Guttural "kh" or "ch" sound

idialegre

Senior Member
USA English
I have sometimes heard Korean speakers use a guttural "kh" or "ch" sound, like the "ch" in the German "Nacht." I haven't been able to figure out what it is. Is this ᄀ or ᄏ? And if so, is it a particularly intense pronunciation? Or just a regional variation?

Thanks for any help!
 
  • Taehee

    New Member
    Korean-Korean
    Kh = ㅋ
    Ch = ㅊ
    Gh = ㄱ

    For example, "Nacht" is "나치" however, the Korean traditional food named "Kimchi(김치)" the original sounds more like "Ghimchi" because "Kimch" sounds like "킴치" compare with "김치".
     

    idialegre

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thank you both for your answers. Still, it's not exactly what I mean. I have no trouble distinguishing ㅋ, ㄱ, ㄱㄱ, etc. I'm referring to a particular effect that I hear occasionally from speakers (it seems to be mostly male speakers), in which they really make a sound similar, as I said, to the ch of German "Nacht." I can't figure out what it is. But from the paucity of answers, I guess I may be the only one that hears this!
     

    themadprogramer

    Senior Member
    Turkish, English
    Uh... This is also a problem in romanising Turkish. It's far more common in Azeri where some people will go as far as to say that Q is pronounced so (although it's usually represented with an IPA g). I guess it's even a thing in German.

    Like when someone goes: "Wie langweilig?" they might pronounce the g much more like a "ch" rather than keeping it silent. It's basically the same logic. As for the reason ? I don't have much of a clue, sorry ;(
     

    Taehee

    New Member
    Korean-Korean
    Thank you both for your answers. Still, it's not exactly what I mean. I have no trouble distinguishing ㅋ, ㄱ, ㄱㄱ, etc. I'm referring to a particular effect that I hear occasionally from speakers (it seems to be mostly male speakers), in which they really make a sound similar, as I said, to the ch of German "Nacht." I can't figure out what it is. But from the paucity of answers, I guess I may be the only one that hears this!

    I guess you mean ㅉ, the double ㅈ.
    Some people may sound "Nacht" as "나찌" if it doesn't sound "나치"
    In a line of ㅈ, ㅉ, ㅊ
     

    stevesjlee

    Member
    Korean
    As far as I know, "Nacht" in the German doesn't sound "나찌" or "나치". It sounds "나흐트". I think the question is about "흐" sound.
    흐흐흐 is a giggling sound in Korean. More commonly, 크크크 or just ㅋㅋㅋ
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    I have heard what I THINK is the sound OP (idealegre) is talking about. It occurs once in a while in Korean dramas, or other "script" conversations on TV.

    It is a long, drawn-out sound - as if we were saying "shhhh", but it is a "khhhhh" instead. It last over 1 second, up to 3 seconds. The rest of the what they are saying pauses while they make this long sound, then continues. Usually it is an older actor (male or female) that says this. Often they grimace while saying it, and make it very forceful, with a lot of body language.

    If I had to guess, I would say it is used by older Koreans to express extreme exasperation with whoever they are talking to. But that is a guess.
     

    Hit Girl

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I have sometimes heard Korean speakers use a guttural "kh" or "ch" sound, like the "ch" in the German "Nacht." I haven't been able to figure out what it is. Is this ᄀ or ᄏ? And if so, is it a particularly intense pronunciation? Or just a regional variation?

    Thanks for any help!

    I think you're talking about ㅋ - ch in Nacht.
    I heard the pronunciation on Youtube and 낰흐트 is the best I can mimic the sound in Korean alphabet.
    So it's like ㅋㅎ...
    I don't know German but in English,

    ㄱ - g in game
    ㅋ - c in color / k in kin
    ㄲ - doesn't exist in English but it's close to, I think, Italian 'C' sound as in caffe.

    If I had to guess, I would say it is used by older Koreans to express extreme exasperation with whoever they are talking to. But that is a guess.

    You may have heard 크~ 캬~ either in exasperation or exclamation. Those sounds happen.
     

    idialegre

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I have heard what I THINK is the sound OP (idealegre) is talking about. It occurs once in a while in Korean dramas, or other "script" conversations on TV.

    It is a long, drawn-out sound - as if we were saying "shhhh", but it is a "khhhhh" instead. It last over 1 second, up to 3 seconds. The rest of the what they are saying pauses while they make this long sound, then continues. Usually it is an older actor (male or female) that says this. Often they grimace while saying it, and make it very forceful, with a lot of body language.

    If I had to guess, I would say it is used by older Koreans to express extreme exasperation with whoever they are talking to. But that is a guess.

    Thank you, dojibear, that is EXACTLY what I am talking about. And yes, it is almost always older speakers that do it. But they don't always seem exasperated. Perhaps it's the sound they make when they're thinking hard, sort of like we Americans say, "er...." ?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    ㄱ - g in game
    ㅋ - c in color / k in kin
    ㄲ - doesn't exist in English but it's close to, I think, Italian 'C' sound as in caffe.

    I was confused by Korean plosive consonants until I found websites with audio clips of them. I find all 3 versions (3 Ts, 3 Ks, 3 Ps) occuring in American English:

    ㄱ is unvoiced nonplosive. In English these occur in middle of word when unstressed. For example bigger. As a better example, most people pronounce bidder and bitter the same, because both use the unvoiced unplosive consonant sound.

    ㅋ is unvoiced plosive. Standard English for a stop consonant K,P,T at the start of a word. English also allows voiced nonplosive G,B,D at the start of words: these do not exist in Korean.

    ㄲ is [ 'k ], a glottal stop plus the consonant. This occurs in English: it is the last consonant of 2 unvoiced stop consonants together. For example in the word "victory" the K sound is (depending on the speaker) either followed by a glottal stop or replaced by a glottal stop. Either way we have 't (a T sound preceded by a glottal stop).

    If you don't think you put a glottal stop in "victory", trying saying "vittory" and "vikkory", then saying "victory". Only "victory" has that brief pause/silence in the middle.
     
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    Hit Girl

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hi Doji,

    Good to see you here!

    If you don't think you put a glottal stop in "victory", trying saying "vittory" and "vikkory", then saying "victory". Only "victory" has that brief pause/silence in the middle.

    I've never thought of 'victory' that way...I didn't know there was ㄲ-like sound involved. Then again my pronunciation of 'victory' would be different from that of native English speakers.
    But we really don't hear ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ from English words.
    The only 된소리 I think has English alphabet counterpart is ㅆ: sesame 쎄써미 (not 세서미)

    Victory is 빅토리 (actually it should be 빜토리 but it doesn't change the sound) in 'Korean' :) If it's 빆토리, we still wouldn't know the difference between 빅 and 빆 or 빜.
    ㄲ is distinguished from ㄱ or ㅋ when it's used at the top of a word (I don't know the term but I mean ㄲ 이 받침이 아니라 단어 머리에 쓰일 때).

    Korea: 코리아

    Corea (Italian or Spanish?): 꼬레아

    It is a long, drawn-out sound - as if we were saying "shhhh", but it is a "khhhhh" instead. It last over 1 second, up to 3 seconds. The rest of the what they are saying pauses while they make this long sound, then continues. Usually it is an older actor (male or female) that says this. Often they grimace while saying it, and make it very forceful, with a lot of body language.

    I'm trying to think what that could be. I want to see the clip.
    People (often older men) tend to go 캬아~~~ 크으~~~ when they sip from strong liquor or hot and spicy broth for example, to express content mixed with pain.
    That's not the context?
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    we really don't hear ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ from English words.

    Then I may be wrong to think I hear it in English. I need to find some audio clips that use ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ between two vowels.

    Victory is 빅토리 (actually it should be 빜토리 but it doesn't change the sound) in 'Korean' :) If it's 빆토리, we still wouldn't know the difference between 빅 and 빆 or 빜.

    It is the same in English: we do not hear a difference between vigtory. viktory, vikktory. But what about between 2 vowel sounds? My theory would predict that 아까 has a tiny hesitation, but 아가 and 아카 do not.

    ㄲ is distinguished from ㄱ or ㅋ when it's used at the top of a word (I don't know the term

    At the start of a word (the first sound)? At the end of the "root" of a word (the unchanging "base", before variable endings)?
     

    Hit Girl

    Senior Member
    Korean
    My theory would predict that 아까 has a tiny hesitation, but 아가 and 아카 do not.

    Hmm, a hesitation... I don't know. If I mimic those in English, it would be something like:

    아가 - aga
    아카 - aka
    아까 -? can't do it.

    I hear ㄲ sound from Italian, as in:
    macchina 마끼나 (instead of 마키나)
    caffe macchiato 까페 마끼아또 (we don't have 'f' sound by the way)

    At the start of a word (the first sound)? At the end of the "root" of a word (the unchanging "base", before variable endings)?

    Something like that. ㄲ sound becomes distinct from ㅋ and ㄱ only when it's placed at 1) the top of the letter or 2) the left side of the letter.

    1) top: 꼭, 꽃, 깍지, 꾸미다, 꼬끼요...
    2) left: 아까, 까불다, 꺼지다, 까만색...

    When it's placed on the bottom of the letter as in:

    묶다
    낚시
    볶다

    These words sound just like 묵다, 낙시, 복다.

    Now, there is an exception in cases like; 깎이다.
    Because of '이' that follows 깎, the bottom ㄲ sound comes alive, practically as the first sound for the second syllable so it sounds like 까끼다.

    Am I making sense?
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Am I making sense?

    Now I understand. By "top of a word" you mean what English calls "start of a syllable". In Korean writing that consonant is at the top (or left) in the character representing one syllable.

    Thanks for giving so many examples. Thinking about vowel and consonant sounds (ignoring syllables) there is a pattern in all the examples you gave:

    1 followed immediately by another consonant (no vowel sound in between) is not distinct from ,

    2 followed by a vowel is distinct from,
     

    Hit Girl

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I'm confused. The experiment is to pronounce the hangul text, not a "nearest English" version.

    Oh, I got it. Sorry. "between 2 vowel sounds" (아까, 아가, 아카) ㅏ ㄲ ㅏ / ㅏ ㄱ ㅏ / ㅏ ㅋ ㅏ, right? > this would be what I described as the consonant placed on the left side of the letter = start of a syllable.
    So the ㄲ sound is alive and well in this case.
    I don't know about the hesitation you sensed in 아까 but you didn't in 아가 아카 though.

    1 followed immediately by another consonant (no vowel sound in between) is not distinct from ,

    2 followed by a vowel is distinct from,

    Yup!

    I've just edited the previous post so I'm not sure you saw it but I was saying ㄲ is quite similar to the cch sound in Italian 'macchina' - 마끼~나.
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Hit Girl,

    I used google translate to play Italian "macchina", and I noticed the different consonant sound.

    Thanks for all the help. I am much less confused. Now I'll just practice listening and noticing sounds.
     

    Hit Girl

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I asked my friend about the possible hesitation in 아까.
    She said it might be because we tend to put a stress on the 까 syllable.
    Since ㄲ is a double consonant - 'thick' sound as we call (된소리) - we tend to pronounce it more strongly then other sounds.
    So 아가, 아카 might just flow while there seems to be a split split split second pause in 아.까.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Thank you. That would expain why I think I hear a tiny pause in some audio samples.

    But I jumped to a conclusion when I assumed it was the same sound I was hearing in English.
     

    Hit Girl

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you. That would expain why I think I hear a tiny pause in some audio samples.

    But I jumped to a conclusion when I assumed it was the same sound I was hearing in English.


    I just listened to Google translate version of 'macchina' and it sounds like a cross between ㅋ and ㄲ lol.

    When you have a chance, try 'caffe macchiato italian pronunciation' on youtube.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    When you have a chance, try 'caffe macchiato italian pronunciation' on youtube.

    I found several short audio clips pronouncing "caffe macchiato" and "latte macchiato". Some were English speakers. One was a native italian. The difference in the "cchia" sound was huge.

    The English speakers made the "i" and "a" separate syllables; only the "a" got extra stress; and the "k" in unstressed "ki" was a normal English "k".

    The italian made "cchia" almost a single syllable - more like (okay, okay, more like ) - with a really strong stress on it. It was a giant jump up from the previous vowel's intensity.

    I imagine I hear a tiny hesitation here as well - perhaps it is unavoidable when changing mouth shape for the very-different "tense" syllable. But theory is not important, since I was only using it to try to learn how to pronounce

    Thanks again.
     

    Mr.Dent

    Senior Member
    English - all over the USA
    I found a Youtube video which explains how and when this sound is used.
    Since we are not allowed to post videos here, just paste "Korean throat HYUUUUUUK sound....WHAT IS THAT?!?!" into the Youtube search bar.
    Apparently it is used to give emphasis to what is being said, but there is a bit more to it than that.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Wow -- that video's English was hard (sometimes impossible) to understand. I only understood about half of her English. The rest of the time she was being "cute, playful, stylish" in either English or Korean. But, by her accent, she was clearly American.

    But I agree with post #23. She explained this form of emphasis, used in Korean. It isn't a standard part of the language. It is a form of strong emphasis. I used to hear it (and wonder about it) occasionally on "Gag Concert", a Korean comedy TV show that I watched, back when I got some Korean Channels on my TV.

    Now I have my answer -- and without all that pesky "moving to Korea and studying the language for 19 years...". :D
     

    CharlesLee

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I have sometimes heard Korean speakers use a guttural "kh" or "ch" sound, like the "ch" in the German "Nacht." I haven't been able to figure out what it is. Is this ᄀ or ᄏ? And if so, is it a particularly intense pronunciation? Or just a regional variation?

    Thanks for any help!


    Hallo idealegre,

    I pronounce [ch] sound in German and I have been doing in the same way as in 희 in Korean even

    before knowing or learning the German language. For that reason, there was no problem for me.

    Auch ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch, for one of my professors at university was Korean German.

    Aber I lost a lot of my ability to speak fluently it, so once again I start studying German,

    I will get back on track.

    I can tell you when I say 희안하다 in Korean, it's [ch] sound in German but it's not every Korean speaks like that.

    Mostly when one emphasizing the word 희 and laughing as in 이히히히히, it's exactly the same.

    이히히히히 can be written in German as in Ichchchch, which I do it humorously on the internet when laughing.

    I have been pronouncing it as a guttural consonant naturally since I tend to speak Korean

    in the old way like middle-age, or the effect of the local dialects.

    Some guttural consonants in the Korean language existed in the past.

    However, it isn't any longer used in the present as in [ø], which is considered [ö] in German.

    In my personal opinion, [ʔ] sound, once used in Korean in the middle age, still exists as in '은'.

    For example, Koreans pronounce [ʔ] sound mostly used in post-position as in 사랑.

    In addition, [ɦ] sound can be seen in Arabic languages but we don't use it in modern-day Korean.

    Nacht is close to ㅎ but [] sound in middle-age Korean is unsure that's why we only presume it.

    Nacht's [ch] sound in German also show ups in Korean as in 하라는 대로 안하고 but Not every Korean

    pronounces it the way it's sort of natural.

    In addition, "하, 요것 봐라!" or "하! 요것 봐라." as interjection as well as 헉! as Mr.Dent mentioned above

    Lee,
     
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    CharlesLee

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Then I may be wrong to think I hear it in English. I need to find some audio clips that use ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ between two vowels.



    It is the same in English: we do not hear a difference between vigtory. viktory, vikktory. But what about between 2 vowel sounds? My theory would predict that 아까 has a tiny hesitation, but 아가 and 아카 do not.



    At the start of a word (the first sound)? At the end of the "root" of a word (the unchanging "base", before variable endings)?

    The double consonant, ㄸ is what I can hear in the Hitler speach in the line,

    "Bei Diktaten wirken wir nicht mit." "Sie mögen ein Diktat als Diktat uns aufoktroyieren."

    He pronounced Diktaten and Ditatat as ㄸ sound in Korean but In modern-day German,

    Germans tend to pronounce it softly so yes, there is a huge difference in my ears.

    However, ㅉ still exists. It was a piece of cake for me to pronounce it as zwanzig in German.

    If you say 찌찌 in Korean in front of female, they will be surprised or shocked because it means

    'tit' in English, [tsitsi] in German Phonetisches Alphabet.

    Lee,
     
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