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[Korean Pronunciation Guide] 받침의 발음 Part 1

Taken from 표준어 규정 ->   제2부 표준 발음법 ->   제4장 받침의 발음

This is part of a running series of the rules and guide to the standard Korean pronunciation by the Korean government, known as the 표준어 규정. It’s readily available on various sites in Korean, but I have yet to come across an English guide that translates all the rules. I have been translating bits and pieces of it but it is still best to read the original Korean version. ^^ Translating them helps me to remember and hopefully it will be helpful to you all too (: Please refer to the original guide where all examples are taken from.

제 10 항 Double 받침 ‘ㄱㅅ’ ‘ㄴㅈ’ ‘ㄹㅂ’ ‘ㄹㅅ’ ‘ㄹㅌ’ ‘ㅂㅅ’ are pronounced as ‘ㄱ ㄴ ㄹ ㅂ’ respectively when it comes before a consonant or when it is the final sound

넋[넉] 넓다[널따] 없다[업ː따] 넋과[넉꽈] 외곬[외골] 앉다[안따] 핥다[할따] 여덟[여덜] 값[갑]

However, there is an exception and 밟 is pronounced as [밥] in front of a consonant and 넓 is pronounced as [넙] in certain circumstances.

(1) 밟다[밥ː따] 밟게[밥ː께] 밟소[밥ː쏘] 밟고[밥ː꼬] 밟지[밥ː찌] 밟는[밥ː는→밤ː는]
(2) 넓-죽하다[넙쭈카다]      넓-둥글다[넙뚱글다]

제 11 항 Double 받침 ‘ㄹㄱ’ ‘ㄹㅁ’ ‘ㄹㅍ’ are pronounced as ‘ㄱ,ㅁ,ㅂ’ respectively in front of another consonant or when it is the final sound

However, when ㄹㄱ,functioning as final sound in a word stem, is followed by ㄱ it is pronounced as ㄹinstead.

맑게[말께] 묽고[물꼬] 읽거나[일꺼나]

Interesting right? The guide did not state the reason for such exceptions but I’m really interested to find out the linguistic explanations (if there is) to this.

p.s. I don’t understand why I’ve never seen a good complete guide / translation of the pronunciation rules. ‘Sounds of Korean’ is the best I’ve seen so far, but still not complete enough. The lack of such materials in English is probably the reason why many people think Korean is ‘easy to pronounce’. Come to think of it, most Korean teachers I’ve come across never seem to explain the complexity of Korean pronunciation (or at least tell the students it’s not that easy).

I don’t think beginner students should be taught all these at one go but I think it’s necessary for the teacher to emphasize the fact that Korean pronunciation is not as easy as it looks. Perhaps then, I wouldn’t have to hear so many people say ‘after a few lessons I can read Korean already! It’s super easy!!’ Yeah… sure.

Any thoughts on this?

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  • Reply
    23 July, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    I guess maybe the reason pronunciation guides like these don’t exist because usually when korean learners start wanting to know all these pronunciation changes, they are already at a more intermediate/advanced level and the material is available elsewhere in Korean. I’d still prefer if there was an English pronunciation guide though.

    I had a look through the korean website and wow O_O that’s a lot of stuff to remember! I wonder if Koreans naturally absorb all this information the more they talk/read, or if they have to refer to a guide like we do. Maybe a bit of both.

    Looking forward to more pronunciation guides!

    • Reply
      23 July, 2011 at 1:55 PM

      I think it’s natural for them, especially those who are born in Seoul. The people in other cities who learnt another dialect when they were young may have to refer to such guides sometimes (i think). I agree these changes have to be introduced at a higher level, but I wish people will at least have a concept that there IS such complex sound changes, instead of thinking it’s so easy.

      • Reply
        26 July, 2011 at 1:34 PM

        But, There are quite many things that we don’t even know how to pronounce correctly.
        Moreover, one of them (만날) is the thing that i haven’t know so far.^^

  • Reply
    24 July, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    These posts are helpful. 🙂

    Anyway, there’s a decent book called 외국인을 위한 한국어 발음 that comes with 6 CDs. It does go through and explain a lot of things, but ironically all of its explanations are in Korean.

    I feel like these are things that students will pick up naturally (maybe? I think I’m being too optimistic) if they do tons of listening and conversing with Koreans. But then, spelling is what may become difficult.

    • Reply
      24 July, 2011 at 10:34 AM

      Sounds good ^^ I shall go check out the book if i happen to see it somewhere. xD
      Yeah i don’t believe in memorizing too. I just read the rules to better understand what I’m hearing. (to make sure that my ears arent gone wrong and its really a sound change at work!)

  • Reply
    24 July, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    Is stopped learning korean few years ago, because those pronunciation rules was quite hard for me. And didin’t find enought information in english. It is quite sad.

    But now I’m happy that I have already learned Hanguel and hopefully I most important pronunciation rules.

    I think this is quite good, but still not completed. http://learn-korean.livejournal.com/227297.html

    • Reply
      24 July, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      That’s a nice site! The basic sound changes are all covered. Thanks for sharing ^^ Don’t try to memorise these rules, just understand them and see how they are applied when you listen to Korean

  • Reply
    2 December, 2011 at 5:39 AM

    UGH THANK YOU! I was looking everywhere to see how 읽 is pronounced. Google lead me straight to you ^_^ Ironically, I already read your blog often, so I guess I should have thought to come ask you first anyway, lol.

    • Reply
      2 December, 2011 at 6:44 PM

      ㅋㅋㅋ thanks~ let me know if u have other questions. i’ll try to help!

  • Reply
    10 August, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Here comes the correct source of the rules, from 국립국어원. There are also the linguistic explanations for each rules but it’s really difficult to understand. Hope this helps 🙂

  • Reply
    30 April, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    I definitely agree with you that Korean pronunciation is tough. You mentioned that Sounds of Korean is the only English book available, but it is not complete. Is it still worth reading it though? Thanks!

    • Reply
      30 April, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      definitely! (:

  • Reply
    11 July, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    There is a site here where you can check your Korean , especailly get help with pronunciation tips from the Korean tutors on the site. The way they talk go through each rule step by step really helps : http://www.korean-courses.com/korean-pronunciation-rules/

    I hope this helps you get a little more understanding, because trying to cram all of these rules into your brain is pretty tricky, right?

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