pronunciation of 의

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by littlemonyou, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. littlemonyou

    littlemonyou Senior Member


    Is there any rule applied as for '의'?

    Sometimes it's pronounced like "에" as in "나의", and sometimes close to "이" as in "여의도"...

    Thanks for the help!
  2. kenjoluma Senior Member

    If '의' is a postposition, you can read it as [에]. You must read it as [의] if it isn't.
    Therefore, You may read it '나의' as [나에].
    But '여의도' as [여의도].

    [이] pronunciation is purely wrong, or a dialect.
  3. Kross

    Kross Senior Member

  4. heartborne New Member

    I suppose the question is also valid for "희" which is read has [히] in places like :
    도희 [도히]
    희망 [히망]

    On a related note:
    Is the postpositional 의 (read as 에) seen as incorrect, by speakers of other dialects? I have friends from Busan who roll their eyes when I pronounce it as "에". Maybe it's also generational?

    Thank you.
  5. Kross

    Kross Senior Member

    I have googled the rules governing the pronunciation of 의. It should be spoken differently depending on the place of 의 in a word.

    1. When 의 is fronted in a word, we simply pronounce [의]
    For example, 의사(Doctor)-> [의사], 의경('Auxiliary Policeman')->[의:경]

    2. When 의 is placed second and later in a word, pronouncing both [의] and [이] is okay
    여의도 is this case.

    3. 의 serving as a noun participle is added to a noun, it can sound like [의] and [에]. Either one is fine.
    For example, 우리의 소원(Our Wish)-> [우리 소원/우리 소원], 나의 고향(My Hometown)->[나 고향/나 고향]

    (source: )
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  6. littlemonyou

    littlemonyou Senior Member

    Thanks for your input! But doesn't 의사 sound like [으사]?
  7. Kross

    Kross Senior Member

    Hello, littlemonyou

    I think I have heard of that pronunciation in everyday life, but according to 국립국어원, the government-operated body that defines Korean words, [의사] is the only standard way to pronounce 의사. If you want to hear the sound, you are encouraged to click this link: (It may take some time to load a file to your computer. And a small pop-up window will appear on your screen. Just wait until it plays automatically.)
  8. littlemonyou

    littlemonyou Senior Member

    I see! Thanks a lot. I myself pronounce it as [으사] more often than not, and probably never [의사] in spoken Korean, since it sort of slows down the speed of speech... Anyway, thanks again!

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