[s], or [t]?

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Senior Member
English, U.S.
I am in the beginning stages of a class in beginning Korean.
The consonant ㅅ is transliterated "s", but when our teacher says it I hear "t"—even in the syllable onset.
I have some phonetic training, and I hear a definite plosive sound.
"Younger sibling": [dongteng]
What is going on here?
  • Adellade

    New Member
    Korean - Korea
    I have no idea. I guess it's possible your teacher's pronounciation is weird. I said it to myself a few times and nope, it isn't supposed to be pronounced that way. It should definitely be pronounced [dongseng]. I think this pronounciation is also explainable if you say your teacher was trying to act cute. In Korea you sometimes change 'ㅅ' sounds into 'ㄷ' or 'ㄸ' and the like to sound cute. It is supposed to mimic the pronounciation of babies who have short tongues and therefore cannot pronounce well. I don't think this is very plausible though.


    Senior Member
    I doubt the teacher would try to sound cute.
    My vote goes to short tongue as Adellade suggested.
    I definitely have some friends who have trouble pronouncing ㅅ correctly.
    However for that to be true, your teacher must also pronounce other words incorrectly which you didn't mention.

    Regardless like Adellade said, it should be pronounced with "s".
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