How difficult it is to pronounce Korean: 3/5, "Moderate" On the one hand, most Korean words are simple to pronounce. This is aided by the fact that the writing system is mostly phonetic. Consider speaking Korean to be similar to pronouncing Spanish. There are a lot of consonants, but they're all related to each other based on sound rules.
On the other hand, Korean is more complex than Spanish to learn because it has a larger vocabulary and different grammar structures. Also, Korean pronunciation changes depending on how it's spoken so there is no single correct way to say anything. For example, if you were to listen to two Koreans talking, you would think they were trying to talk with each other rather than understand each other.
Finally, Korean is not widely taught in schools or even discussed much, which makes learning it difficult. Even among Koreans, there is a lot of variation in how people speak the language so there is no single right way to say things.
Hangul in Korean is phonetic. The Korean alphabet is simple to master, with only twenty-four letters. While some writing systems appear to be hard to transcribe, Korean is simple. Even though many Chinese letters have phonetic features, Korean is completely phonetic. This makes it easy for anyone to learn how to read and write.
Korean has fewer sounds than English but more tones. This adds another dimension that makes learning Korean easier. In English, there are five basic sounds: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, and /u/. In Korean, there are nine basic sounds: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/, /y/, /ŋ/, /ə/, and /ɪ/. The number of possible combinations is large. Even after you account for the fact that some sounds are shared between words, this is still a lot of information to process when reading or writing.
Also, English spelling is not consistent. Some words are spelled differently depending on their meaning. For example, "to" can be spelled "to" or "tow". In Korean, every word has one correct spelling. If you make a mistake while typing or writing, you can never erase it later. This is called "wasting ink", because all your efforts were in vain since you can't change what you've written already.
The fact that Korean is not a tonal language makes it easier to learn than Mandarin or Vietnamese. Mandarin and Vietnamese, if I'm not incorrect, are both tonal languages (Mandarin has four tones and Vietnamese has six, if I'm not mistaken). If you know any IE language, learning Korean will be lot simpler (but not too easy).
Every country speaks a different dialect of Korean. Korean is also one of the two official languages in the People's Republic of China's Changbai Korean Autonomous County and the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. Korean is spoken by around 80 million people worldwide. It is the second most spoken language in Asia after Mandarin Chinese.
There are more than 100,000 Koreans living in China. They make up one of the largest Korean communities in the world. Most live in Shanghai and Beijing where they work as teachers, engineers, scientists, doctors, lawyers, businesspeople, and students. In South Korea, there are about 50,000 people who speak only Korean. They live mainly in Seoul and its surrounding areas.
Korean vocabulary is very similar to Chinese vocabulary. Because they share a common language, Koreans can understand Chinese characters (文字 Wénxù). They can also write Chinese characters (漢文 Hànwén) using Korean calligraphy. The opposite is not true - there are no languages in the world that sound exactly the same when written in cursive script. But because Korean uses the alphabetic system of writing, it is not difficult for a Chinese or Korean speaker to learn each other's languages.
In Japan, some Japanese people have begun to learn Korean as well. There are even some small groups of Koreans in Japan who speak only Korean.
The table below shows the Korean alphabet and how it is pronounced in English, as well as examples of how those letters might sound if they were placed in a word.
|Korean Alphabet||English Sound||Pronunciation Example|
|ㅎ||h (initial) t (final)||as in hand – rat|
|ㄲ||gg (initial) k (final)||as in great – back|
Korean features an uncommon consonant that is silent depending on where it sits in the syllable. This is because it has no sound when it is at the beginning of a syllable. On the other hand, it's pronounced [ng] at the end of a syllable. Thus, it behaves like a vowel.
This letter is called "silent g." It appears only in certain words and conjunctions and is not present in common phrases such as "hello," "how are you?" or "I understand."
When you see this letter, try to imagine how it would be sounded if it were a vowel. If it was near the beginning of a word, then it would be like the English "o" unless another consonant followed, in which case it would be like the German "ö". At the end of a word, it would be like the English "ing" except when it's before a vowel, when it would be like the English "s".
So, "o" is silent in Korean because it has no sound by itself. It can appear at the beginning or end of a word depending on the context.