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    Beginners Lesson One

    Learn Hangul

    The first step in learning Korean is to learn Hangul. Hangul is the name of

    the Korean alphabet. Before we begin to learn Hangul, let me remind you to set

    your browser to properly view Korean. Otherwise, all you will see is jibberish. If you

    scroll down and you see jibberish instead of Korean, please right-click now and go to

    encoding - Korean. Or, if you need to, refer to the Set-Up Hangul Page.

    Learning the Korean Alphabet, Hangul , is a lot easier than trying to learn Romanization ofKorean. Throughout your studies, you will run into many resources that will only publish

    Romanization though. I highly recommend you learn to read Hangul first, as it will be most

    useful to you. Then later, you should learn Romanization so that you can read the Romanization

    in those resources and know how to spell it properly in Hangul . Also, many Korean speakerswill use Romanization on programs like AOL Instant Messenger, that do not support the Korean

    alphabet (If you are looking for programs that DO let you use the alphabet, I highly recommend

    MSN Messenger).

    If you still have trouble after this lesson and truly wish to learn Hangul correctly, try

    out a membership at Learn Korean Now - it's incredibly affordable and will have you

    reading and writing like a native in no time. The site uses nearly 500 audio files to

    teach the alphabet - plenty to help you get that pronunciation you deserve!

    There are also quizzes to help along the way.

    Better yet, membership gives you access to all of the premium lessons, not just lessons on

    Hangul. So just try it, what will it hurt?

    NEW: Are you busy working on learning Hangul? If so, practice with this simple and playful

    tool for learning Korean Hangul letters.

    First, a few basics on Hangul (Don't worry! You will be reading in Hangul perfectly extremelysoon!). Hangul is an alphabet, just like the Roman alphabet English speakers use. The only two

    differences are Hangul blocks syllables, and there are no lowercase or capitalize letters inHangul. The letter is always written the same, no matter when it is used.

    Characters will be stacked into squares to form each syllable. For example , , and are

    three separate characters. But, as they would form one syllable, they would be written instead

    of.

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    + + =

    want another example?

    + + =

    We then combine syllables to form words, just as we do in English.

    + =

    Recognize that word? That's right! It's Hangul . It consists ofhan () and gul (). Twosyllables. Six characters. As you begin to learn all the different characters, you will see how toconstruct the syllables properly depending on which character you are using. Just keep this one

    thing in mind. Every Korean word, syllable, anything...begins with a consonant. A vowel willalways follow it, either positioned to the right of it, or below it. With each vowel, I will tell you

    where it should be positioned. Also, there will be 2,3, or rarely 4 characters in a syllable. isone way of stacking, having the vowel to the right of the first consonant, with the third character

    under those two. is the other main way of stacking, where the vowel falls below the firstconsonant, with the third character below the second. A third character will always fall on the

    bottom. You will never have three characters in a row on the top. I cannot even type an examplefor you to see, it just can't be done. Below is a table of the characters you will see.

    Learn Hangul -

    For now, I think it's time to begin! Why not start with the characters that make up

    Hangul .

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    The first character is

    It has a couple variations. Generally, it is like an "h" sound. If it is at the beginning of a word, it

    will sound like an "h". There will be more on this one in Lesson 2. Next comes...

    This is a vowel, and it is an "a" sound, as in father. It pretty much never varies and always hasthe same sound. Quite a simple character. This vowel will always be placed to the right of the

    first consonant. It does not fall below the consonant.

    is a character that usually sounds like an "n". It only has one irregular form, which is in Lesson 2.

    So far, we have a "h" sound, an "a" sound, and a "n" sound. Or, we have , , and .

    Together, these form the first half of Hangul, .

    Now let's break down the second syllable.

    This is a light "g" or "k" sound. Don't push the air too hard or try and make this sound too heavy,

    it is a light sound. Don't emphasize the character. Especially at the end of a word, this character

    is very light. At the end of a word, it is almost as if you don't say the character.

    This a little harder to explain. I think the best way to say it is, it sounds like the "oo" part in

    "good".

    Let me phrase this another way...

    It is like a short 'u', said in the back of the mouth. It is almost like a grunt! Be sure you don't

    actually grunt though when you say it :)

    This vowel will always be placed below the first consonant. It does not fall to the right of the

    consonant.

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    This character might be the most complicated character you run into! But I'll be honest, you will

    have it down along with all the other characters before the week is over! Think of it as either a

    light "l" sound, or a rolling "r" sound, depending on where it is. If it falls between two vowels, itwill most likely be a rolling "r" sound. If it is at the end of a syllable, it will usually be a light "l"

    sound. It does not come at the beginning of a syllable of any Korean word, but will be used at the

    beginning for borrowed words, like loanwords. If that is the case, treat it as it needs to be in orderto say the loanword properly. This character is covered very wellin Elementary Korean.

    That's it! You now have learned 6 characters. You can now write

    and you can! You can write both in Hangul, and the word Hangul.

    Now, do you remember what each of those characters is like? Let's provide a little practice. Read

    these words to yourself, and try to not refer to the section above. You may if you need to, but tryfirst!

    See Answers.

    Learn Hangul - Common Characters

    So, you feel like you are beginning to see how Korean and Hangul are? Are you

    ready for more?

    This is a common character. It will have a light "b" or "p" sound. pa bap. ban. At theend of a word, it will have a very light, almost unheard sound.

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    This is a very easy character. It sounds just like an "m" sound. As simple as that. What do you

    think would sound like? If you said ma, that's right!

    I think you are ready for a very commonly used character. It has two sounds. One sound, is nosound! It makes no sound at all when it is the first consonant in the syllable. It is as simple as

    that. It is more like a place holder since all Korean syllables must start with a consonant. When it

    falls at the end of a syllable, it sounds like a light "ng" sound in "running". It is that ng sound in

    the back of your throat, but do not emphasis the "g" part of it. So the two sounds? No sound atthe beginning of a syllable, "ng" sound at the end. Simple.

    Let's learn two more, and then have a little practice.

    This is an "o" sound. It is hard to explain, but try this. Say the letter O. Make it really really longand say it slow. Notice where your mouth starts to close in? This sound is the sound before that.

    The beginning of the O sound.

    Let's look at this in a different way...

    Shape your mouth as if you were to say the 'o' in 'go'. Now make a sound like aw, as in awe,

    pawl, bawl, and law.

    This vowel will always be placed to the right of the first consonant, never underneath.

    This is another "o" sound. They sound very similar. The best I can do is say this may be more

    like the other side of saying O, as with the experiment before. The part toward the end in O is

    more like this.

    Or, think of it this way. is like the 'o' in go, row, bow, and low.

    They are very similar. Some people will be able to hear the difference if they have a good ear.Many non native speakers have the problem hearing the difference though at first.

    So, for those who cannot hear the difference, When spelling and learning Korean, try to think of

    these are learning to spell. In English you can't always know how to spell a word, you must learnit properly. It is the same way in Korean. When words w