Welcome back! This is the 2nd lesson of "Learn to read, write and pronounce Korean". In the last lesson, you already learned 4 letters: ㅂ, ㅏ, ㄴ and O. In this lesson, you will learn 4 new ones and combined with the ones you learned earlier they will open up quite a few Korean words to you.
The first new letter is Mieum:
This is pronounced just like a regular English m. Listen to Mieum. Be careful not to confuse its appearance with 'O', which has rounded corners rather than straight.
As an exercise, try to read the following Korean words that contain the letter Mieum. You can see the solutions by moving your mouse over the Korean word, as usual.
|마나마||capital city of Bahrain||ma-na-ma Manama|
|안남||name of Vietnam before it became 'Vietnam'||an-nam Annam|
|암만||capital city of Jordan||am-man Amman|
Are the As boring you yet? It's time to learn another vowel.
This is the vowel i. It is pronounced like the ee in meet. Listen to it here. The Korean letter looks much like the English letter I, so it's easy to remember. It also looks like the Korean letter for a, except that the dash to the right is missing. You will notice that a lot of Korean vowels are formed on the basis of one or two vertical lines with dashes attached to them, so memorise them well and don't get confused.
|나미비아||country in Africa||na-mi-bi-a Namibia|
|빈||capital city of Austria||bin Vienna (Wien)|
Now for a very important letter that will unlock lots of words to you: Rieul
This letter is pronounced like r or l, typically somewhere in between in true Asian fashion. Listen carefully: this is Rieul. According to the official Korean romanisation system, it is always transliterated as l.
Here are lots of words to practise with:
|바바라||personal name||ba-ba-ra Barbara|
|이란||country that has been in the news much lately||i-ran Iran|
|리마||capital of Peru||li-ma Lima|
|마닐라||capital of the Philippines||ma-nil-la Manila|
|말리||country in Africa||mal-li Mali|
|릴||big city in France||lil Lille|
|마일||distance measurement||ma-il mile|
|리비아||country on the North coast of Africa||li-bi-a Libya|
The last letter for this lesson shall be Giyeok:
This letter is pronounced like g or k. Listen to Giyeok. Be careful not to confuse it with ㄴ. When this letter is combined with a vowel such as a or i, it changes shape slightly. See the syllable gi for instance: 기.
Words for practise:
|가나||country in Western Africa||ga-na Ghana|
|기니||another country in Western Africa||gi-ni Guinea|
|리가||capital of Latvia||ri-ga Riga|
|알바니아||country in the Balkans||al-ba-ni-a Albania|
|가이아나||country in South America||ga-i-a-na Guyana|
|감비아||country almost enclosed by Senegal||gam-bi-a Gambia|
Did you have any major difficulty reading the practise words for this lesson? No? Very good! You have now learned 8 Korean letters already and the rest won't be difficult either. Feel free to continue with the next lesson.