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Korean Alphabet (Hangeul)

Most English speakers think Korean has thousands of characters, like Chinese, but it actually has a very simple and logical alphabet, which you can learn in a few minutes. The alphabet was invented in 1443 during the reign of the Great King Sejong. There are 14 basic consonants and 10 basic vowels. Letters that have similar sounds also have similar shapes, so it is easy to learn.

The letters are grouped into syllable blocks containing an initial consonant (which may be silent or double), one or two vowels (below or to the right), and sometimes a final consonant (below). Now, can you "decode" these words?

You can hear how the letters are as indiana.edu/~koreanrs/hangul.html.

pronounced

on

other

web

sites,

such

Try to write your name in Korean. You can look up your name in Korean on other websites, such as chinese-tools.com/names/korean. You can find a lot more Korean on the web. Even if you are like me and don't know any Korean words, you can have still had fun "decoding" some words in a Korean text, such as words borrowed from English, the names of famous people, place names, and product brand names.

How to write Hangul

C C C C C

V V

V V C

C C

V C

The Chart House


Have you ever noticed how all the restaurants named The Chart House are ridiculously expensive? Just wondering. That has, of course, nothing to do with this page, which is a compendium of all the charts showing the Korean letters.

Consonants
Normal Aspirat ed Glottaliz ed

g/ k

kk

d/t

tt

p/ b

pp

ch

jj

ss

r/l

This consonant has no sound at the beginning of a syllable, and sounds like ng at the end of a syllable.

Vowels
You may click a vowel to hear it pronounced.
Vowels with y- counterparts.
a o u eo ae e ya yo yu yeo yae ye

Vowels with no y- counterpart.


eu i

Combined Syllables
If you read the following table from top to bottom, left to right, you will see the consonant-and-vowel syllables in alphabetical order. Note that there are empty entries in the table; these are syllables that don't exist in Korean words. This chart is not a chart of all possible Korean syllables (the ones that include a final consonant), as there are over 2500 of them. g gg n d dd l/r m b bb s ss ng j jj ch k t p h

a ae ya yae eo e yeo ye o wa wae oe yo u weo we wi yu eu ui


i

A Consonant Table
Norm Aspirat Glottaliz Here's a table of the consonants and their various forms and romanizations. Notice the pattern? The aspirated consonants have one extra horizontal line al ed ed

in them, and the glottalized ones are "doubled" versions of the normal consonant.

g/k d/t b/ p j s n r/l m h

k t

kk tt

The row outlined in yellow is a new consonant that you haven't seen before. Again, for pronunciation, the aspirated form is pronounced with an extraheavy puff of air. The glottalized version is pronounced without any release of air, but with "tightness" in the throat.

pp

ch

jj ss

The Diphthong Table


Korea Romaniz Pronounc n ed ed wi ui wa weo wae oe we as in we see note as in watt as in wall as in wear as in wet as in wet

Here is the table of the remaining diphthongs. Due to the loss of distinction between the vowel and , the last three rows are all pronounced pretty much the same in standard Korean speech. You may click the Korean vowel to hear it pronounced. Here's some extra information about how vowels combine into diphthongs.