Korean lessons: Lesson 3

Phonological notes

1. Syllable-final Consonants (받침):

1) Theoretically, any consonant can be in the 받침 (syllable final) position. In reality, , , and are not used as 받침.

2) Some of the consonants merge into one sound when they are in the syllable-final position. Orthographically, however, they remain different. Summarized as follows:

consonant endings 받침 sound examples
, [k] , 부엌
, , , , , [t] , , , , , all pronounced as [ ]
, [p] , both pronounced as []

3) These merged sounds regain their original values when they are followed by a zero-initial syllable (i.e. vowel).

+ (topic/subject marker) = [가기 kagi]
부엌 + (place marker) = [부어케 puo^k`e]
+ (temporal marker) = [나제 naje]
+ (place marker) = [나체 nach`e]
+ (top./sub. marker) = [이비 ibi]
+ (top./sub. maeker) = [이피 ip`i]

2. Rules of Pronunciation

2.1. Liason (받침 carry-over)

1) A 받침 is carried over by the following syllable when the following syllable starts with a zero-initial.


국이 [구기] 문이 [무니]
밥을 [바블] 옷이 [오시 ]
잎이 [이피] 밖에 [바께]

2) The second part of a double 받침 is carried over by the folowing syllable when the following syllable starts with a zero-syllable.


앉아요 [안자요] 읽어요 [일거요]
밟아요 [발바요] 핥아요 [할타요]
읊어요 [을퍼요] 없어요 [업서요]

2.2. Nasalization

When a final (non-nasal) consonant is followed by a nasal initial (,), the non-nasal consonant absorbs the nasality, keeping its place of articulation. Remember, ‘‘ in the initial position is not a nasal consonant but a zero.

, , , , , / before or


갑니다 → [감니다] 낱말 → [난말] 먹는다→ [멍는다]

2.3. Aspiration

When [h] is adjacent, a consonant is influenced and aspirated.

/ before or after


좋다 → [조타] 노랗다 → [노라타]
생각하다 → [생가카다] 입히다 →[이피다]


2.4. Palatalization

When or is followed by [i], a paplatalization occurs.

[t] ㅈ [ch]
[t`] [ch`] / before


미닫이→[미다지] 굳이 →[구지] 같이 →[가치]

2.5. Liquidation

/before another


전라북도 [절라북도] 신라 [실라]
  • SapphiraAurelia

    this is really helping! now I understand how to read Korean well

  • Michelle Lampton

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    It worked very well for me as I was completely fluent in the language in well under a year from following it and I didn’t have to pay massive teacher fees like my work originally advised to me. An absolute life saver :)[]

  • DΞΔN makes me wet

    this is harder than i thought