Learn how to pronounce the Korean alphabet with Professor Oh:
The 14 Korean consonants paired with the vowel ㅏ(ah)
- 가 (gah) = It may sound like a K, but there is another Korean consonant that has a stronger K sound (ㅋ). Think of ㄱ as a soft G sound.
- 나 (nah) = So easy that it’s amazing.
- 다 (dah) = Might sound like “tah,” however the ㅌ consonant has a stronger T pronunciation. Think of ㄷ as a soft D.
- 라 (lah) = The ㄹ consonant has a rolling L sound. It may sound like an R, however Koreans do not have a consonant that is a 100% R equivalent. Thus if a native Korean says, “Rock and roll,” it’ll sound more like “Lock and Loll.” Note: in some cases when paired with other characters, 라 (lah) has a crisp L sound without the roll. i.e. 몰라 (molla) and 몰라 (ramyeon).
- 마 (mah) = Here’s a simple one. Sounds like the second “ma” in “mama.”
- 바 (bah) = It may sound like a P, but there is another Korean consonant with a stronger P sound (ㅍ). Think of ㅂ as a soft B sound.
- 사 (sah) = Another epically simple one. Did you know 사 means the number “four”?
- 아 (ah) = The ㅇ consonant, which looks like a circle, is silent. However when paired with other characters, the ㅇ consonant can take the sound of a previous consonant.
- 자 (jah) = Might sound like “cha,” however the ㅊ Korean consonant has a stronger “ch” pronunciation. Think of ㅈ as a soft J sound.
- 차 (cha) = Pronounced the same as the Cuban dance “Cha Cha.” Did you know 차 can mean “tea” and “car”? No? Now you do!
- 카 (kah) = Yes. An easier one to pronounce.
- 타 (tah) = Happy birthday. Another simple one!
- 파 (pah) = Guess what? 파 means “spring onion.”
- 하 (hah) = Pronounced the same as the “ha” when someone laughs “hahaha.”
The 10 vowels paired with the silent consonant “ㅇ”
- 아 (ah)
- 야 (yah)
- 어 (uh)
- 여 (yuh)
- 오 (oh)
- 요 (yoh)
- 우 (ooh)
- 유 (you)
- 으 (euh)
- 이 (e)
(Note: During my website upgrade, I’m revisiting older YouTube videos and making blog posts out of them. Can’t believe it’s already been five and a half years since the first Korean lesson!)