Write your name in Korean! (한글 part 2: Appearance, Sound, and Structure)

Today is: 5워 26일; 금요일

The Consonants:

Consonants are a bit more complicated than vowels because they can have a different sound, depending on where they are in the word. Also, keep in mind that the pronunciations are a pretty loose interpretation due to various dialects.

Name Hangul (한글) Pronunciation at the…
Start of a word Start of a syllable End of a word
기역 (giyok) k (kite) g (ghost) k (walk)
쌍기역 (ssang giyok)  ㄲ g (gone)
니은 (nieun)  ㄴ n (now)
디귿 (digeut)  ㄷ t (talk) d (mind) t (hot)
쌍디귿 (ssang digeut)  ㄸ d (dog)
리을 (rieul) r (run) l (real)
미음 (mieum) m (mop) m (hum)
비읍 (bieup) p (pool) b (bay) p (lap)
쌍비읍 (ssang bieup) b (bird)
시옷 (siot) s (show) t (hot)
쌍시옷 (ssang siot) s (sun) t (hot)
이응 (ieung) silent ng (ring)
지읒 (jieut) ch (chop) j (jar) t (hot)
쌍지읒 (ssang jieut) j (jim) t (hot)
치읓 (chieut) ch (itch) t (hot)
키읔 (kieuk) kh (khaki)
티읕 (tieut) t (tip) t (hot)
피읖 (pieup) p (pit) p (lap)
히읕 (hieut) h (hot) silent

The Vowels:

I got these charts from zKorean, so I can’t tell you why the vowels don’t have names. The names aren’t really important anyway, so don’t worry about it.

Hangul (한글) Pronunciation
ah (Rah)
uh (run)
oh (dough)
 ㅜ oo (moon)
 ㅡ uh (brook)
ee (meek)
ae (at)
eh (met)
yah (yawn)
yuh (yum)
 ㅛ yoh (yodel)
 ㅠ yoo (view)
yae (yak)
yeh (yes)
 ㅘ wah (wand)
 ㅙ wae (wax)
 ㅝ wuh (wonder)
weh (web)
weh (wait)
wee (week)
uey (suey)

Syllable Construction:

Syllables always begin with a consonant, followed by a vowel. It could just stop there or there could be another vowel or consonant (or both.)

A vowel can never start off a syllable, so if it sounds like it does, it probably begins with the silent ㅇ.

The first consonant begins at the top or left of the “syllable square” and the vowel(s)/consonant(s) follow, going toward the right or bottom. Just like reading English, you always go from the right to the left and top to bottom.

This right to left/top to bottom rule also applies to writing. They say to always write the characters like this because your Korean writing will become more natural. Then, even your quick, messy writing will be legible to Koreans.

This picture should help make sense of all of those structure rules:


If you’re more of an audio+visual learner (or if I am making absolutely no sense), Hana Hana Hangul helped me a lot!

Now you can write your name, following the rules that you just learned! In 한글, my name is 버리아 (buh-ri-ah)

버리아 = Bria!


Try your own name in the comments, using this easy-to-use Korean keyboard. (resources post coming soon!) Hit caps lock or shift for the double consonants and vowels (ㅃ, ㅉ, ㄸ, ㄲ, ㅆ, ㅒ, and ㅖ)

That’s it for step one: Hangul! From here on out (after the resource posts), expect grammar, vocabulary, and whatever random fun things I can think of.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다! (Thank you for reading!)


오늘의 노래: 

한글 part 1: History

The first thing you should know when learning Korean is the Hangul (한글) alphabet and I will be covering it in about two or three posts. With this one, I just want to briefly introduce it in order to kind of put a name to the face, so to speak, and give you some background.hangul

Some facts about the Korean alphabet:

  • Hangul is actually the easiest part of learning Korean; it is considered to be one of the most efficient alphabets in the world.
  • It was originally called “Hunmin chong-um”, which literally meant “the correct sounds for the instruction of the people.”
  • It was created under King Sejong during the Choson Dynasty (1393-1910) because he hated the fact that the common people, who could not understand the complicated Chinese characters that were being used by the educated, were not able to read and write.

    “Being of foreign origin, Chinese characters are incapable of capturing uniquely Korean meanings. Therefore, many common people have no way to express their thoughts and feelings. Out of my sympathy for their difficulties, I have created a set of 28 letters. The letters are very easy to learn, and it is my fervent hope that they improve the quality of life of all people.” –King Sejong, at some point.

(Chinese has thousands of characters, so thank God for good ol’ King Sejong)
  • Only 24 of the original 28 characters are used today
  • A Korean syllable is divided into three parts: Ch’osong (initial consonant), chungsong (peak vowel), and chongsong (final consonant).
  • Hangul is (technically) supposed to be written starting toward the top-left and continuing down and to the right. (See below if that made no sense.) To me, as long as it’s legible, I don’t care. Nobody is going to stand over my shoulder and force me to write a certain way!


And that’s pretty much it: your intro to Hangul! I’ll see you in part 2 for Appearance & Sound where you’ll learn how to pronounce each character (and maybe even write your name!)

나중에 봐요! (See you later) 👋👋

오늘의 제 2노래 (today’s 2nd song): Young Heart by Witches