15 votes
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Pronunciation of 의

The rule to pronouncing ㅢ is: Like ㅣ when directly following a consonant: 무늬 (/무니/), 희망 (/히망/) Like ㅔ or ㅖ when used as a possessive marker: 구글의 정책 (/구그레 정책/), 너의 마음 (/너예 마음/) Like ㅣ in the middle of ...
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15 votes
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Did actual 한글 characters have different sounds?

Of course, every language undergo sound changes over time, and Korean was certainly not an exception. Let's go over each sounds and see how they changed. The current mainstream vowel change ...
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12 votes
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How was the obsolete character ㅿ pronounced?

We can't tell for sure, but Wikipedia puts it at either [z] (like in 'zoo'), or [ʝ̃], which would be a nasal version of [ʝ]. To pronounce [ʝ̃], say [j] like at the beginning of 여기 (or English 'yes'), ...
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  • 384
12 votes

Correct pronunciation when a syllable ends with two consonants

With the following pairs, the first consonant is pronounced: ㄳ, ㄵ, ㅄ, ㄼ, ㄽ, ㄾ, + any with ㅎ (ㄶ, ㅀ) 앉다 -> 안는다, 여덟 -> 여덜 핥다 -> 할다 With the following pairs, the second consonant is pronounced: ㄺ, ㄻ, ...
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12 votes

What are the biggest pronunciation / intonation features of English-speakers speaking Korean?

"The prosodic patterns of Korean and English are fundamentally different." English speakers will fail to highlight the first syllable of words with a higher pitch. Instead, English speakers will ...
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  • 1,953
11 votes

How can we infer the pronunciation of now obsolete Hangul characters?

ㅿ is a voiced dental fricative, hence /z/. The sound value is apparent from multiple sources of evidence: Earliest evidence for the sound is found in the 12th century text 鶏林類事 in which Korean words ...
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  • 415
11 votes

Why is 'ㅂ' in '박물관' pronounced as /p/ instead of /b/?

The Korean sound ㅂ does not correspond exactly to the English sounds /p/ and /b/. In fact, while the Revised Romanization uses a 'b' to represent initial ㅂ, the McCune-Reischauer romanization uses a '...
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10 votes
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Pronunciation of ㅚ

Nowadays, it is almost always pronounced as a diphthong just like 왜, i.e. as /wɛ/. In the past it was often pronounced as the monophthong /ø/ but has almost completely been replaced now by the ...
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10 votes
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Does standard Korean still contain any signs of being a tonal language?

According to The Korean Language by Iksop Lee and S. Robert Ramsey, modern Korean dialects have either tones or vowel lengths or neither, but never both (see map below). The authors do recognize that ...
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9 votes
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ㅗ and ㅛ sound about the same to me. Can they be used interchangeably?

In terms of combining sounds and real conversation people will understand what you mean imagine you said, "안녕하세오" really fast, they might not catch the difference. I'm my opinion however, I think ...
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Why is 눈 pronounced the way it is?

The phenomenon you're hearing has been described not just in academic literature but also in more modern learners' guides to the Korean language. It is an example of initial denasalisation. Basically, ...
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8 votes

Did actual 한글 characters have different sounds?

Yes! A good example is the vowel ㅐ(ae). As you can see it is a combination of ㅏ(a) and ㅣ(i). So its original sound was ㅏㅣ(ai). But now it is pronounced as ㅐ(ae). Add 1: An article from the Joongang ...
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  • 1,598
8 votes

Intonations in Korean

Be careful not to mix up tones and intonation. A language with tones will distinguish words with different pitches or pitch contours - this means that you can have two words with the same phonemes, ...
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8 votes
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Is there any rule for the pronunciation of 닫히다 as tachida not tathida?

This is called 구개음화 (palatalization), and it's one of several assimilation rules in Korean. It occurs when ㄷ or ㅌ is in the 받침, and is followed by a syllable beginning with 이: 같- + 이 = 같이 [가치] 굳- + ...
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7 votes

How exactly is "ㄱ" pronounced/romanized?

Word initial it is unvoiced, hence [k]. In medial positions, it becomes voiced, hence [g]. This is a regular phonological process, so native speakers without linguistic training are typically unaware ...
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  • 415
7 votes
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When to use ㅐ, ㅒ as opposed to ㅔ,ㅖ?

In the modern Seoul dialect, these are audibly "indistinguishable." I put that in quotations, since there is controversy over this. But, I believe that some dialects still distinguish them in an ...
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6 votes

Why is 꽃잎 pronounced as 꼰잎?

There is a rule that words cannot begin with ㄴ/ㄹ+[i/j], as explained in this question. That is, they cannot begin with 니, 냐, 녀, 리, 료, 류, etc. Exceptions are recent borrowings. But this rule was not ...
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6 votes
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Pronunciation of '자' vs '쟈'

They are not distinguished properly in modern Korean. It includes 자/쟈, 저/져, 주/쥬, 조/죠, 제/졔, 재/쟤 and ㅊ and ㅉ-equivalents too. This is because ㅈ(/t͡ɕ/) is already palatalized in modern Korean, or at ...
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6 votes
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Pronunciation of two consecutives ㅇ

The letter ㅇ at the beginning of a syllable isn't pronounced and the letter ㅇ acts as a filler letter. In addition, when a syllable starts with ㅇ and the previous syllable ends with a consonant, the ...
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6 votes

When to use single (ㅅ) or double (ㅆ) consonants?

There's no rule for when to use ㅆ vs. ㅅ, just as there's no rule for when to use /b/ and when to use /p/ in English - they are separate phonemes, so you just have to memorize it. One thing that is ...
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6 votes
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Korean hangul with voiced, unvoiced and aspirated or not aspirated

I can tell you right now. (Always) Voiced: all vowels, ㄴ, ㅁ, ㅇ(final), ㄹ (Conditionally) Voiceless: ㄱ, ㄲ, ㄷ, ㄸ, ㅂ, ㅃ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, ㅉ, ㅊ, ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅎ (Strongly) Aspirated: ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅅ, ㅊ, ㅎ Not (strongly)...
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6 votes
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Is ㅎ ‘labial’, glottal or both?

You're right, the consonant ㅎ is pronounced differently depending on the following vowel. In linguistical terminology, ㅎ has several allophones: When followed by ㅜ, ㅟ, ㅝ, ㅞ, possibly ㅗ, ㅘ, ㅚ, ㅙ: it ...
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6 votes
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Do all Sino-Korean words have exactly one reading?

Probably you know that a Hanja character may have more than one pronunciation. For example, 樂 has seven different pronunciations, 락, 악, 낙, 요, 료, 록, 로. (낙 is derived by the word-initial rule 두음법칙 ...
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  • 1,367
5 votes

Why do the pronunciation for Vowels assume the Consonant ㅇ?

ㅇ in inital position is now a filler letter for syllables which lack a inital consonant. But it was not 600 years ago. In 1443, when Hangul was designed, King Sejong, the inventor of Hangul, had made ...
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