How to distinguish the sounds of the two vowels in Korean ᅭ ᅲ?

Am I correct to make the following comparison in American English:

  • ㅛ is the same as yo-yo;
  • ㅠ is the same as "book" where 'b' is changed to y?
  • 1
    Agree with Lee M.U., and I will add that some native speakers make them sound almost the same, to my ears…
    – w3steve
    Dec 29, 2021 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


We pronounce ㅛ as yo, as you guessed.

  • 요리(cooking) is pronounced as yo(요)li(리)
  • 요청(request) is pronounced as yo(요)cheong(청)

But, We pronounce ㅠ as yu (or you in some cases, maybe).

  • 우유(milk) is pronounced as u(우)yu(유)
  • 유재석(Korean comedian) is pronounced as Yu(유) Jae(재)-seok(석)

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