What are the exact places of articulation of Korean coronal consonants, e.g. ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄸ, ㄹ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅌ?

The passive articulators are dental, alveolar, or postalveolar, and the active articulators are apical or laminal. What are the exact combinations for the consonants above?

In my pronunciation, all stops (ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄸ, ㅌ) are lamino-postalveolar. What's interesting is how I discriminate ㅅ and ㅆ. My ㅅ is apico-alveolar [s̺], and my ㅆ is lamino-dental [θ̻], if not as non-sibilant as English [θ]. For ㄹ, it is apico-postalveolar (or in other words, apical retroflex), for both central version ([ɽ̺]) and lateral version ([ɭ̺]).

I doubt every Korean has the same articulations, but was there a study on this?

  • I'm guessing that what you're asking might be about 조음 위치(Place of articulation) in 한국어 음운론(Korean phonology) which I remember was taught in high school in South Korea. Although I don't have much knowledge on this subject there could be someone else well versed in this area.
    – Coconut
    Nov 18, 2020 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


There have been a few. The Sounds of Korean (2003) has a section devoted to each of the consonants.

Ko (2013) gives a good rundown of the literature prior, and has an emphasis on natives vs learners, useful for pedagogues. There has also been stroboscopic-cine MRI done.

To summarise then, the vast majority of these consonants are consistently laminal (with the blade), with the exception of the pronunciations of ㄹ. These:

involve the tip and/or blade of the tongue making contact with the dental ridge and/or the upper front teeth [...]

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