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From what I have learned, it is my understanding of these condition ensuring that ㅅ is pronounced as "t":

When are ㅅ and ㅆ pronounced as stops?

Does that mean "hot" (매운맛) is pronounced "maeunmas" or "maeunmat"? I only ask because my only reference for translations is google translate and, while it meets the conditions for it to be pronounced as a stop, it seems to be pronounced as "s" and not "t". And I don't understand why. Are the rules actually not rules, is this just an exception or is google translate wrong?

A bonus question: I am super confused over "Gangnam" (강남). Bonus points if anyone can explain to me why the "ㄱ" is pronounced as "G" and not "k". It is the first character in the word so, as per what I have learned, it SHOULD be pronounced as a "k". My logical mind can't understand why it is pronounced as a "G".

Thanks to anyone that can help a confused noob like me!

  • Welcome to the site! If you have two different questions, do feel free to ask them as separate questions on the site (though I appreciate that these are somewhat related) – topo Reinstate Monica Aug 21 '18 at 7:31
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    1. Please do NOT use Google Translate to learn Korean (or any other language): it is a useful tool, but it's a statistical machine that learns from the internet, and filled with mistakes. 2. The sound system of Korean and English are different. ㄱ is ㄱ, and its actual sound is spread over a conceptual range that is neither English k or g (although there are some overlaps). – jick Aug 21 '18 at 15:41
  • Yeah I'm not learning from it, but I do use it occasionally to translate a word. That's why I was just asking here for clarification :) – Kamran Rastegar Aug 22 '18 at 3:28
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Does that mean "hot" (매운맛) is pronounced "maeunmas" or "maeunmat"?

it should be 'maeunmat'. When I type '매운맛' into google translate and press the 'Listen' button, that's pretty much what it says to me too.

A bonus question: I am super confused over "Gangnam" (강남). Bonus points if anyone can explain to me why the "ㄱ" is pronounced as "G" and not "k". It is the first character in the word so, as per what I have learned, it SHOULD be pronounced as a "k"

'ㄱ' is pronounced somewhere between an English 'g' and an English 'k'. If you type '강남' into this Romanisation converter, you will see that some romanisation systems do consider it equivalent to 'Kangnam' or 'Kang Nam' - it's just that the currently preferred 'revised' Romanisation converts initial 'ㄱ' to G.

You'll need to think about other consonants like this too - e.g. 'ㄷ' is neither t nor d, but somewhere in between.

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(1) If you ask me to pronounce 매운맛, 까맣게 (black), 맡아주세요 (take a task), 맞장구 (response), 맏딸 (oldest daughter), then I will pronounce equally.

(2) I do not know how English man pronounce g, k. This may be related to notation. When I am young, I memorize (ㄱ,g) (ㅋ,k). Hence I believe that almost Korean pronounce Gangnam=강남, gag=개그 and card=kard=카드(or 카아드), case=keis=케이스 (or 케이쓰). If you write Kangnam, then I will pronounce 캉남.

@And I pronounce Busan 부산 (city) and Pusan (푸산)

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