The Korean Alphabet

Okay, look.  You suck at Korean.  That’s why you’re here.  To learn more.  Unfortunately, you’ve decided to learn Korean from someone else who sucks.  That’s not a good start.  In fact, I’d highly recommend you go elsewhere.  You should probably leave this page immediately, go to Google, and search for Korean language sites that don’t suck.

But, if you’re feeling dangerous, then let’s talk about Korean letters (한글).  You should really learn the “names” of each of the Korean letters.  Why?  Because you might need to ask someone how something is spelled.  Or, god forbid, someone might need you to spell something for them.  So learn how to pronounce the individual letters that comprise Korean script.  And pay attention because the letters ㄱ, ㄷ, and ㅅ are pronounced a bit differently from the rest.

ㄱ     기역
ㄴ     니은
ㄷ     디귿
ㄹ     리을
ㅁ     미음
ㅂ     비읍
ㅅ     시옷
ㅇ     이응
ㅈ     지읒
ㅊ     치읓
ㅋ     키읔
ㅌ     티읕
ㅍ     피읖
ㅎ     히읗

When you want to specify that something is a “double” consonant, like ㄲ or ㅃ, then you add 쌍 before it.  So ㄲ is pronounced “쌍기역”.  And ㅃ is pronounced “쌍비읍”.  Got it?

But what about vowels?  Well, they’re easy.  They are pronounced exactly like they sound.  No special names.  So the vowel ㅏ is pronounced “아”; the vowel ㅗ is pronounced “오”, and so on.  Got it?  I thought so.

And now you suck just a little bit less.  Pat yourself on the back.  Or don’t.  Whatever.


2 thoughts on “The Korean Alphabet”

  1. Hi there,
    I’ve been practicing with Memrise for Korean and they use 당신이 often, yet I’ve read it is rarely used or rude to use it. Are you familiar with the site and is it worth continuing with it if what I am learning is incorrect?

    1. I don’t learn very well from apps like Memrise, Duolingo, LingQ, etc, so I don’t have a lot of experience with them. My suspicion, though, is that Memrise is teaching “당신” for “you” because it’s a lot easier to teach that to a beginner than it is to try and explain the difficult and foreign concepts associated with how Koreans use (or don’t use) 2nd person pronouns. That’s where people like me come in. 🙂 My articles on the subject tell you exactly how and when to use 당신 appropriately. See:

      Spoiler alert: it’s best just not to use them. Seriously. Unless you’re looking to start a fight or the person you’re talking to is your lover, you’ll pretty much never use it (and never hear it be used toward you.)

      Hope that helps!

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