IPA

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Korean language pronunciations.

Korean consonants

IPA Hangul RR trans. English equivalent Notes
b b ball between voiced sounds
ɕ s she before [i] or [j]
d d doll between voiced sounds
j gee between voiced sounds
ɡ g gall between voiced sounds
h h hall
j ㅖ, ㅒ, ㅑ,
ㅛ, ㅠ, ㅕ
y y’all Spelled by doubling the dot on the vowel.
k ㄱ, ㅋ g, k ㅋ is [k] at the end of a syllable.
kk skin tense [k]
ㅋ, ㅎㄱ k call
l ㄹ, ㄴ l call ㄹ is [l] at the end of a syllable.
ㄹㄴ and ㄴㄹ may be [ll] or [lː]. Across word boundaries though, ㄴ-ㄹ is [nn] or [nː].
m ㅁ, ㅂ m mall ㅂ is [m] before [n] or [m].
n ㄴ, ㄹ,
ㄷ, ㅅ, ㅈ
n not ㄹ may be [n] at the start of a word.
ㄷ, ㅅ, ㅈ are [n] before [n] or [m].
ŋ ㅇ, ㄱ ng king ㅇ is only [ŋ] at the end of a syllable.
ㄱ is [ŋ] before [n], [m] or [ɾ]
p ㅂ, ㅍ b, p ㅍ is [p] at the end of a syllable.
pp span tense [p]
ㅍ, ㅎㅂ p pall
ɾ r A flap, like Scots r or American ladder, between vowels
s s [s] with almost no sibilance
ss Saul tense [s]
t
ㄷ, ㅌ, ㅅ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㅎ
d
t
All are [t] and RR t at the end of a syllable. The only things to end in ㅎ are the name of the ㅎ jamo, which is called "히읗," and certain verb stems like 좋 from 좋다. Only relevant when teaching grammar or linguistics.
tt stall tense [t]
ㅌ, ㅎㄷ t tall
j each
tɕ͈ jj tense [tɕ]
tɕʰ ㅊ, ㅎㅈ ch chin
w ㅜ, ㅗ w wall spelled ㅜ before [ʌ], [e], [i];
ㅗ before [ɛ], [e],* [a]
*ㅚ is pronounced [we] by most, but as the rounded ö vowel [ø] by some older speakers.

Korean vowels

IPA Hangul RR trans. Notes
a a spa
e e Similar to the beginning of the diphthong in main
ɛ ae met; similar to e for young speakers.
ɛː
i i mean
o o Spanish o or French eau
u u moon
ʌ, ɔ eo young (these are pronounced [ɔ], as in north, in Seoul and North Korea)
əː, ɔː
ɯ, ɨ eu Separate sound in Standard Korean; similar to eo for many dialects.
ɯː

Korean diphthongs

IPA Hangul RR trans. Notes
ɯi ui
ø,
we
oe ㅚ is pronounced [we] by most, but as the rounded ö vowel [ø] by some older speakers.

Sounds not written in hangul

IPA Explanation
ː Long vowel. Long [ʌ] is [əː]. Young speakers in Seoul do not use length consistently, if at all.
 ́ High tone, on any one syllable or the first two; used outside Seoul.