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Consonants (Part 1)
In this first lesson well introduce three consonants, and one vowel. Well also learn how to combine consonants with vowels (just like other alphabets do) and create our first syllables.

What is it: This consonant () is pronounced similarly to a k or a g in English. However, it is not strong like an English k (as in the word kit), nor is it strong like an English g (as in the word great); instead, it is a softer sound between a k and a g. How to write it: Start from the top left, and draw a single line to the right, then curve down.

What is it: This vowel () is pronounced similarly to an a. This is similar to a in the words car, or law. Think of it as the ah sound when youve realized something. How to write it: Start from the top, and draw a single line down. Then draw a second, shorter line starting from the middle, and going to the right.

What is it: This consonant () is pronounced like an n, such as in the word now. How to write it: Start from the top, and draw a single line down, then curve right.

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What is it: This consonant () is pronounced similarly to a t or a d in English. However, it is not strong like an English t (as in the word ten), nor is it strong like an English d (as in dog); instead, it is a softer sound between a t and a d. How to write it: Start from the top left, and draw a line to the right. Then start a second line from the top left, going downward, and then curve right.

Your first syllables


Now lets take these 4 letters and see what we can do with them. If you remember, in Korean consonants combine with vowels to form syllables. A syllable consists of one vowel and at least one consonant. So far, weve learned one vowel () and three consonants (, , and ), so lets put them together and see what we can get. See if you can guess what they will sound like before reading the explanations.

+
has a sound between a k and a g, and has an ah sound, so this would combine to form a ka or ga sound. Remember that is not a strong k or g.

+
As is pronounced like an n, this would combine to form na.

+
As has a sound between a t and a d, this would combine to form a ta or da sound. Remember that is not a strong t or d. As many of the sounds in Korean do not have equivalents in English, it is difficult to write them using the English alphabet. You will soon see for yourself why mastering Hangul is

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Page 3 of 4 the best way to learn Korean. I highly recommend that you listen to the audio file for this lesson in order to hear for yourself what these syllables actually sound like.

How to form a syllable


Now that we know how consonants can combine with vowels to create sounds, lets go over how to actually write those in Korean. If you remember from the introduction lesson, Korean combines consonants and vowels together into individual blocks to form sounds. Here are the same previous three examples from above written as real Korean syllables.

, ,
As I mentioned before, Korean letters will form into blocks (i.e. syllables) consisting of one vowel and at least one consonant. In these three examples, each syllable consists of exactly one consonant (, , and ) and one vowel (). Blocks of syllables can form in many ways, depending on how many letters are used, and depending on what vowel is used. For the vowel , (which goes straight up and down), here is how you can attach a single consonant in front.

(C represents a consonant and V represents a vowel.)

Lets look at the first example from earlier, combining the consonant with the vowel .

Combining with would initially look like this in the block form. However, in order to make it look a little bit more natural (since we cant leave it looking like Tetris pieces), the is lengthened a bit to match the height of the vowel , as you see it here:

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Various styles of writing Hangul may cause this character to appear slightly different (just as there are different styles of writing English), but the overall rules of structuring consonants and vowels in boxes will still apply.

Conclusion
Weve still got more consonants and vowels to go over, but once youve started learning the basic rules for forming syllables, they will all become much simpler. Once again, I recommend that you check out the audio files of these lessons as well, in order to hear exactly what each of the syllables weve gone over today actually sound like. If you have any questions or feedback, or just want to say hello, feel free to contact me through my web site at http://www.gobillykorean.com

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