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How do I pronounce 협력? Are there any rules that apply to it to change its immediately apparent pronunciation?

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Yes. 협력 is pronounced 혐녁.

This is the result of a combination of some standard pronunciation rules:

  • ㅁㄹ => ㅁㄴ sound change
    • A 받침 of any of the closed-lip consonants (ㅂㅃㅁㅍ), followed immediately by an ㄹ, will cause the ㄹ to be pronounced as an ㄴ.
  • ㅂㄴ => ㅁㄴ sound change
    • A 받칩 of ㅂ followed by any of the nasal consonants (ㅁㄴ) will cause the ㅂ to be pronounced as an ㅁ. (Like in 합니다)
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  • Weird. To me there is a definite different in pronunciation of 협력 and 혐녁. Hyup-yeok as opposed to Hyum-neok. I guess when in spoken conversation the difference between blurs. Jun 22 '16 at 21:48
  • @PhonicsTheHedgehog 협력 is definitely always pronounced 혐녁 (As in the dictionary 발음 section in the link). But sound changes are often very hard for learners to pick up - it's super common for us to "hear" things that aren't there (or not-hear things that are) because of our expectations.
    – user12
    Jun 22 '16 at 22:32
  • I suppose so! This is interesting. Jun 23 '16 at 0:41

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