south korean language
south korean language

learn Korean alphabets and consonants

How difficult is it to learn Korean? People often ask me this question and I answered them Probably it is the easiest language to learn because Hangul, the Korean alphabet is a modern language and is not hard to learn. The Korean vocabularies are no harder to learn than any other language in the world. After getting knowledge about the basic alphabet it’s really easy to know some basic things. It is not hard to learn basic things like Korean numbers (though Korea has two ways of counting numbers), days/ weeks/months in Korean. The Korean system of counting numbers is very easy and that number counting system helps to learn count months also. In this lesson, we will study the difficulties of learning Korean.

How difficult is it to learn Korean even for native speakers?

  The first step to learning any language starts with the alphabet of that language. If you gain knowledge of the Korean alphabets it will help you to learn Korean much easier and faster. So let’s start to learn Korean letters with their Basic sounds. In this video, you will watch about the difficulties of the Korean language even for native speakers.

How many days does it take to learn Korean?

It really depends on you and how much time you put into it. If you practice daily for 2 to 4 hours it might take about 3 months to be able to have a conversation in Korean.

Learn more about hangul

Is learning Korean worth it?

The short answer is yes. Many languages are worth learning and they are beneficial for a learner. If you want to travel, study or work you have to learn Korean because Koreans do not speak and understand English pretty well. Korea is already one of the developed countries and you should learn Korean to make your career. If a foreigner goes out onto the street and asks random people for directions he/she has to speak Korean. Here is a video that shows the ground reality.

Learn about the origination of hangul

The official language of both Korea is known as Hangul. Han means (great)and gul means (script). The Hangul alphabet was created in 1443 by the Joseon Dynasty.

             Unlike English, the Hangul letters are combined into blocks of 2 to 3 characters for each syllable. 한글 is made up of 한 and 글. Here 한 is a block and it is made up of 3 characters ㅎ,ㅏ,ㄴ. similarly, 글 also is a block which is made up of 3 characters (ㄱ,ㅡ,ㄹ). 

 Hangul characters have their own Name & Sound and some characters have different sounds depending upon their position on a syllable or word. The Korean alphabet has a total of 40 characters. Hangul is made up of 19 consonants and 21 vowels. In hangul, the consonant is divided into two sections and the vowel is also divided into two sections. Now, let’s start learning from Consonants-

  Learn Korean consonants

Korean consonants are basically 14 and there are five double consonants.

                                   Primary Consonants (14)

The Korean consonantsㄱ, ㄷ and ㅂ sound respectively as g, d, and b before a vowel; they are sounds as “k, t, and p” when they appear before another consonant or as the last/bottom sound of a word. The Hangul alphabet ㄹ also has 2 sounds which are pronounced as “R” before a vowel, and as “L” before a consonant or at the end of a word.

Character   Sounds like    Korean Name          sample word

  1. ㄱ                G, K               Giyok (기역)   구글 – Google
  2. ㄴ                N                    Nieun (니은)  나무 – Tree
  3. ㄷ                D                    Digeut (디귿)   등록 – Signup / Register
  4. ㄹ                L, R                Rieul (리을 )    레스토랑 – Restaurant
  5. ㅁ                M                    Mieum (미음)  목표 – Aim/goal
  6. ㅂ                B                    Bieup (비읍)   분석  – analysis
  7. ㅅ                S                    Siot (시옷)  성격 – character/personality
  8. ㅇ                silent/ ng        Ieung (이응 아쉽다 – sad / sorry
  9. ㅈ              J                      Jieut (지읒) 종류- sort / Type
  10. ㅊ             CH                    Chieut (치읓) 친구- Friend/mate
  11. ㅋ             K, KH                Kieuk (키읔) 키우다 – Raise/bring up
  12. ㅌ             T, TH                Tieut (티읕) 특히 – especially/particularly
  13. ㅍ             P, PH                Pieup (피읖) 필요 – need / necessary
  14. ㅎ             H                      Hieut (히읕) 환경 – Environment

ㅇ is a soundless (SILENT) when it comes first and sounds like – ng when it is at the bottom of a word.

Mixed Consonants / Double Consonants (5)

  1. ㄲ             gg/kk                Ssang Giyok (쌍기역)         꽃 – Flower
  2. ㄸ             dd/tt                  Ssang Digeut (쌍디귿)  똥 – feces/dung
  3. ㅃ             bb                     Ssang Bieup (쌍비읍) 빨리 – Fast
  4. ㅆ             ss                     Ssang Siot (쌍시옷)   쓰레기 – Waste/litter
  5. ㅉ             jj                       Ssang Jieut (쌍지읒) 짧다 – short

            Korean vowels

 There are a total of 21 vowels

      Primary Vowels (10)

The Korean vowel doesn’t have names like consonants do and they just have a simple sound.

Character        Sound            Sample Vocab

  1. ㅏ                    a/ah                  안에 – Inside
  2. ㅑ                    ya                     야구 – Baseball
  3. ㅓ                    u                      얼굴 – Face
  4. ㅕ                    yu                    여자 – girl
  5. ㅗ                    o                      올해 – this year
  6. ㅛ                   yo                     요리 – cook
  7. ㅜ                   oo                    우산 – Umbrella
  8. ㅠ                   you                   유럽 – Europe
  9. ㅡ                   eu                    은행,으로 – Bank,towards
  10. ㅣ                   ee                    인사 –  Greeting/Bow

Korean alphabet song

Mixed / Double vowels

  1. ㅐ                 ae              ㅍ-lover
  2. ㅒ                 yae 얘기 – story/talk
  3. ㅔ                 ae 엘리베이터- Elevator
  4. ㅖ                 yae 예 – yes/example
  5. ㅚ                 oi 외국인 – Foreigner
  6. ㅙ                 oae 왜- why
  7. ㅟ                 we 위치 – location
  8. ㅞ                 wae 웨딩- wedding
  9. ㅢ                 eui  의미- meaning/sense
  10. ㅝ                wu  원래 – originally / naturally

How to write Korean?  

Korean is written horizontally from left to right like other Asian countries. Basically, hangul is written from left to right and from top to bottom. Some decades ago Korea’s newspapers and magazines generally employed vertical writing but were abandoned after the 1990s. We cant still see vertical writing in old Korean books.

In this lesson, you will learn how to form Korean words. There are 4 ways of forming words in the Korean language. Now, let’s start with these 4 ways of pronouncing Korean words.

Korean word structure

1. 모음 vowel  =  예, 에

2. 자음 +모음 consonant + vowel  = 네, 코

3. 모음 +자음 vowel + consonant = 안, 을

4. 자음 +모음 + 자음 consonant +vowel+consonant = 강, 곰, 밤

The Korean alphabet o doesn’t have any sound when ‘o’ is the first character of a word but when it attaches to another alphabet it becomes ‘ng’ sound.

korean alphabet 

korean alphabet english
korean alphabet english

Korean vowel – 모음 vowel  =  예, 에

only vowels are used in this rule. You can make complete words using vowels only. These vowels are used to form words –

Single vowel











Double vowel

E        ㅐ 

eir       ㅒ 

E         ㅔ 

ye        ㅖ   

wa       ㅘ

woe     ㅙ 

wa    ㅝ 

wue    ㅞ 

wui    ㅟ 

wei      ㅢ 

Learn Korean basic words

예 – yes (yes in Korean)

이 – 2 / two

오- 5/ five

아이 – baby

예  – yes

와 – or

왜 – why

와요 – come

위에 – upper

외워요 – remember

오이 – cucumber

우유 – milk

여우 – Jackle

Korean word structure

“ㅏㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅣ ㅐㅔㅖㅒ” These vowels attach consonants into their right, left and downside and form Korean words. Example -:

안 inside

열 fever, ten

에서 from

까지 till, until

강 river

밤 night

한 one

“ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅠㅡ ”  These are those vowels that attach consonants on their upper side. Example -:

곧이어 soon after

곰 bear

또 also

요리 cook

월 month

우리 our

유리 glass, being profitable

유지 keeping, maintenance

은행 bank

금 gold

  자음 +모음 consonant + vowel

some Korean words are formed by using consonants and vowels only,

네 Yes

코 Nose

귀 Ear

자 ruler

주  week/province

조 – Team/Group/article

비 Rain

배 stomach/ship

부 department/section

뷰 view

벼  rice

거의 almost/nearly

모음 +자음 vowel + consonant

Korean words are made by a combination of vowels and consonants also.

암 cancer

아마 probably

안 inside

악 evil

윤 shine, gloss

운 – luck/destiny

울 – wool

읍 -eup/ town

자음 +모음 + 자음 consonant +vowel+consonant

Korean words are made by joining consonants, vowels and again consonants. Let’s see some examples here.

강 -River

곰 – Bear

밤 -Night

걱정 – Worry

건강 – health

날씨 – Weather

날짜 – Date

Korean language history
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