Pronunciation of the "m" and "h" (미안해)

3sha

New Member
Bahasa Indonesia
Hi,
why is "미안해" sounds "biane" not "mianhe"?
and "해" or other "h" (ex. 안해) sounds "ane" not "anhe".
not always but I heard it manytimes.

thank you
 
  • hana20

    Member
    Filipino,English
    I think there's no concrete explanation on this question.I remember when I watch Boys over flower 구혜선(Jandi) I often hear her pronounce 미안해 sounds like 비안해.The explanation here is it's because of the tone of her voice I think.
    Regarding 안해 sounds like 아네 it's because it is pronounce fast in speaking.If you notice in songs particularly in ballad song it is pronounce exactly as it spell 안해 not 아네.
    Hope it helps.If anyone can correct or add to my explanation please do so.
     

    idialegre

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'm so glad 3sha asked this question, because I have noticed exactly the same thing when speaking with my Korean friends.

    The case of "h" is easy - as hana20 says, it is oven skipped over in fluent speech.

    The "m" still confuses me sometimes, and I think I am hearing "b". It also happens to me with "n" - I often think I am hearing "d."

    As far as I can tell, the explanation is simply that Korean "m" and "n" are produced slightly differently than in English. They are a little more explosive, and they are voiced differently. I think the full explanation would have to be very technically phonetic.
     

    3sha

    New Member
    Bahasa Indonesia
    Thank you hana20 and idialegre for the explanation.
    I thought they ("b", "d", "no-h-" sound) has their own word (ex. 비안해, 아네, etc).

    Thank you idialegre for the explanation about Korean pronounce for "m" and "n".
     

    kenjoluma

    Senior Member
    Korean
    ㄴ - ㄷ - ㅌ
    ㅁ - ㅂ - ㅍ
    ㅅ - ㅈ - ㅊ
    1 - 2 - 3

    Place your palm before your mouth and pronounce 1, 2 and 3.
    When pronouncing 1, you should not feel any air coming out of your mouth. When 2, you must feel a mild air, and when 3, a strong air bursting out of your mouth.

    Practice, and listen to your voice and feel the differences.
     

    kenjoluma

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Another fun fact.

    Do you know Pusan the city? It is 부산, actually, but it is romanized as Pusan. It is true that the very first consonant of sentence sounds a bit stronger. Therefore, (See the table in my post above) 1 sounds like 2, 2 sounds like 3.

    This "ONLY" applies to the first consonant of sentence. Just you know.
    And as a language learner, I strongly advise you not to practice this intentionally because this practice is very subtle.

    Despite this little 'tendency', no native Korean would ever hear "미안" for "비안". It is just so weird. Could you give me a link on Youtube or something where you find this phenomenon? As a native Korean, I really do not understand your accusation(?).

    Perhaps, it is true that Korean pronunciation should be regarded and approached differently than English or any other European pronunciations. Just listen a lot and practice. That's the only way.
     
    Last edited:

    idialegre

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Kenjoluma, it is really interesting to read your comments!

    I have a question about your 1-2-3 table: to me (and I think to any native speaker of English) the close relationship of ㄷ -to ㅌ, or of ㅂ to ㅍ, or of ㅈ to ㅊ is easy to hear. Basically, the second of each pair is the more strongly aspirated version of the first, and also the second of each pair is never voiced, whereas the first is. So basically you could say that they function sort of the way the pairs b-p, d-t and j-ch do in English. (Would you agree?)

    But it is not easy for me to hear such a close relationship between ㄴ and ㄷ, between ㅁ and ㅂ, or between ㅅ and ㅈ. I know that the difference between n and d or between m and b in English is that in the first of each pair, the air goes through the nose and not out the mouth. (That's why when English speakers have a bad cold, their n sounds like d and their m sounds like b, because the air cannot get through the nose. So they say, "Good bording" instead of "Good morning.") But your table suggests that you really hear the progression ㄴ - ㄷ - ㅌ(and the other two examples) as three slight variations on the same basic sound. Is that the case?

    I'm sorry if this is really unclear.

    In any case, an English speaker would also never confuse n with d, or m with b (except, as I noted, when someone has a bad cold.) But it also happens to me, just as 3sha describes, that when a Korean says ㄴ, I sometimes think he said ㄷ, and the same for ㅁ - ㅂ.
     

    kenjoluma

    Senior Member
    Korean
    You seem to understand quite well about the close connection between n & d and m & b. And your understanding is exactly why those sound alike. When pronouncing n, you will notice your tongue is placed in the same spot when you pronounce d.

    If you are familiar with Germanic languages, (with which I am not familiar at all) it would be easier to understand. Any voiced consonant in the beginning or/and in the end of word sounds unvoiced in many Germanic languages. Looks like Korean has this tendency as well.

    Back to your story, yes, it is a whole phonetic 'progression' here. And if you see it in this manner, it would make more sense when n sounds like d and d sounds like t.

    I am not God, I am not the person who invented this complicity. I am just the one trying to make it easier for you to digest all of this. If you find a better explanation, you should stick to it.


    Anyway, whatever it is, I still don't understand how come 미안해 sounds like 비안해 to foreign ears. 부산 to Pusan, 감사합니다 to 캄사합니다 are a bit understandable, but 비안해? Hmmm.... But all the explanation above explains a bit about it.
     

    3sha

    New Member
    Bahasa Indonesia
    Thank you for responding my question.

    Your comments are all make sense (I should have ask 4 month ago).

    I need more practice to pronounce it well. Even now I still hard to find a link to practice on listening with a proper way.

    Anyway, thank you again.
    (^_^)
     

    drummstikk

    New Member
    English - American
    Anyway, whatever it is, I still don't understand how come 미안해 sounds like 비안해 to foreign ears. 부산 to Pusan, 감사합니다 to 캄사합니다 are a bit understandable, but 비안해? Hmmm.... But all the explanation above explains a bit about it.
    It's not that 미 sounds like 비, it's that initial ㅁ sound like a mixture of English 'm' and English 'b'. The problem arises because native Korean speakers typically describe the pronunciation of ㅁas an English 'm'. It's not! I would say that at the beginning of words, ㅁ is more like 'mb'.

    For example, when I first head the phrase 한국어 못해요, I thought I was hearing 한국오 뽓해요. The English 'b' sound was very clear, and it showed up every time 못 was pronounced. When I saw it written as 못, with a ㅁ, I felt like it must be a mistake! Then, I heard the phrase pronounced slowly...when 못 is pronounced slowly, the ㅁ sounds like a pure English 'm'! Man, I was really confused by this point. What was going on?

    Well, it's very similar to how a native English speaker might be unaware that the 't' in 'stop' isn't pronounced the same as the 't' in 'table'. If you slow down to pronounce 'stop', you'll probably aspirate the 't', but that's not right. It should be unaspirated, and it should really sound more like 'sdop', but most native English speakers are unable to explain the pronunciation of their own language.

    So even though native Korean speakers will tell you that ㅁ is the same as m, and even though when they are speaking slowly and explaining, they will pronounce it as a pure English ㅁ, you will still hear ㅁ go to 'mb' at the beginning of words. If you want to sound like you don't have an American accent, I would advise copying how a native speaker speaks, even if it contradicts the explanation of pronunciation you have been given.

    This is one of many reasons it is so hard to learn a foreign language as an adult. Nobody is more qualified than a native speaker to give you an example of how to speak the language correctly, but few people are less qualified to explain its pronunciation. Kids just skip the explanations and copy what they hear.
     

    조금만

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The "m" still confuses me sometimes, and I think I am hearing "b". It also happens to me with "n" - I often think I am hearing "d."

    As far as I can tell, the explanation is simply that Korean "m" and "n" are produced slightly differently than in English. They are a little more explosive, and they are voiced differently. I think the full explanation would have to be very technically phonetic.
    ...no native Korean would ever hear "미안" for "비안". It is just so weird. Could you give me a link on Youtube or something where you find this phenomenon? As a native Korean, I really do not understand your accusation(?).
    It's not that 미 sounds like 비, it's that initial ㅁ sound like a mixture of English 'm' and English 'b'. The problem arises because native Korean speakers typically describe the pronunciation of ㅁas an English 'm'. It's not! I would say that at the beginning of words, ㅁ is more like 'mb'.
    [...]
    drummstikk's observation "that initial ㅁ sounds like a mixture of English 'm' and English 'b'" is actually a pretty accurate informal equivalent to the "very technically phonetic" explanation which idialegre correctly says a full account of the initial ㅁ phenomenon would require.

    That full account would need to consider the precise timing of the start of vibration in the vocal chords in relation to the closing and parting of the lips. That's what's essentially different between Korean ㅁ and English initial m or b followed by a vowel.

    Unfortunately, though Korean education at all levels is very big on what we call "elocution", i.e. precise and articulate pronunciation of words and phrases, the training of Korean language teachers seems to involve no systematic study of comparative phonetics, without which they simply aren't equipped to grasp the problems that English-speaking learners have with pronouncing Korean, let alone help them solve them.

    kenjoluma's "...no native Korean would ever hear "미안" for "비안". It is just so weird" exemplifies why Korean teachers are so baffled by their students' apparent deafness or obtuseness. It might be more appropriately expressed as "no native Korean would ever write '미안' as '비안'": which is true, but not the point at issue. I would counter it with the claim that no-one trained in empirical phonetics would find it weird that listeners accustomed to English are quite certain that some Korean native pronunciations of the 미안 begin with a sound much closer to an English "b" than an English "m". Because, as a matter of fact readily demonstrable with standard phonetics lab equipment, they actually do. Hence the spectacle, repeated daily in countless Korean classes for foreigners across the globe, of a teacher convinced they are making a sound that English native speakers will recognize as identical to an English "m" when they are actually making a sound those speakers recognize as an English "b".

    Exactly the same phenomenon occurs with forms like 누구 often being heard by native speakers of English as having an English initial "d" sound. Though in that case, the phonetic explanation is less arcane. While the average language learner can't be expected to have a precise awareness of the exact instant that vocalization starts relative to lip closure, everyone knows where their tongue is when they pronounce a particular sound. And Korean native speakers pronouncing the intial consonant of 누구 have the tip of their tongue lower and further forward in their mouth, behind their teeth, than English speakers pronouncing "nougat" (or "news" in US pronunciation) do, where the English "n" sound is made with the tip of the tongue above the gum ridge or even touching the roof of the mouth. The tongue position Koreans use when they start saying 누구 is very close the one English speakers start the word "do" (or "duty" in US pronunciation) with. That's the main phonetic reason for this confusion (though their are other, subsidiary, ones as well, which I'll pass over). It's also the reason why one of the most highly esteemed of modern Korean-learning text books is seriously misleading when it says that the Korean initial ㄴ sound is "more or less" like an English initial "n". One can only add, as W.S Gilbert does in a different context, "but rather less than more".

    To put another of drummstikk's very apt observations in a different way: speaking Korean v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y in a way that's helpful, rather than utterly bewildering, to learners is rather like riding a bicycle very slowly without wobbling or falling off. It can be done, but it takes a lot of specific phonetic skill and practice, which very few teachers of Korean have, or even know they need. They think they are just slowing down and leaving "air" between the syllables, but they are actually intuitively altering the sounds in the process. Most of them don't realize that's what they're doing, and assume that if they do it often enough, their students will finally hear what the teacher thinks they ought to be hearing. But they won't, because it isn't there to be heard in the first place.

    I fear that Korean is like French in that people who haven't laid down the requisite neural pathways in infancy will always have great difficulty pronouncing it with anything even approaching native accuracy without massive concentration and effort. The good news is that Koreans, though of course proud of their own language, don't fly into an indignant rage if the well-meaning foreigner mispronounces it. Whereas the boulanger will hit you over the head with a baguette rather than sell it to you if he doesn't approve of the way you pronounce it.

    Anyone who wants to give themselves a decent chance of at least hearing Korean accurately (even if their now-fossilized physiology means they have scant hope of pronouncing it with corresponding precision) should invest in a copy of Choo and O'Grady's The Sounds of Korean (2003). The price may seem a little steep, seeing how you get less than a 100 pages of exposition (the remaining 130 or so pages being transcriptions of the audio CD material and keys to the exercises) but it's worth ten times its weight in dogmatic and inaccurate grammar tomes, or dictionaries stuffed with made-up "examples". And you do need to buy it and keep it under your pillow to absorb in brief concentrated doses on a regular basis. Just scanning it in a library won't do. If only it were required reading (to be followed by required adjustment to teaching techniques) for all teachers of Korean, there would be a lot fewer baffled and frustrated students out there.
     
    제가 지금 "미안해"라고 몇 번 발음해봤는데, 확실히 영어의 m 발음과는 차이가 있네요. 약간 ㅁ과 ㅂ의 중간발음 정도? 되는것같아요.

    "미안해"는 항상 "미아네"라고 발음합니다.
     
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