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The first Korean letter you should learn is Bieup:

This is a consonant and it's pronounced as p or b. Listen to Bieup.

Of course you can't read anything with just this one consonant, so here's a vowel to go with it:

This is the vowel a as in father. Listen to it here.

Now, in order to combine them into a Korean character, all you have to do is to try to fit them into an
imaginary little square box. This is done by writing the letter ㅏ right next to ㅂ, like this:

Can you guess how this character is pronounced?

Move your mouse cursor over it and you'll see: it's pronounced "ba" and it's the Korean word for a bar.
Easy, isn't it?

Now, the next important letter is Nieun:

This is a regular n. Listen to Nieun.Can you guess how to write na now?

Every character represents one syllable, so if you wanted to write baba for example, you would need
two characters, one for each ba.

Now it's time for a little exercise. Try to read and understand the following word. As before, hover over
it in order to see the solution (you might need to allow Javascript)

Every Korean syllable has to start with a consonant. That makes it easy to identify the beginning and end
of syllables, but what about syllables that start with a vowel, such as the beginning of the famous
Korean greeting "annyong haseyo"? Those syllables need a placeholder consonant that isn't pronounced.
Since its influence on the pronunciation of the syllable is zero, it is written like a zero, too. (That's how
you can remember it anyway)

It is called Ieung. So the syllable a would actually be written as 아.

Here are some words for practise:

아바 name of a popular band

아바나 capital of Cuba

One more thing for today: it is possible to have syllables that end in a consonant. This typically occurs
when there is a cluster of two consonants in the middle of a word: one consonant then forms the end of
one syllable and the other forms the beginning of the next syllable. Fitting two consonants and a vowel
into a little square box is a little more tricky, but not impossible. In most cases you write the first
consonant + vowel next to each other as before and then put the final consonant below the two. For
example, this is the syllable ban, which has no meaning of its own:

Time for another exercise. Can you read the following? It's a name.

안나 personal name

Lesson 2
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

안남 name of Vietnam before it became 'Vietnam'

암만 capital city of Jordan

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.

Practise reading:

나미비아 country in Africa

빈 capital city of Austria

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

Here are lots of words to practise with:

바바라 personal name

이란 country that has been in the news much lately

리마 capital of Peru

마닐라 capital of the Philippines

말리 country in Africa

릴 big city in France

마일 distance measurement

리비아 country on the North coast of Africa

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

기니 another country in Western Africa

리가 capital of Latvia
알바니아 country in the Balkans

가이아나 country in South America

감비아 country almost enclosed by Senegal

Lesson 3

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

밀라노 city in Northern Italy

로마 capital of Italy

모로니 capital of Comoros

나이로비 capital of Kenya

일리노이 state of the USA

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

본 city in Western Germany

바이올린 music instrument

록 style of music

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

앙골라 country in Southern Africa

리옹 city in France

몽골 country north of China

볼링 hobby

Time for a new consonant: meet Digeut.

This letter is pronounced like a t or d. Here's a recording of Digeut.

Practise reading:

빌딩 a house, hall, skyscraper or the like

안도라 tiny country between France and Spain

인도 big country in Asia, former British colony

라디오 extremely popular before there was television

비디오 now being replaced by DVD

And here's Shiot:

Shiot is pronounced like an s. Listen to Shiot.

Here are words to practise with:

사나 capital of Yemen

시리아 country in the Middle East

미시간 state of the USA

소말리아 country in Eastern Africa

사담 former Iraqi ruler

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

아그라 city whose main attraction is the Taj Mahal

그리스 European country

그린란드 very cold country

아이슬란드 also very cold country

라오스 country in South-East Asia

아디스아바바 capital of Ethiopia

이슬라마바드 capital of Pakistan

리스본 capital in Europe

마드리드 another capital in Europe

오슬로 another European capital

시드니 city in Australia

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).



Lesson 4

Welcome back! This is the 4th lesson of "Learn to read, write and pronounce Korean". In this lesson
you'll learn the rest of the basic Korean letters and you will continue to use your knowledge actively in

The first new letter is the vowel U:

This is pronounced like the oo in boot. Listen to it here. This vowel is also wider than it is tall, so it goes
below the consonant rather than next to it.

Here are Korean words that contain this letter. As usual, move over the Korean words in order to see the

두바이 city in the United Arab Emirates

사우디아라비아 country in the Middle East

불가리아 country in Eastern Europe

루마니아 another country in Eastern Europe

온두라스 country in Central America

우간다 country in Africa

수리남 country in South America

And try to write the following words:

Rwanda (Ruanda)


Busan (second largest city in South Korea)



Ulsan (big city in Korea)

The next of the vowels you should learn is "eo". It makes a sound like the u in jug. Listen to it here.

Try to translate these Korean words.

더블린 capital of Ireland

런던 capital of the United Kingdom

서울 capital of South Korea

서비스 military ____

보일러 part of a central heating system

엄마 mum

Now try to write down the following words in Korean:

Samsung (samseung)



virus (remember what happens to 'v' in Korean!)

Now we'll learn about the vowel E. Since this vowel opens up really many new words, we'll use this for a
big revision.

This is the Korean letter E. It is pronounced as in bed.

Here are many words with this letter. First, practise reading:

봄베이 big city in India

게임 children like it

메일 letters

로메 capital of Togo

인도네시아 big country in South-East Asia

말레이시아 country near the previous country

레모네이드 refreshing drink

이스라엘 country in the Middle East

벨기에 multilingual country in Europe

덴버 capital of Colorado

방글라데시 small country near India

Second, practise writing:







Buenos Aires


El Salvador

Next I'd like you to meet the vowel AE:

This letter is pronounced like the a in land.

Words for practise:

마이애미 famous beach

댈러스 city in Texas

댄서 person who likes to move

랩 music style

앨라배마 sweet home

네바다 state known for gambling

And now write a few more:


San Diego (another i after the e)


Rhode Island

Second-to-last letter: hieut

Hieut is pronounced as an h. Listen to Hieut.

Some words with hieut:

바하마 popular holiday islands

헝가리 country in Europe

하라레 capital city of Zimbabwe

호놀룰루 city in Hawaii

햄버거 popular fast food

하우스 style of music

Practise writing Hieut:





The very last basic letter left is Jieut:

This letter is pronounced like j in journalist or like ch in chair. Here's an example: Jieut.

Read the following:

나이지리아 country in Africa

이미지 picture

엔진 car part

메시지 something I have to tell you

로스앤젤레스 city on the west coast of the USA

조지아 state on the east coast of the USA

개라지 they repair cars

오랜지주스 drink

루이지애나 state on the Gulf of Mexico

버지니아 state for lovers

Soju (traditional Korean drink)





Niger (3 syllables)


Lesson 5
Welcome back! It has taken me a while, but I finally found some time to work on this lesson again. Your
positive feedback convinced me that it would be worthwhile, that my lessons are read and appreciated.
By the way, I'd like to create similar lessons for other scripts, so if you know any, please contact me.
Let's start with the lesson. In this 5th lesson you are going to learn aspirated consonants and vowels
with Y.

The first aspirated letter you are going to learn is Kiuek:

Kiuek is pronounced as a forceful /k/ sound, transliterated as k' . Appearance-wise it is based on the soft
Giyeok (/g/ or /k/ sound), but with an extra horizontal line, making it look like a mirrored F.

Let's have a look at Korean words and names that you can read now:

캐나다 country in America

쿠바 country somewhere south of the above

이라크 country formerly known as Mesopotamia

클레스 unpopular with students

알코올 popular with students

바스켓볼 sport

카메라 must-have for a tourist

마다가스카르 country east of Africa

방콕 capital of Thailand

헬싱키 great city, if you like darkness

자메이카 country near #2

멕시코 country not too far from the above

Now practice your ability to write Korean. Keep in mind that any K-sound in these words will be an
aspirated K, a Kiuek.











Hong Kong

The second aspirated letter you'll learn is Tieut.

Tieut is pronounced as an aspirated /t/ . Just like Kiuek it's based on its softer version (Digeut) with an
extra horizontal line, making it look like an E or like a E with a disconnected top line in some fonts.

Here are some words featuring Digeut:

게이트 like a door

테니스 sport

스트레스 problem with having an important job

인터넷 it's worldwide

넥타이 worn by men

맨하탄 borough of a big city

아이티 country in the same area as Jamaica

이탈리아 origin of the Romans

오스트리아 home of many composers

이집트 home of some very old monuments

몰타 island country between Europe and Africa

아르헨티나 country in South America

Now some more straight-forward ones that you can write yourself. All Ts will be aspirated here.









This is the letter Pieup, an aspirated version of Bieup. It doesn't look quite as similar to its non-aspirated
version as the previous letters have, but it looks remarkably similar to Pi! This /p'/ sound often replaces
the F in foreign words, as Korean doesn't have an F sound.

Words featuring Pieup:

필름 movie

팩스 what they had before e-mail

오페라 some classical works

펜 use it to write

테이프 for recordings

파티 celebration

커피 drink

네팔 country in the Himalaya

프랑스 country known for love

파나마 country known for a canal

필리핀 Asian country that's an archipelago

포르투갈 European country

Now try to write the following, always using the letter Pieup. Don't worry if you transliterate some of
these words differently than Koreans do, they are not obvious:

La Paz

Paris (final letter is i)


São Paolo





The last aspirated letter that you haven't met yet is Chieut:

Chieut looks like Jieut with an extra horizontal line at the top, and, as you can guess, it's pronounced like
an aspirated version of Jieut. It's transliterated as ch' .

Chieut is rather uncommon in foreign-derived Korean words, so here are just a few words to practice

칠레 country in South America

벤치 a place to rest

스포츠 카 attracts girls?

찰리 채플린 famous person

매사추세츠 state of the USA

Now write the following in the Korean alphabet:




The last item in this lesson is actually not a letter, it's a set of letters:

ㅑㅒㅕㅖㅛ ㅠ

These letters are all variations of vowels that you have already learned except they each have two short
strokes instead of one. This is used to indicate that they are all pronounced with a preceding Y-sound: ya,
yae, yeo, ye, yo, yu. Easy, isn't it?

More words that you can read now:

메뉴 restaurant thing

슈퍼 with suffix -market

쇼핑 allegedly women love this

뮤지컬 sung theatre play

모가디슈 capital of Somalia

유타 popular with Mormons

케냐 East African country

예멘 Arab country

예루살렘 holy city

사라예보 Balkan capital

휴스턴 NASA place

뉴질랜드 country near Australia

현대 Korean company

평양 Korean capital

뉴햄프셔 state of the USA

컴퓨터 indispensable tool

And a final few words for you to write, involving the new letters:




New York

Nova Scotia