Korean Sound Match
I've been doing the Japanese course for a while, and the sound-match feature (where there is a character in Japanese and you have to match it to the English approximation) works great. However, that is because there are direct and definite English correlations for the sounds.
I recently started the Korean course and was surprised to find that, even though I read Korean better than I do Japanese, I was getting the pairs wrong every time. Eventually I realised why: there are no direct correlations to English spelling, and so an approximation USING THE AMERICAN ACCENT was used. I do not have an American accent, and disagree strongly that the apparent pairs are any match at all.
I would strongly recommend that, instead of trying to match two writing systems that often do not possess the ability to mimic the other, an alternative approach is used.
It would be much better, in my opinion, to have simply a sound file which must be played, and then to choose the Korean character that matches it. That way you are matching character to sound, without having to rely on accent, and reading ought to progress at a much faster speed.
I agree, the words used to illustrate the sounds make no sense when spoken in a real English accent, they are I suppose, some sort of americanisation. ㅓfor example is supposedly equivalent to 'eo' or the u in 'gut'. Its much more like a cross between 'or' or 'ah'. ( do Americans pronounce it 'gort' or 'gaht'?) Its better to learn from the actual sounds.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the American accent thing. As far as I'm concerned the romanization is used for most Korean writing, and as an American speaker of English I find some of the transliterations to be a little misleading (which sadly many romanization systems are). "ae" and "e", for example, sound almost the same to me, but the vowels in the romanization system wouldn't be pronounced the same by me if I saw them in isolation. I'd pronounce the first one like the "a" in "ache" and the other like the "e" in "egg", but a Korean person I met told me that the only difference between the two is depth of the vowel.
I meant that I was wondering if the romanisation translation was based more on an American accent, since many of the vowels especially are pronounced quite differently from speakers of American English than by those of other dialects (I am from New Zealand). However, since you are having trouble too then perhaps that is not the case!
I'm so glad you found the same as me. I've decided to give up on this as it is ridiculously confusing. The English letters are used quite randomly, they have no correlation with the sounds at all. This is my first experience using Duolingo, and I am not impressed. I have applied to do a Korean course locally and hope that I can erase any odd transliterations I've picked up here.