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Korean Alphabet Chart

Updated on November 3, 2013

The Korean Alphabet

The Korean alphabet scares a lot of new learners of the language--it's so foreign looking! Don't worry, though. It's actually quite easy to learn. It has 10 vowels, 14 consonants, and 11 diphthongs. Don't know what a diphthong is? Now worries--neither do most other people!

Diphthongs are the sounds created when two vowels are combined. For example, say the word "boil" out loud? Did you pronounce each letter when you said it? No, you pronounced the the "b," the "oi" and the "l." The "oi" (2 combined vowels) is a diphthong. The sound it makes is, well, just say the word again and you'll see for yourself! It's kind of an "oy" sound.

That's it! Nothing to be afraid of.


Korean Alphabet Chart 1

Source

There are a few tricky things to consider. For example, look at the consonants. Many of them have different sounds based on whether they are an initial (at the beginning of the word) or a final (at the end of the word.

Also, while the consonants are pretty easy to learn using the letters from the English alphabet, the vowels and diphthongs don't really translate over too well.

To master those, I recommend using a Korean alphabet chart that has full audio capabilities, like this one.

Use the chart below to learn how to pronunce combinations of Korean vowels and consonants.

With this chart be aware that you are only going to be speaking the "initial" sounds of the consonants. "Final" sounds are not included, as there are no full words in the chart. Also, again, be aware that you really should use a Korean Alphabet chart with audio when mastering the sounds of each letter.

This is very important because pronunciation mistakes learned at this very beginning stage will stick with you for a long time, and the longer you have them, the harder they are to get ride of!


Best of luck with your new Korean language learning endeavor!

History

Before hangul Koreans used Chinese characters to put their thoughts down on paper. That all changed in 1444 when Hangul was officially completed. The project was commissioned and overseen by Korea's KIng Sejong.

The purpose of the new Korean alphabet was to increase the Korean literacy rate. At the time, only educated, middle and upper class citizens could read and write, mostly due to the complexity of Chinese characters.

With this new, simple, and phonetic alphabet that could be learned in just a matter of days or hours, Korean literacy rates rose dramatically. Of course, some were not so accepting. Many elite scholars campaigned against the new system of writing, most likely because it lowered their own status, that of being literate.

With the rise of Korean TV dramas, movies, and singing superstars, the Korean language is quickly becoming a widely accepted and even popular language to learn.

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      Jinni 7 months ago

      Nice thanks for this, i always have problems remembering the combinations...

      For anyone who wants to learn hangul with a game, you can go here: http://dandani.eu/language/korean_hangul_game

      it helped me to learn hangul very fast in like an hour or so i could remember most of the characters.

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