Pronounciation Basics

Korean is a really easy language to learn to read.

Let's start by talking about the basic layout of a word.

Every Korean word is made up of some number of syllables.

And each syllable is made up of 2 or 3 letters.

For example:


means hello!

It's made up of two syllables:

안 and 녕

Each syllable is three letters:

안 = ㅇ + ㅏ + ㄴ

녕 = ㄴ + ㅕ + ㅇ

Let's take a look at the second syllable:

The ㄴ makes a nn sound: like in none

The ㅕ makes a yu sound: like in young

The ㅇ is special - it can make two different sounds. When it's in the bottom position, like here, it makes the ng sound: like in tongue

So, all together, 녕 is pronounced nyung (rhymes with tongue).

We can also look at the first syllable:

Before, we said that the ㅇ is special. Here's why: before, it made a ng sound, but when it's here, in the top-left position, it makes no sound! It becomes, effectively, a placeholder.

The ㅏ makes an aa sound: like in bop

The ㄴ makes, like before, an nn sound.

All together, 안 is pronounced aan (rhymes with lawn).