pronunciation rule we will discuss is: [ㅂ] + ㄴ > [ㅁ] + ㄴ. According this rule when a syllable ending in a [ㅂ] pronounced batchim is followed by a syllable starting with a ㄴ, the otherwise [ㅂ] pronounced consonant is pronounced as [ㅁ] instead. Please note that this goes for syllables with a [ㅂ] pronounced ending; not just syllables ending in a ㅂ batchim.
[pullquote-right]This rule goes for syllables with a [ㅂ] pronounced ending, not only when there is a ㅂ batchim.[/pullquote-right]
Let’s see a few examples:
- 십 년 : [심년]
- 돕는 : [돔는]
- 재미없는 : [재미엄는]
Korean Pronunciation Rule: [ㄷ] + ㅎ > [ㅌ]
The next pronunciation rule is: [ㄷ] + ㅎ > [ㅌ]. This rule tells us that when a syllable ending with a [ㄷ] pronunciation is followed by one starting with a ㅎ; the batchim of the earlier syllable and the ㅎ combine to be pronounced as [ㅌ] in the second syllable. As with the previous rule, this rules goes for all syllables with a batchim pronounced as [ㄷ], not just those with a ㄷ as a batchim.
[pullquote-right]This rule applies to all syllables with a [ㄷ] pronounced syllable, not just those with a ㄷ batchim.[/pullquote-right]
A few examples:
- 깨끗해요 : [깨끄태요]
- 밭하고 논 : [바타고 논]
- 못해요 : [모태요]
Korean Pronunciation Rule: ㄴ + ㄹ > [ㄹ] + ㄹ
The next Korean pronunciation rule is: ㄴ + ㄹ > [ㄹ] + ㄹ. When a syllable starting with a ㄹ precedes a syllable with a batchim ㄴ, that ㄴ is pronounced as a [ㄹ] as well. This is a pretty straightforward rule, but one that I consider a pretty important one as a few words do end up with this kind of setup.
A few examples:
- 연락 : [열락]
- 편리 : [펼리]
- 한라산 : [할라산]
Those were the first of quite a few Korean pronunciation rules, but I will be covering in the coming days and weeks. Try to slowly familiarize yourself with these rules first before moving on to the next set of rules. And, once you’ve mastered them your Korean speaking skill will have improved tremendously.