I just started to learn Korean and I decided to start by learning to read. I learned the pronunciation of the letters "i" and "eu" which sound like "i" and "ö" in German, respectively. So far, so good.

Then I moved on to consonants with "m" being my first. And here is where I'm surprised.

Remembering the vowels I expected that "mieum" would be pronounced "mi-ö-m" but it appears to be pronounced "ma".

My question is: Is Korean like English in that some things are spelled differently from how they are pronounced? Or does "ieu" always become "a"? And if so, could it be spelled as "ma"? And is "m" never pronounced at the end of a word?

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Thank you for your help!


In this video here they pronounce all the letters with "u" instead of "a" 😅🙈:


And one with "eu":


  • You are right that there shouldn't be any 'a' sound in 미음. Is the picture you included a screenshot of an app? What app is it? May 6, 2018 at 12:42
  • It's TenguGo Hangul.
    – Matt N.
    May 6, 2018 at 13:24
  • 1
    the Youtube videos sound fine. Are you saying that the pronunciation in the app is ma-eum instead of mi-eum?
    – user17915
    May 7, 2018 at 9:09
  • "In this video here they pronounce all the letters with "u" instead of "a" 😅🙈:" - none of this is important! Consonants in most languages don't really have much 'length' to them, so to say them, it's common to add a (somewhat arbitrary) vowel sound. But the important thing to learn is how the consonant is formed. It really doesn't matter if you learn the sound of 'ㅁ' by saying '미음', '마', or '므'... what is important is to learn how the 'ㅁ' sound is formed. May 8, 2018 at 11:46
  • I know. My question is about the spelling in the app.
    – Matt N.
    May 9, 2018 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


Although the app text says mieum(미음) (which is one of the ways in Korean of naming the letter 'ㅁ'), you are right that the actual recording is of the sound 'ma'(마). '미음' is not pronounced '마' in Korean.

Koreans do also say 'ka na da...'('가 나 다...') as the equivalent to English 'ABC...' (is it the same in German?), but it's a bit confusing that the app text says one thing, and the recording is of something else!

In general, Hangul spelling matches the pronunciation very well.

  • 1
    So "mieum" is never pronounced "ma" in Korean?
    – Matt N.
    May 7, 2018 at 4:00
  • 1
    @MattN. "mieum" is never pronounced "ma" :) May 7, 2018 at 6:33

1) ㅁ has a name mieum as topo morto explained.

2) We can not pronounced ㅁ. But we know how it works in a word :

ma 마 mi 미 mu 무 me 메 mo 모 and so on. It can be pronounced with several ways, with respect to vowel or situation

3) Hence your application try to describe sound of ㅁ by comparing m in the exact word "man"

Korean pronounce man with 맨. Or Korean pronounce Freedman with 프리드만

At any rate, in the word man we cut ma and the application pronounced ma with 마.

Notice the description in the app " sounds like " But I agree that design of the app may confuse us.

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