English word equivilents to 어 and 오?

JacOfHearts

New Member
English
Hey everyone! I have a favor to ask!

What words in English have the Korean sounds 오 and 어?

What I mean is like, "오 is like 'o' sound in the word _____"

I know the sounds are similar-ish... I could never find a solid way to remember the difference between them (teaching yourself a language with books can have its drawbacks...)

Help please? ^_^
 
  • terredepomme

    Senior Member
    Korean
    The best way is to learn IPA.
    Comparing the phonetic elements of a foreign language with your own does not really work well.
    But to answer your question, I don't think 오 has an equivalent in English.
    It is not like the O in "so." To transcribe the long O it would be something like 오우.
    The equivalent of 오 would be the French word eau(water), but the latter is shorter.
    어 is like uh in "huh," but shorter.
     
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    kenjoluma

    Senior Member
    Korean
    오 as in
    on, porn, horn, loan

    어 as in
    umbrella, utter, butter, appropriate

    Linguists hate this kind of questions -- FYI I don't -- because it's not the most accurate way to teach pronunciations.
     

    terredepomme

    Senior Member
    Korean
    오 as in
    on, porn, horn, loan
    No.
    On = /ɑ/, /ɔ/ (US) /ɒ/ (UK)
    porn, horn = /ɔ/
    loan = /oʊ/ (US) /əʊ/ (UK)
    오 = /oː/

    I searched for the English equivalent of these phoneme and the only one I got was the Australian/New Zealand pronunciation of caught [kʰoːt].
    So unless you hail from Oceania, you can't really use your knowledge of English in pronouncing this sound.
    I saw in your profile that you learned French in school. As mentioned, the sound is same as the French -eau, and also -au(faux, vaut, sauter) and -o(météo, radio, omettre), but in this case it is a short vowel (/o/). So if you pronounce this sound a bit longer(i.e. not as "cutting" as in French) you get 오.
     
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    kenjoluma

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I generally agree with terredepomme but I think I need to say something about IPA. Because IPA is no longer considered as a successful tool for second language acquisition. There are many I would like to talk about, but let's just discuss 2 major things.

    First: IPA is not equivalent interlingually.

    Don't get me wrong. IPA is an excellent tool to indicate where in the mouth the specific sound is made in one given language. But each language has slightly different locations even when talking about exactly the same IPA symbol.

    It gets more confused when it comes down to the vowels. It is all about how you section the parts in your mouth. For example, '시장' in KOREAN IPA has , which is shared with French IPA in 'fini'. But it is said that French /i/ is located more frontally than Korean /i/. (I'm giving you an French word because terredepomme gave French examples above)

    In other words, IPA was not designed for learning foreign languages. We know [y] is a frontal close rounded vowel and it is used in many different languages. But when you encounter this sign when learning French(or any other language), you end up questioning yourself: how 'front' is front enough for /y/ in French? How 'rounded' is rounded enough for /y/ in French? When you are a French speaker, this is not a problem because you just know how French /y/ is like in French language. But if you are Korean who never heard French people speaking without a proper resource, what is the point of knowing [y] is a front, close, rounded vowel?


    Second: We should also consider the allophones in each language. Precisely speaking, Korean ㅗ, this one vowel, contains many different pronunciations -- or many different IPA signs in other words -- and this alteration generally takes place according to consonants before it, but IPA doesn't give us this vital information. For example 'o' in '소' is different from that in '고'. ('o' in 고 is a more 'back' vowel in Korean) So do we have to teach them every IPA for one consonant? Maybe. But too bad in some dictionary, whether it's 소 or 고, [o] is the only IPA sign for both of them. Worse thing is, IPA is not standardized. There is no such thing as 'Académie Française' for IPA. It is not surprising that you find the other IPA signs for one same word, according to dictionaries.


    And these are some of the reasons why English educators in Korea gave up teaching IPA for high school students. This has something to do with recent findings by phonologists, but let's skip this since we are not talking about that.

    In conclusion, the ONE and ONLY way to learn pronunciation, is to learn by ear. So, if it is what it is, why bother IPA? Just listening to Korean people speaking and imitating is hard enough.
    If you are taking full advantage of Korean IPA learning Korean language -- please note that I am separating Korean IPA from English IPA -- it means you already know how to pronounce it. IPA merely tells you a very broad whereabouts and that's all.

    So we should question ourselves: Is it worth advising foreigners to study IPA for learning Korean pronunciation? Is it appropriate to explain to an English speaker living in America with French words or the accent of Down Under as example? If our answer to those questions is 'no', then, maybe we can easily give them English examples which are not completely accurate, but to give them some general insight.
     

    Askalon

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    Nobody's ever claimed that an IPA transcription will capture all of the details of human speech. Obviously it doesn't. But I'm not sure why it's a big deal that has varying qualities--for any individual speaker of any language, their production of segments will vary. E.g. for some random monolingual French speaker, their production of in various words will will be slightly different each time, and end up covering a range of values that will form a cluster. Each production of is a special snowflake, essentially. As long as that cluster remains distinct from other clusters (i.e. phonemes), then everything's fine and good. There's a point where the IPA would become so unwieldy it'd be useless if you try to make it capture fine details like that, and there's a point where the second language learner will have a breakdown if you throw all of those details at them. The world isn't going to end if someone pronounces 시장 with a French --and any French learner of Korean probably does it anyway. When you learn a foreign language as an adult, you have to accept that you will pronounce things with a non-native accent despite all your best efforts.

    So what if 소 and 고 are transcribed with the same letter? For a learner of Korean, they shouldn't be focusing on trying to produce 고 with a backer vowel than 소. They should be focusing on producing phonemic differences, and a few specific allophonic differences (especially those that involve an allophone that's a separate phoneme in English, like ). Acquiring more subtle differences comes with practice (or sometimes never--again, hence the non-native accents), but when you're just starting off you need a way to get your bearings. Telling someone that 소 and 고 are both pronounced with the same [o] won't do anything to impede their acquisition--learners don't just forever suffer if they're given a not-100%-accurate explanation, they're able to correct things according to the input they hear as they progress.

    IPA isn't meant to replace ever having to hear a language. It's just meant to be a way to communicate the way words are pronounced in written form, and how accurate it is to real speech depends on how narrow the transcription is. Listening is essential, but especially when you're new to a language, it helps to be able to orient yourself to what you're hearing. I just started a Russian class, and my teacher said a word--I couldn't figure out what on Earth the pronunciation was supposed to be, it just sounded like a slur of unfamiliar sounds. Once I saw the written form (and could mentally translate that to a broad IPA transcription), I was able to hear how she was pronouncing it better. Of course my own pronunciation sounds horrific and of course I'm drawing a bunch of parallels between Russian sounds and other languages I'm a bit more familiar with, but my pronunciation will improve with practice and exposure (and I'll eventually shift away from pronouncing ы like an English-accented 으...).
     

    kenjoluma

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Well, you repeated my point to some extent.

    I am trying to say that, IPA is not accurate anyway, so why not giving examples like /o/ in 오 is something like /o/ in 'porn'.
    And, I am completely with you, Askalon. The world isn't going to end if someone pronounce Korean 오 like /o/ in 'porn'. If we are so concerned about the difference between /ɔ/ and /o/ then we can simply add an explanation saying your tongue should be raised a bit more than 'porn' when pronouncing 'o' in Korean. That's all.

    I didn't mean that we should start examining X-rays of every student of Korean language. What I am saying is, making students learn IPA is as inefficient as differentiating /o/ sounds in '소' and '고'. We should stop treating students like linguists.
     

    Sunbee

    Banned
    Korean
    '어' is usually more stressed than 'around' 'about' 'unless' 'until'.
    '어' is as in umbrella, utter, butter.Korean words doesn't have strong stress like English but they have the stress that can be heard clearly.

    It's difficult to find the exact match of '오' in english except some Australian/New Zealand pronunciations like caught [kʰoːt] that terredepomme said.
    So it would be better to listen the original '오' in Korean.
     
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    uchi.m

    Banned
    Brazil, Portuguese
    '어' is usually more stressed than 'around' 'about' 'unless' 'until'.
    '어' is as in umbrella, utter, butter.Korean words doesn't have strong stress like English but they have the stress that can be heard clearly.

    It's difficult to find the exact match of '오' in english except some Australian/New Zealand pronunciations like caught [kʰoːt] that terredepomme said.
    So it would be better to listen the original '오' in Korean.
    오 is more like hola in Spanish
    어 is like octopus, I've gotta go, not
     
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