Similar to the changing of [저 + 가] to 제가 and [나 + 가] to 내가 (adding the subject marker to the two forms of 'I'), when adding the subject marker 가 to 너 (you), we get 네가.

How is this pronounced? Although it is written as "nega," I have heard it pronounced more along the lines of 니가 ("niga")

2 Answers 2


This is pretty much an exception: it is indeed mostly pronounced as [니]. However, do note that it is technically [네] (dictionaries list this as the phonetic spelling), and it's only the common usage for you that is exceptional.

Why? For "I", we have 내가, which is similarly formed from . However, as most Korean learners can tell, 애 and 에 are not very easy to differentiate. Some even argue that there isn't any difference at all. Now then, that also means 내가 and 네가 would sound very similar, and confusing between you and me is a very inconvenient issue, so has come to develop a more different pronunciation, that is [니].

How? The difference between the two vowels, is that is more "closed" (more similar to /i/ ), which easily supports that emphasis on /i/-like characteristics of the vowel led to adopting the sound of [니] for common usage.

Note: 너 becomes 네가 rather than 너가 because historically the subject marker was 이, and it seems the contraction of the pronoun with the subject marker got stuck in everybody's heads and people keep using 네 although 너이 is no longer grammatical.


The correct pronunciation is '네가'. However almost nobody speaks like that. People usually say "너가" or "니가", although they know it's wrong to do that.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.