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Alphabet/Hangul Pronunciation

edited August 2014 in Korean
I'm trying to learn Hangul but one thing doesn't make sense to me , The pronunciation . It tells me the pronunciation of giyok is g,k ... but when i listen to it it doesn't make a g,k sound its says giyok does it mean that's actually how you would say it while your reading or does it mean the way they say the g and the k in giyok is how you pronounce it please help me i hope you can understand what I'm saying!


  • edited September 2014
    Hello there,  
    This is Ji, a Korean instructor, and I understand your frustration. If I understood your question correctly, it actually involves two different issues here; first, the book tells you that ㄱ is pronounced either g or k, but when you listen to the sound, it instead says giyeok. So, what is the right way to pronounce the letter ㄱ and what does it mean that it has two different sounds? 
    First, let me say a few different things about Korean in comparison with English. While English has two different sounds, g and k, which have different corresponding letters, Korean does not. In fact, some consonants have three distinctions, for instance, ㄱ, ㅋ, ㄲ. The sound of last letter ㄲ does not exist in English, so you must get familiar with it. The middle one, ㅋ, has a similar sound to k, but with stronger aspiration, like very strong k. On the other hand, the first letter, ㄱ, the one that you asked, has a sound somewhere between g and k, as it stands, yet its pronunciation varies depending on where this letter is put inside a real word. In a nut shell, when it is the onset/beginning of a syllable, it is close to k (but not quite k, so let's say weak k). If it follows a vowel, then it is influenced by the vowel, so it is pronounced g (if you know what liaison is in French, this should make sense). 
    The book says ㄱ is pronounced as giyeok (기역 in Korean, by the way). It is simply the way how you pronounce the letter in the Korean alphabet system. For instance, in English, the letter k has sound of [k], but when you separately say it as a letter, you pronounce it [kei], right? In fact, the way to pronounce each letter in Hangeul is quite informative; it actually tells you how each letter has various sounds in different positions inside a word; like the beginning of a word, after a vowel, and the final position inside a word. 
    Does this help you a little bit? 
    Please don't hesitate to ask any other questions if you have, and I hope to meet/see you through LL Korean online!
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