A Korean beginner here.
Because a final consonant is silent, you don't know where a word has its final consonant or which a final consonant is. For example,책(book), how can you know it has a final consonant ㄱ in the bottom since it pronounces as 채? And since several final consonants pronounce the same, how do you know which one you should choose? Since ㄱ,ㄲ,ㅋ all pronounces k,채 can be 책,챜,챆.

  • 1
    a lot of them are pronounced the same so you wouldn't know just by the sound. You know someone is not saying 챜 or챆 because they are not real words.
    – user17915
    May 1 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


To be precise, it is not true that 받침 is not pronounced at all when they are at the end of a word. They are pronounced, but only halfway, which means they don't have the final release of the phonetic pressure formed by the obstruction of air flow. For example, when you say 'check' in English, you pronounce it like CHE-ku, where the last 'ku' is a very light release of pressure created in making the k sound. 책 in Korean on the other hand doesn't have this release, meaning your form your mouth and pronounce it without the final step of releasing it. The sound is made, but more indistinctly than the English k at the end.

This incomplete articulation makes the sound not clear enough, so the result is that we can detect the broad difference but not the minute one. We can distinguish between 책 and 챋 but not 책 from 챆 or 챜, for example. ㄱ,ㅋ,ㄲ become the same sound when they are a 받침, as well as ㄷ,ㅌ,ㄸ,ㅅ,ㅆ,ㅈ,ㅊ and ㅂ,ㅃ,ㅍ. The representative 받침s ㄱ,ㅅ,ㅂ are the most common ones, so if you're not sure, just spell the word with them. There are exceptions of course (like 빗 = comb, 빚 = debt, 빛 = light), but they are not that common. And even when there are multiple such words, it is not an issue because they only sound the same when there is no vowel following, which is uncommon. Plus, the context usually makes the meaning clear even if they sound exactly the same. All languages have a lot of homonyms that are spelled and pronounced the same, but it is usually not a problem.

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