What are the vowels used in the Yanbian dialect of Korean?

I've read in this article (https://www.korean.go.kr/nkview/nklife/1998_4/8-4.html) that Hamgyeong dialect, related to Yanbian dialect, has had a merger of ㅓ and ㅗ into ㅗ, and ㅡ and ㅜ into ㅡ. However, the corresponding article for Yanbian dialect (https://www.korean.go.kr/nkview/nklife/1998_4/8-8.html) still has them separate as ㅓ ə, ㅗ o, ㅜ u, and ㅡ ɨ. However, there are other examples in the same article where they seem to have merged , e.g. 루 > 르 (for the particle 로 in Standard Korean).

However, there are also two other changes I've heard but haven't been able to find much on. 1. Northern dialects use ɔ for ㅓ, which is an allophone for o ㅗ in the South. Is the ㅓ/ㅗ merger really a merger or does it just use a different vowel? 2. 구 "and" (고 in Standard Korean) is often pronounced as 기, such as 먹고 싶다 > 먹구 싶다 > 먹기 싶다. Is this because ㅡ is pronounced as ɨ in Yanbian and is an allophone for ㅣ or is there some other process going on here?

1 Answer 1


The merge of ㅗ and ㅓ, and ㅡ and ㅜ has been been completed yet. They are getting similar but still distinguishable. For example, the pronunciation of '정은' in Hamgyeong and Yanbian dialect may sound like '종운' to Koreans but they are not completely same.

The pronunciation of 'ㅓ' are getting close to 'ㅗ', but I disagree that ㅡ and ㅜ are being merged into ㅡ. Rather, ㅡ are getting closer to ㅜ.

  • "The merge of ㅗ and ㅓ, and ㅡ and ㅜ has been been completed yet" are you trying to say has not been completed?
    – user17915
    Aug 31, 2020 at 5:13

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