Some characters have consonants parts at the last part of them. For example:

  • 같, not 갇
  • 갘, not 각
  • 갔, not 갓

In these characters, do you pronounce the last consonant aspirate or tense, or just pronounce it like the most basic form?


1 Answer 1


Korean phonology allows only seven consonant sounds, ㄱㄷㄴㄹㅂㅁㅇ, to be articulated at syllable coda. Every other consonant assimilates to one of these:

  • ㄱ, ㅋ, ㄲ to ㄱ
  • ㄷ, ㅌ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㅎ to ㄷ [Note #1]
  • ㅂ, ㅍ to ㅂ [Note #1]
  • ㄴ to ㄴ
  • ㄹ to ㄹ
  • ㅁ to ㅁ
  • ㅇ to ㅇ

After they assimilate, they do not differ in sound. Especially, the stops ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ all become unvoiced, lax, unaspirated, and unreleased. So 같, 갇, 갔 and 갓 all sound exactly the same and so do 갘 and 각, given they are all pronounced isolated without any surrounding environment, thus without possibility of any other sound change.

Note that coda assimilation is one of the later rules in the chain of phonological rules. That means it applies after most other sound changes happen. (Compare 닫아 [다다] to 닿아 [다아]. The coda moves to the onset of the following syllable before coda assimilation, so ㅎ does not assimilate to ㄷ in this case.)

[Note #1] ㄸ, ㅃ, and ㅉ does not appear in syllable coda.

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