How to Pronounce Korean Alphabet – Mastering Hangeul Sounds

Are you wondering how to pronounce the Korean alphabet? This article provides a comprehensive guide to Korean vowels and consonants and their correct Korean pronunciation.

A girl pointing to a speech bubble with Korean and English letters

Whether you’re a complete beginner or looking to polish your pronunciation, this guide is tailored to help you grasp the essential sounds of the Korean alphabet.

Quick Summary

  • The Korean alphabet has 14 basic consonants, including 4 aspirated consonants, which are voiced with a strong breath. There are also 5 double consonants which are pronounced with more tension.
  • There are 10 basic vowels and 11 vowel combinations.
  • Special rules like final consonant pronunciation (받침 | batchim), consonant assimilation, nasalization, palatalization, and aspiration influence how words are pronounced in Korean.

Korean Pronunciation Chart

As we start learning the proper pronunciation for each letter, here’s a complete chart that you can use for reference.




Korean Consonants Pronunciation

There are 14 basic consonants and 5 double consonants in Hangul (The Korean alphabet).

Remember that the Korean alphabet letters can have a range of sounds. For example, the ㄱ can sound like the “g” or the “k.” And ㅂ can sound like the “b” or the “p”. However, the closest sound to ㄱ in English is “g,” and ㅂ is “b.”

You’ll get to know the exact ranges of the Korean letter sounds as you go. The key is to memorize the associations and then train your speaking and listening to notice the subtleties in the sounds.

Korean Consonants Chart

Here is a chart of all Korean consonants.

We’ve included the audio for each consonant to help you practice the right pronunciation.

ConsonantAudioRomanization (initial/final)Association

ng” as in “gun”
g/kn” in “northeast”
kk/kd” in “door”

r/ll” in “ladder”
mm” in “mail”
b/pb” in “bed”
s/ts” in “seashell”
j/tj” in “jug”
ch/tch” in “church”
kk” in “key”
tt” in “teeth”
pp” in “pie”
h/th” in “hat”

Basic Korean Consonants

Here are 14 basic consonants of the Korean alphabet and how to pronounce them:

Here is the basic pronunciation of Korean alphabet letters. The Korean letters aren’t an exact 1-1 match with the English letters. We’re giving you the closest sound approximation.

For example, the ㄱ is similar to a g/k, but we’ll use “g” for simplicity.


  1. ㄱ (g) – “g” in “gun” (End of syllable: “k“)
  2. ㄴ (n) – “n” in “northeast”
  3. ㄷ (d) – “d‘ in “door” (End of syllable: “t“)
  4. ㄹ (l) – “l” in “ladder” (End of syllable: “l“)
  5. ㅁ (m) – “m” in “mail”
  6. ㅂ (b/p) – “b” in “bed” (End of syllable: “p“)
  7. ㅅ (s) – “s” in “seashell,” when followed by vowelㅣ(i), sounds like “sh.” (End of syllable: “t“)
  8. ㅇ (ng) – Silent at the beginning of a syllable (End of syllable:ng” in “sing“)
  9. ㅈ (j) – “j” in “jar” (End of syllable: “t“)
  10. ㅊ (ch) – “ch” in “church”
  11. ㅋ (k) – “k” in “key”
  12. ㅌ (t) – “t” in “teeth”
  13. ㅍ (p) – “p” in “pi (π)”
  14. ㅎ (h) – “h” in “hat”

Note that the actual pronunciation of the consonants can vary based on the position and the surrounding letters.

Korean Double Consonants

Double consonants in Korean are pronounced with more tension and are often described as “tensed” sounds. There are 5 double consonants:

  1. ㄲ (kk) – a stronger, more forcefulk” sound
  2. ㄸ (tt) – a stronger, more forcefult” sound
  3. ㅃ (pp) – a stronger, more forcefulp” sound
  4. ㅆ (ss) – a stronger, more forcefuls” sound
  5. ㅉ (jj) – a stronger, more forcefulj” sound

Korean Aspirated Consonants

Aspirated consonants are pronounced with a strong breath. In the Korean language, there are 4 aspirated consonants:

  1. ㅋ (k) – a stronger “kwith more breath
  2. ㅌ (t) – a stronger “twith more breath
  3. ㅍ (p) – a stronger “pwith more breath
  4. ㅊ (ch) – a stronger “chwith more breath

Korean Vowels Pronunciation

Now that we’re done with the consonants let’s head on to Korean vowels. There are 10 basic vowels and 11 vowel combinations in the Korean alphabet. Vowel combinations are a mix of two basic sounds to create new ones.

Korean vowels are pretty straightforward once you get the hang of them. They are distinct in their pronunciation, and mastering them is crucial for clear communication.

Korean Vowels Chart

Here is a chart of the 21 Korean vowels. We’ve added audio for each vowel to help you pronounce each vowel correctly.

Remember, listening to native Korean speakers is super helpful when practicing Korean vowel sounds. If you don’t get it right the first time, don’t worry. Practice makes perfect!

aa” as in “father”
yaya” as in “yacht”
aeae” as in “egg”
yaeyae” as in “yes”
eoeo” as in “umbrella”
ee” as in “egg”
yeoyeo” as in “yummy”
yeye” as in “yes”
oo” as in “old”
wawa” as in “waffle”
waewae” as in “wedding”
oeoe” as in “wedding”
yoyo” as in “yogurt”
uu” as in “new
wowo” as in “won”
wewe” as in “wedding”
wiwi” as in “week”
yuyu” as in “unicorn”
eueu” as in “brook”
uiui” as in “gooey
ii” as in “tree

Korean Basic Vowels

Here are 10 basic vowels of the Korean alphabet and how to pronounce them:

  1. ㅏ (a) – “a” in “father”
  2. ㅑ (ya) – “ya” in “yacht”
  3. ㅓ (eo) – “u” in “umbrella”
  4. ㅕ (yeo) – “yu” in “yummy”
  5. ㅗ (o) – “o” in “old”
  6. ㅛ (yo) – “yo” in “yogurt”
  7. ㅜ (u) – “ew” in “new
  8. ㅠ (yu) – “u” in “unicorn”
  9. ㅡ (eu) – “oo” in “brook”
  10. ㅣ (i) – “ee” in “tree

Korean Vowel Combinations

Here are vowel combinations and how to pronounce them. Just like “ph” and “f” in English, some of these vowel combinations have the same sound but different spellings.

  1. ㅐ (ae) – “e” in “egg”
  2. ㅒ (yae) – “ye” in “yes”
  3. ㅔ (e) – “e” in “egg” (The distinction between ㅐ and ㅔ is almost none in modern Korean, making them sound almost identical.)
  4. ㅖ (ye) – “ye” in “yes”
  5. ㅘ (wa) – “wa” in “waffle”
  6. ㅙ (wae) – “we” in “wedding”
  7. ㅚ (oe) – “we” in “wedding”
  8. ㅝ (wo) – “wo” in “won’t”
  9. ㅞ (we) – “we” in “wedding”
  10. ㅟ (wi) – “wee” in “week”
  11. ㅢ (ui) – “ooey” in “gooey

Special Korean Pronunciation Rules

Now that you know all the Korean consonants and vowels, let’s talk about special Korean pronunciation rules. These rules make a difference in how some Korean words are pronounced.

Below is the downloadable Korean Pronunciation Rules chart. Click on the red button below to get the cheat sheet sent to your email.

Get “Korean Pronunciation Rules Chart” Free PDF Guide

Here are some of the key special pronunciation rules:

Final Consonant Pronunciation (받침 | Batchim)

As you must have noticed, some Korean consonant sounds change when they are at the end of a syllable. Consonants that are in the final position are called 받침 (batchim).

The good news is that only 7 sounds are used for pronouncing 받침. We’ve listed them below:

  1. ㄱ (k) : ㄱ, ㅋ, ㄲ at the final position are pronounced as ㄱ (k)
  2. ㄴ (n)
  3. ㄷ (t) : ㄷ, ㅌ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, ㅊ at the final position are pronounced as ㄷ (t).
  4. ㄹ (l)
  5. ㅁ (m)
  6. ㅂ (p) : ㅂ, ㅍ at the final position are pronounced as ㅂ (p).
  7. ㅇ (ng)

However, if a Korean word with a final consonant is followed by a word beginning with a vowel (starts with the silent ㅇ), the consonant sound moves to the next syllable.

Here is an example with :

초 is pronounced as [초] (cho).

꽃 is pronounced as [꼳] (kkot). “ㅊ” in the final position is pronounced as ㄷ (t).

꽃이 is pronounced as [꼬치] (kkochi). ㅊ moves to the beginning of the next syllable and replaces the silent “ㅇ” so it is pronounced as its original sound, “ch.”

Consonant Assimilation

Consonant Assimilation is when Hangul consonants at the bottom of a syllable and the first letter of the next syllable influence each other’s pronunciation.

When meets , becomes.

  • ㄹ + ㄴ → ㄹ + ㄹ : 설날 [설랄]
  • ㄴ + ㄹ → ㄹ + ㄹ : 원래 [월래]

When ㅁ, ㅇ at the final position meets in the next syllable, becomes .

  • ㅇ + ㄹ → ㅇ + ㄴ : 종로 [종노]
  • ㅁ + ㄹ → ㅁ + ㄹ : 담력 [담녁]


When ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ are followed by , they become nasalized to ㅇ, ㄴ, ㅁ respectively.

  • ㄱ + ㄴ → ㅇ + ㄴ : 막내 [망내]
  • ㄷ + ㄴ → ㄴ + ㄴ : 닫는 [단는]
  • ㅂ + ㄴ → ㅁ + ㄴ : 입니다 [임니다]


When ㄷ, ㅈ at the final position is followed by , they become palatalized, meaning they are pronounced more like ㅌ, ㅊ.

  • ㄷ + 이 → ㅈ : 굳이 [구지]
  • ㅌ + 이 → ㅊ : 같이 [가치]


When ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㅈ are positioned near , they become aspirated as ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅊ respectively andㅎ is not pronounced.

  • ㄱ + ㅎ → ㅋ : 북한 [부칸]
  • ㅎ + ㄷ → ㅌ : 좋다 [조타]
  • ㅂ + ㅎ → ㅍ : 급하다 [그파다]
  • ㅈ + ㅎ → ㅊ : 젖히다 [저치다]

What to do after learning how to pronounce Korean alphabet

Once you know the correct pronunciation for all the Korean characters, here are the next steps that you can take:

  1. Korean Alphabet – Learn the associations to make sure you don’t forget
  2. Speak Korean – Start speaking basic Korean
  3. Korean Words – Level up your pronunciation practice by learning new vocabulary

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below, we’ve covered additional questions related to learning how to pronounce Korean alphabet.

What is the Korean alphabet A to Z?

The Korean alphabet consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels, which do not directly correspond to the A to Z format of the English alphabet. However, these Korean letters have sound approximations that are similar to English letters.

Our article on Korean Alphabet A to Z covers this topic in detail.

What is the “k” sound in Hangul?

The “k” sound in Hangul is represented by the consonant ㅋ when it is placed at the beginning of a word. When it is at the end of a word, it can be represented by the consonant ㄱ and  ㅋ both.

How is “n” pronounced in Korean?

“N” is pronounced in Korean with the character ㄴ, similar to the “n” sound in English.

Is “ng” in Korean silent?

“Ng” in Korean is not silent; it is represented by ㅇ and is pronounced like the “ng” in “singing” when it appears at the end of a syllable.

However, when the same Korean character ㅇ is placed at the beginning of a syllable, it serves as a silent placeholder, which indicates the presence of a vowel sound.


Today, we learned how to pronounce the Korean alphabet and special pronunciation rules. If you want a more in-depth Korean pronunciation lesson that doesn’t only focus on the alphabet, you can read this article.

Remember, Korean letters can have a range of sounds, so we recommend memorizing the associations and training your ear by listening to the native sounds and mimicking what you hear.

What questions do you have about how to pronounce the Korean alphabet? Let us know in the comments below!

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