Pronunciation of ㅓ

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by Demurral, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. Demurral Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish

    I have found myself lost trying to pronounce this Korean vocal.

    First off, on the website omniglot, they say that is pronounced [ʌ]. (wich I don't know how to pronounce it).

    In a book of mine of the series "teach yourself", it is said that is pronounced like the "o" in "hot", that is [ɔ] .(I heard the pronounciation of 여 on a website and this is the sound I recognized).

    My question is: If, to my Catalan ears, Korean [
    ɔ] sounds the same as catalan [ɔ], can I trust them (my ears, i mean) and "save myself" learning a new sound? or it is just that I don't now how to differenciate them but that they are indeed different?

    I would like to know as many "native" opinions as possible. Thank you!!
  2. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    仏(佛)法語צרפתית Clodoaldien
    Prononciation of Korean may sound difficult.
    One reason is that contrary to Japanese, which has only basic Latin vowels (hence the Hepburn transcription, based on Latin/Italian) a,i,u,é,o, Korean has more vowels and in that respect, is closer to French (and maybe to Catalan also, in a way, as Catalan is in-between Castillan and French, as far as I think I know).
    So Korean will have vowels very similar to the French "e", "eu", "u" (not ou) , so ㅓ will be like [ɔ] in French cote (as opposed to côte [o]).
    Korean has also é and è, whereas Japanese has only é.
  3. Demurral Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    If found that korean has no È sound, but [ae], as in stand. if it can be pronounced as è, Korean only has one sound I don't know! ^^.

    Please clarify me this. Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2008
  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    And like Catalan "ò". :)
  5. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    仏(佛)法語צרפתית Clodoaldien
    My knowledge of Korean phonetics is limited. I was told that there were two é (é and è), but maybe the second "è" can be read a bit differently.
    Let's see (and hope) that some native speaker will show up to enlighten us.
  6. Demurral Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    I went further on my research. Korean ha ó ò é and è, or, at least similar sounds to that of Catalan. It only has a dificult vowel, eu, that sounds like...I don't-now-what.

    Thanks to all of you!
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2008
  7. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    仏(佛)法語צרפתית Clodoaldien
    Well, we are a bit speculating here, and would need some enligthened opinion, but, in the meantime, my "explanations " (tentatively) in post 2 stand.
    For eu, I think of the French eu, as in deux, feu, bleu (deux being different from de). Catalan (which is close to Provençal and French) also seems to have "eu" but probably pronounced closer to "u" than "e" (not é).
  8. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I believe Catalan "eu" is a diphthong, [ɛu̯]. According to Wikipedia, Korean "eu" is the back vowel [ɯ], not found in French or Catalan.

    Incidentally, a web search for "Korean phonology" turns up some interesting results. ;)
  9. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    仏(佛)法語צרפתית Clodoaldien
    Useful information, kamsa hamnida.
  10. Demurral Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    I thank it to you too, outsider!!
  11. branchsnapper Member

    English - South England
    You would really need a fluent bilingual in order to answer these questions. It is better to listen carefully to the vowel on a tape and come to your own judgement. It is unlikely to be exactly like a vowel in a second language.

    If there is much of a difference between the e like sounds of ㅔ and ㅐ then I certainly can't hear it, and I believe that Koreans don't always make the distinction.
  12. Demurral Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish

    I heard the sounds in this page : (vowel section, click the vowels)

    I do hear the diference...maybe its because I relate the phonemes to my mother languages but...è is a sweeter, warmer sound...a velvety sound. XD É is more direct, without roundabouts...

    Althougth it is harder for me to differenciate them, ó and ò also do sound different to each other.

    Thank you all for your help. I suppose I could keep ourselves from this thread if I had had a little more patiency.
  13. soupdragon78

    soupdragon78 Senior Member

    England English
    To me the Korean vowel sounds a lot like the e in the Catala word senyor:

    Perdoni, senyor, el punt de trobada?
    Prdoni, snyor, l punt d trobad?

    A bit like the schwa sound in English, well that's how I've been pronouncing it anyway. I'm still a long way from perfect in either language...
  14. Demurral Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    Does the schwa sound "passable" representing the Korean û to a Korean ear? Have you got "firsthand" information?^^

    If it is so...There's no "strange" sound in Korean I didn't know yet. ^^
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2008
  15. soupdragon78

    soupdragon78 Senior Member

    England English
    It's definitely passable. I think you're in luck with the Korean sounds. :)
    I'll send you a link in a private message to a video with the pronunciation of each letter in the alphabet.
    Good luck with the studies.

  16. Demurral Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    Thanks you all, guys. I'm finding the CD of Teach yourself...but someday I will start with korean with all the intention.
  17. Mack&Mack Senior Member

    Korea & Korean
    I'm sorry I didn't read all the posts above, but the answer I can give you offhand is ㅓ sounds like "u" in "bus" or "cut".

    Hope this helps. =)
  18. Mack&Mack Senior Member

    Korea & Korean
    I am far from a fluent bilingual, but I agree with the point that Koreans don't always make the distiction. I don't either make or hear the distinction between ㅔ and ㅐ.

    Hope this helps. =)
  19. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    仏(佛)法語צרפתית Clodoaldien
    That would be like French é and è (the distinction of which is somewhat lost, nowadays).
  20. nhk9 Member

    Canada English
    Notice that some Korean romanization systems represent ㅐ with 'ae'. The IPA of it, however, is [ɛ]

    distinction between ㅔ and ㅐ:

    The difference is exactly the same as the ones between the future and conditional forms for some French verbs (eg. pourrai vs. pourrais). The first one is (or should be) produced with an [e], the second one with [ɛ].
  21. astlanda Senior Member

    Estonian maamurre
    Listen to the tapes or go to Korea.

    I spent 2 years in Busan & I believe, that I can hear & pronounce it good enough.
    Though I am not perfect.

    ㅓis something between Spanish a / o AND Catalan e (in "el Catalan") (I've heard this phrase from my Mallorquin Spanish teacher, but it's almost all, what I know about Catalan.)

    (ㅓ= 'oe') The other vowel, which is transliterated as "o" is closer to Spanish "u".

    으 is something between Spanish (or rather Japanese) u and Catalan e.

    The difference between Korean ㅔ and ㅐis explained by French above. You may try with German & Swedish e and ä as well. Though they are not the same & a lot of Koreans themselves can't distinguish those vowels.

    etc. etc

    The Korean pronunciation is so unclear, that even Koreans can't sometimes get 100% of what was sayd & BE SURE that speaking to a Korean you will NOT try to pronounce it clearly and SLOWLY. It would be the worst mistake. Korean MUST be spoken QUICKLY.
    They'll understand you regardless to your mistakes, but slow speech won't be recognized as Korean for them. They'll think you're speaking some other language, unfamiliar to them.

    What I always wondered, was the fact that Koreans often said, that Bangladeshis were the best Korean speakers, even thoug to my ears their pronounciation (& grammar) was awful. They just grasped the right speed & the wrong sounds (for my ear) were good enough for Koreans.
  22. Homo en koreio New Member

    People with a native languages (includes koreans) so hard to distinguish where the native language doesn't. Just sound [ʌ] and [ɔ] both.
  23. Rance Senior Member

    ㅓ is categorized as 후설모음.
    후설(literally - back of tongue) or 전설 (front of tongue) are categories which indicate which part of tongue is highest upon pronouncing the word/letter.
    You can go to this link to see other vowel sounds which belong to 후설모음.
    Among them, there are further sub-categorized into: 고모음(High pitch vowel), 중모음(Medium pitch), 저모음(Low pitch).
    These indicate the relative positioning of the tongue(in this case the back side of the tongue).
    In other words, how small or big the opening is formed at the back side of the tongue determines the sound of these vowels - higher positioning, smaller the opening, thus higher the pitch.
    ㅏ being the biggest opening, ㅓ being medium and ㅡ being smallest.

    That being said, try to pronounce 아 first.
    You'll notice your jaw is dropped down and your back side of tongue is highest among other parts of the tongue.
    Now slightly raise the the backside which will convert 아 to 어.
    If you have trouble, try to slightly close your mouth.
    Or without moving your jaw try rolling the tip of tongue downward so that it can touch the bottom of your mouth.
    By doing so, it will slightly raise the backside of the tongue, creating smaller aperture to sound 어.

    Anyhow as you can see in the above link, ㅓ should sound slightly higher pitch compared to both [ʌ] and [ɔ] (but not by much).


Share This Page