Pronounce the Korean Alphabet (Lesson 1)

Professor Oh December 4, 2013 6

Learn how to pronounce the Korean alphabet with Professor Oh:

The 14 Korean consonants paired with the vowel ㅏ(ah)

  1. 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.
  2. 나 (nah) = So easy that it’s amazing.
  3. 다 (dah) = Might sound like “tah,” however the ㅌ consonant has a stronger T pronunciation. Think of ㄷ as a soft D.
  4. 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).
  5. 마 (mah) = Here’s a simple one. Sounds like the second “ma” in “mama.”
  6. 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.
  7. 사 (sah) = Another epically simple one. Did you know 사 means the number “four”?
  8. 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.
  9. 자 (jah) = Might sound like “cha,” however the ㅊ Korean consonant has a stronger “ch” pronunciation. Think of ㅈ as a soft J sound.
  10. 차 (cha) = Pronounced the same as the Cuban dance “Cha Cha.” Did you know 차 can mean “tea” and “car”? No? Now you do!
  11. 카 (kah) = Yes. An easier one to pronounce.
  12. 타 (tah) = Happy birthday. Another simple one!
  13. 파 (pah) = Guess what? 파 means “spring onion.”
  14. 하 (hah) = Pronounced the same as the “ha” when someone laughs “hahaha.”

The 10 vowels paired with the silent consonant “ㅇ”

  1. 아 (ah)
  2. 야 (yah)
  3. 어 (uh)
  4. 여 (yuh)
  5. 오 (oh)
  6. 요 (yoh)
  7. 우 (ooh)
  8. 유 (you)
  9. 으 (euh)
  10. 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!)


  1. Bernard Andy Gulla January 22, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    The teaching strategy is great. in just two days, I already memorize the hangeul and some phrases. hahaha Ths helped me alot. Thanks! :))

  2. cheonsa31 January 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Hi there! I must say I am impressed on how you teach Korean. Your methods are quite fun making it easy to remember and comprehend. did you take education program by chance? Oh by the way where could I get your worksheets? I am self-studying Korean Language and Hangul. Yours are the most accurate that I could find. Well thank you and hope you give out more fun videos.

    • Ellen January 30, 2014 at 1:12 am - Reply

      Yeah, I agree with you. Prof Oh is such a great teacher. God speed. Happy learning everyone :)

  3. F. Mills January 6, 2014 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Hello Professor Oh. I recently got married to a Korean and my desire to learn her mother tongue is a priority of mines. I wanna surprise her so I’ll avoid learning from her for a while. Luckily, I just discovered your videos through random youtubing and really like the way you present things. Hopefully it won’t take me a lifetime to become fluent with your help.

  4. Elise December 5, 2013 at 3:56 am - Reply

    What does acha mean? Can you please do a video explaining what some popular kpop song’s lyrics mean? :0)

  5. xanaxjunkee December 5, 2013 at 12:20 am - Reply

    I often refer to your older videos when I need to brush up basic Korean. It’s really helpful and I am thankful that you left the older videos up.

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