Welcome back! This is the 3rd lesson of "Learn to read, write and pronounce Korean". In the previous two lessons, you already learned a total of 8 letters. In this lesson, you will learn 4 additional basic letters, many new Korean words and you will begin to use your knowledge actively in writing, rather than just reading.
The first new letter is the vowel O:
This is pronounced like the oa in boat. Listen here. Since this vowel is much wider than it is tall (unlike the vowels you have learned so far), it would be difficult to fit it next to a consonant in a little square box. That is why it has to go below the consonant, saving much space this way.
As an exercise, try to read the following Korean words that contain the letter O. As usual, move your cursor over the Korean word in order to see the solution appear.
|오만||Arab country||o-man Oman|
|밀라노||city in Northern Italy||mil-la-no Milan|
|로마||capital of Italy||lo-ma Rome|
|모로니||capital of Comoros||mo-lo-ni Moroni|
|나이로비||capital of Kenya||na-i-lo-bi Nairobi|
|일리노이||state of the USA||il-li-no-i Illinois|
Even when the vowel is already below the consonant, it is still possible to add another consonant below that vowel in order to have a syllable that ends in a consonant. Examples:
|볼리비아||country in South America||bol-li-bi-a Bolivia|
|본||city in Western Germany||bon Bonn|
|바이올린||music instrument||ba-i-ol-lin violin|
|록||style of music||lok rock|
It is also possible to have o at the end of a syllable. "Wait a minute! Didn't you say that this consonant is just a placeholder?" When it comes at the beginning of a syllable, it is just a placeholder enabling the syllable to start with a vowel. When it comes at the end of a syllable, it is pronounced like the ng in ring. Practise reading these words now:
|가봉||country in Western Africa||ga-bong Gabon|
|앙골라||country in Southern Africa||ang-gol-la Angola|
|리옹||city in France||li-ong Lyon|
|몽골||country north of China||mong-gol Mongolia|
Time for a new consonant: meet Digeut.
This letter is pronounced like a t or d. Here's a recording of Digeut.
|빌딩||a house, hall, skyscraper or the like||bil-ding building|
|안도라||tiny country between France and Spain||an-do-ra Andorra|
|인도||big country in Asia, former British colony||in-do India|
|라디오||extremely popular before there was television||la-di-o radio|
|비디오||now being replaced by DVD||bi-di-o video|
And here's Shiot:
Shiot is pronounced like an s. Listen to Shiot.
Here are words to practise with:
|사나||capital of Yemen||sa-na Sana'a|
|시리아||country in the Middle East||si-ri-a Syria|
|미시간||state of the USA||mi-si-gan Michigan|
|소말리아||country in Eastern Africa||so-mal-li-a Somalia|
|사담||former Iraqi ruler||sa-dam Saddam|
The last letter for this lesson is:
This vowel looks just like an ordinary horizontal line. It is much wider than tall, so it is also written below the preceding consonant rather than next to it. It's pronunciation is a bit strange, somewhat like the French u or the German ü. It's between the English oo and ee sounds. The u in the English word mure is probably one of the closest examples of the sound in English. It's hard to describe sounds like this, so why don't you just listen to it here. In words of foreign origin, it is often an in-between sound used to make consonant clusters more pronounceable for the Koreans. (i.e. It is used as a neutral vowel sound; it even sounds like schwa.) It is transcribed as eu.
Words for practise:
|보스니아||Balkan country||bo-seu-ni-a Bosnia|
|아그라||city whose main attraction is the Taj Mahal||a-geu-ra Agra|
|그리스||European country||geu-ri-seu Greece|
|그린란드||very cold country||geu-lin-lan-deu Greenland|
|아이슬란드||also very cold country||a-i-seul-lan-deu Iceland|
|라오스||country in South-East Asia||la-o-seu Laos|
|아디스아바바||capital of Ethiopia||a-di-seu-a-ba-ba Addis Ababa|
|이슬라마바드||capital of Pakistan||i-seul-la-ma-ba-deu Islamabad|
|리스본||capital in Europe||li-seu-bon Lisbon|
|마드리드||another capital in Europe||ma-deu-ri-deu Madrid|
|오슬로||another European capital||o-seul-lo Oslo|
|시드니||city in Australia||si-deu-ni Sydney|
Having been able to read all these words, do you think you could guess how to write "Asmara"(the capital of Eritrea) in Korean? Try to write it down. Hint: since syllables can't end in s, this name has four syllables in Korean: a-seu-ma-ra. Here's another one to try to write down: "Madras"(ma-deu-ra-seu).
|Asmara||a-seu-ma-ra -> 아스마라|
|Madras||ma-deu-ra-seu -> 마드라스|
Are you still with me? If you didn't have trouble with this lesson, you are ready to go on to lesson 4, where you will learn the rest of the simple letters and continue practising your writing skills.