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More Pronunciation Rules

Here are a few more pronunciation rules. It is important to keep this in mind:

All these rules exist to make things easier to pronounce.

All the rules you've already learned plus these new ones are there to make the flow of Korean easier. And once you start getting the hang of it, these rules/simplifications will start to come to you naturally.

Pat'chim simplification
Listen to this example:

igot (this)

Notice how the final Pat'chim consonant sounds like a "t" even though it is written "s"? Why would you change the pronunciation? The reason is related to the Pat'chim swallowing rule you learned in the lesson Complex Blocks. When the final consonant is a Pat'chim you move your mouth to make the sound of the Pat'chim but you never make the final breath of air that articulates the sound.

Try this. Without making any sound, make your mouth in the shape to make a "t" sound, basically just make your tongue touch the top of your mouth. Easy right? Now, make your mouth in the shape to make an "s" sound without actually making any noise. It's more work right? You need to round your lips and tense up your face.

Now listen to this example:


Notice how the "t" in "mashitda" flows into the following "d". But the actual spelling is "mashisda" with an "s". But if you try saying that you will notice that the "s" doesn't flow into the "d" as smoothly. In order to make the pronunciation of Pat'chim smooth, Korean has a rule that certain Pat'chim consonants are replaced by other consonants that are easier to pronounce.

Note: this rule does not apply if the Pat'chim is followed directly by a vowel (The Consonant Shift rule) or when the next rule (Nasal Assimilation) applies.

Pat'chim Simplification
ㅌ, ㄸ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, ㅊ
ㅋ, ㄲ

If you look at the chart you can see that all the Tense/Double consonants as well as the Aspirated consonants get simplified to their plain variant in the Pat'chim possition which isn't surprising. What is surprising is that the variations on the letter get simplified to.

Remember: The Consonant Shift Rule and Nasal Assimilation Rule take precedence over the Pat'chim Simplification Rule.

Nasal Assimilation
Here is another rule that comes from trying to make Korean easier to pronounce. Listen to this example:

(thank you)

Notice how it's pronounced "kamsahamnida" even though it is written "kansahapnida"? In other words the Pat'chim for "p" is pronounced "m".

This is because of a rule called Nasal Assimilation that happens whenever a Pat'chim consonant occurs before or .

Pat'chim Simplification
ㅂ, ㅍ
ㄷ, ㅌ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㅎ
ㄱ, ㅋ, ㄲ

You've already seen an example of the first simplification. Here are examples of the other two.

kungmin (people)

In this example the Pat'chim for "k" changes to "ng".

toenmun (shutter)

And in this example the Pat'chim for "s" changes to "n".