[Learn Korean E5] Combined Vowels and Types of Korean Alphabet

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Let’s have fun learning the beautiful language Korean.

I designed this video for students who have never learned Korean before.

By watching my video, those students can pass the official TOPIK test level 2.

So, don’t worry about your Korean learning! Trust me! Tammy will lead your way!

Today, we will learn about combined vowels. Yay!! combined vowels?

What are they? Just by hearing the word might make you panic.

But once you understand it, it’s really easy and simple.

그럼 시작할게요!

[Elementary Korean #5] Combined Vowels and Types of Korean Alphabet

Combined vowels

What are combined vowels

Combined vowels mean that two vowels are combined.

In Korean, basic vowels are 아야어여오요우유으이.

A combined vowel is made up with a combination of two kinds of basic vowels.

There are 11 combined vowels in total.

I will read them slowly.

They are 애, 얘, 에, 예, 와, 왜, 외, 워, 웨, 위, 의.

There is no easy-to-remember rhythm for combined vowels like 아야어여오요우유으이 or 가나다라마바사.

So, a good way to remember combined vowels is to first memorize all the basic vowels and read more and more vocabularies with combined vowels.

The pronunciation of combined vowels

Then first of all, I would like to explain how the combined vowels are made and how to pronounce them correctly.

For 애, you can pronounce it as “egg” 애, 애

For 얘, ㅑ + ㅣ “Ya” and “I” are combined to form “ye”.
You can pronounce it as “Yes.” 예, 예

For 에, ㅓ + ㅣ “Eo” and “I” are combined to form “E”.
You can pronounce it as “egg” 에 에

For 예, ㅕ + ㅣ “Yeo” and “I” are combined to form “Ye”

For 와, ㅗ + ㅏ “O” and “A” are combined to form “Wa”.

For 왜, ㅗ + ㅐ “O” and “E” are combined to form “Wae”.

For 외, ㅗ + ㅣ “O” and “I” are combined to form “Oe”.

For 워, ㅜ + ㅓ “U” and “O” are combined to form “Wo”.

For 웨, ㅜ + ㅔ “U” and “E” are combined to form “We”.

For 위, ㅜ + ㅣ “U” and “I” are combined to form “Wi”.

For 의, ㅡ + ㅣ “U” and “I” are combined to form “Ui”, and you pull your lips sideways to pronounce.

As you may have noticed, there are many pronunciations that are the same.

First, 애, 에 are the same, 얘、예 are the same, and 왜、웨、외 are also the same.

In hangul table, they have different English alphabet notations, but in real life, Koreans pronounce them in the same way.

Characteristics of combined vowels

Now, I will teach you the words and tips that are useful to know for each combined vowel.

Let’s first take a look at the words that have . They are 노래(song), 무지개 (rainbow)、해(sun).

Next, let’s take a look at the words with . 얘기(story).

Next is . The words with this are 베개(pillow), 세수(face wash), 게(crab).

Next is . 예 is pronounced as “Ye” when it comes in the beginning of a word, but it is pronounced as “E” when it comes in the middle of a word.

For example, reservations are called 예약 in Korean because 예 comes in the beginning of the word.

Entertainers are pronounced as 연예인 “Yonein” in Korean.

It’s because 예 is in the middle of the word. In addition, 시계 watch is pronounced as “Shige”.

Next is . 오 and 아 are combined to form “Wa”. There are words like 왕 King, 과자 sweets and 사과 apple.

Next is . 왜 means Why and it is often used in conversation. There are also other words like 돼지 pig.

Next is . 외식 is (eating outside), 외국 is (foreign country), and 회사 means (company).

Next is . When the character comes in the beginning of a word, it is pronounced as 워. When it comes in the middle of a word, it’s usually pronounced as 어.

For example, 원활하다 “smooth” is pronounced as 원활하다.

For another example, “만원” is pronounced as 마넌 manon, and when you ask “이거 뭐예요?” you say “Igomoeyo”.

Next is , which is rarely used. It is good to remember some words like 웨딩(wedding) and 궤도(orbit).

Next is . This character is made up of a combination of 우 and 이.

When it comes in the beginning of a word, it is pronounced as 위.

위 means “up” and 윗층 menas “upstairs”.

It sounds almost the same as 이 when it is combined with a consonant or when it comes in the middle or end of a word.

For example, 귀엽다 is “cute” and 일위 is “the first place.

Last but not least is .

Attention here!

You need to be the most careful when you pronounce this because this one has three pronunciations.

The first is “Ui”, the second is “I”, and the third is “Ae”.

First, when 의 is in the beginning of a word, it becomes “Ui”. Words like 의사 Doctor is one of the examples.

Next, the pronunciation becomes “I” when 의 comes in the middle of a word.

For example, “convenience store” is pronounced 편의점[펴니점], “almost” is pronounced 거의[거이] and “veterinarians” is pronounced 수의사[수이사].

Also, when it is used to show possession, it is pronounced “E”.

For instance, “Friend’s mother” is pronounced 친구의 어머니(Chingu E Omoni)

In addition, I mentioned that there are many similar pronunciations in combined vowels, but the pronunciation of 의 and 위 that I taught earlier are clearly different.

위 is pronounced as “Ui” with a rounded moth, but for 의, you pronounce “Ui” by opening your mouth sideways instead of making it round.

Types of vowels

Here is a little extra information.

Actually, there are certain rules for making combined vowels.

Vowels in Korean language are largely divided into three groups.

One is the positive vowel, which is 아야오요.

Next is the negative vowel like 어여우유으.

Last is the neutral vowel like 이.

Combined vowels are made by combining a positive vowel with another positive vowel, or a negative vowel with another negative vowel.

By the way, neutral vowels can be combined with any.

Therefore, there is no combined vowels such as the combination of the positive vowel 오 and the negative vowel ㅓ, or the negative vowel 우 and the positive vowel ㅏ.

The reason I explained about these three types of vowels here is because it is very useful to know this when learning Korean grammar from now on.

So I briefly touched on the positive vowels, negative vowels, and neutral vowels today.

QUIZ #1~#5

Also this is the fifth lesson.

So, I prepared a quiz for you.

Lesson No.1 to No.5 will be on the test.

I hope many of you come to the quiz page to check how much you understand my lesson.

[Learn Korean E] QUIZ No.1-No.5

That’s all for today!

Then see you in the next lesson.

그럼 오늘도 행복 가득, 웃음 가득한 하루 되세요! 한국어 화이팅, 화이팅, 화이팅!!