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My goal is to learn all Hangul letters and their combinations in order to understand words I encounter and speak more fluently Korean. For this reason I have made the following, it is my own personal list of the basic letters according to the wiki I read:

Consonants:
ㄱ, ㄲ, ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄸ, ㄹ, ㅁ, ㅂ, ㅃ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅇ, ㅈ, ㅉ, ㅊ, ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅎ

Vowels:
ㅏ, ㅐ, ㅑ, ㅒ, ㅓ, ㅔ, ㅕ, ㅖ, ㅗ, ㅘ, ㅙ, ㅚ, ㅛ, ㅜ, ㅝ, ㅞ, ㅟ, ㅠ, ㅡ, ㅢ, ㅣ

Although even with these as a guide, I am unable to account for many Korean words such as 만화. Which brings me to ask:

  • Why is 만 not in the list of words I have learned?
  • Which basic Hangul letters am I missing in my list?

(By basic, I mean they are the basic syllabic blocks for words in Korean and I consider them equivalent to an alphabet.)

I noticed 마 is also not listed in the basic tables and my list. According to Wikitionary it is a syllabic block made up of ㅁ and ㅏ, then why is it used as a basic letter in 마 + ㄴ = 만?

This leads me to wonder, how do I determine the following:

  • How many non-basic letters are used to form other non-basic letters?
  • When 마 and 만 or any other non-basic letter is a consonant or a vowel?

I realize I have a lot of questions, generally though I would appreciate if someone could clarify for a beginner learner how many Hangul letters there are to learn and where to learn more about them.

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Although even with these as a guide, I am unable to account for many Korean words such as 만화

I'm not sure why you think that. The majority of Korean syllabic blocks have two letters (one consonant followed by one vowel), or three(a consonant, followed by a vowel, followed by a consonant).

만화 follows these common cases and is accounted for by your list of letters:

만 = ㅁ + ㅏ + ㄴ (consonant - vowel - consonant)

화 = ㅎ + ㅘ (consonant - vowel)

I noticed 마 is also not listed in the basic tables and my list. According to Wikitionary it is a syllabic block made up of ㅁ and ㅏ, then why is it used as a basic letter in 마 + ㄴ = 만?

As above, I wouldn't think of 만 as 마 + ㄴ. I would think of it as ㅁ + ㅏ + ㄴ.

It seems to me that you've come up with an idea of 'non-basic letters' that I haven't seen elsewhere - perhaps it isn't helping you?

Does the 'Syllable blocks' section of https://fluentinkorean.com/korean-alphabet-2/ help at all?

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  • Yes this was helpful, I wasn't knowledgeable about words made up of three syllable blocks and didn't realize I was missing possible ending positions. This site does not indicate a syllabic block can end in a consonant however.
    – aitía
    May 1 at 15:23
  • @aitía there's a part 3: fluentinkorean.com/korean-alphabet-3
    – topo morto
    May 1 at 17:25

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