https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

It looks all the same to me....

Help !! All the Korean letters looks similar, and I can’t remember it !! Is there any good suggestion?

February 26, 2018

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Blaze-Storm

I feel like the recordings all sound the same. I'm at the point where I can start to pick out the letter components but from listening I have no idea how to tell the difference between most of the sounds.

I mean, are (for example) "bap" "gak" "gap" "pak" all supposed to be pronounced the same?

Don't even get me started on "we" "wae" "pwae" or "jjyo" "jjeu" "jyo" etc...

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/xKovu

I can definitely understand why you think that. But they are not pronounced the same, there are subtle differences that depend on how fast/hard you say a particular letter. Maybe looking at other audio sources might help with noting the differences (I also find the Duolingo recordings a bit odd).

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/xKovu

You just need to practice, practice, practice. Say the pronunciation out loud when looking at each character. Focus on the differences instead of the similarities. You'll get used to it.

Have more confidence in yourself too. If you say "I can't remember" then you will have a harder time. Instead, tell yourself you can and you will do it.

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

Thank you. I guess I just need to practice more :) I will try hard not to give up ! Thanks.

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/xKovu

Best of luck to you :)

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

I’ll give you a lingot :P

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/memo_Sunshine

same for me.. but i started a course on youtube and i've learned the letters so well then i practiced here .. it's much better like that and write the letters and how to spell it on a paper or you can record the voice and good luck <3

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

OK. I guess I will use a lot of things besides Duolingo....... Thanks!

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Staffan431948

I try to focus more on recognizing the syllables instead. One way is to identify syllables that mean something in and of themselves. Like if a word ends with 원 it's usually a place, if it ends with 사 it's usually a profession, and so on. Talk To Me In Korean has many examples of this in their grammar books.

February 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

Thank you for your advice:) I’ll try.....

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel

The consonants are based on the pronunciation. In one way or another they all depict the tongue position or some other aspect of pronunciation. ㄱ(k/g) ㄴ(n) correspond to the tongue shape/position (try it). ㅇis he shape of nothing special happening in the mouth :D ㅁ is the shape of lips when you pronounce it. ㅅ(s)ㄹ(r/l) describe the air flow. When there is two lines on a variation of a letter, that means more aspiration (stronger airflow), when the letter is doubled, that means no aspiration and a more forcefull pronunciation (double the effort). So consonants are quite logical...Vowels on the other hand are more philosophical and I found that I just had to practice a lot to learn them (and I still struggle with some combined vowels). Hope this helps a bit, and sorry in advance for any mistakes. I'm just a beginner myself.

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

Thank you so much !! I think I understand now.... I will just do my best :P

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/sophiepete3

Making flashcards really helped me while I was learning the alphabet. There are free flashcard all over the internet, but I also recommend hand writing your own. Writing them down helps to reinforce it better. You just need to go over them over and over again. I also looked for characteristics of each letter that would help me remember them better. For example, with "ㅏ" I knew it was the "a" sound because the horizontal line came 'a'fter the vertical line. Good luck and have fun!

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

Oh..... I see ! Thank you ! I will make some flash cards :)

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Catsy_Brave

I understand how you feel. Actually when I was first learning how to read Korean I spent a month doing it (just improving the speed). For ages I felt so frustrated that my reading skill wasn't improving and I had this like lightbulb moment just thinking my entire learning journey is going to be like this.

Basically every piece of advice online about reading just said "you just have to practice practice practice" -- read often like every day and you'll improve - and it's true.

I spent days listening to and reading the lyrics of AKMU's The Tree, and FROMM's Spring, a dream of Winter - so potentially you can do the same. I chose these two songs because they were very very slow. Now I can read along and sing to stuff like GOT7's Teenager.

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

Thanks a lot!!!! I guess I just didn’t try hard enough:P Thank you anyway!

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/roberto727

Lots of good advice here. Since you are already somewhat familiar with the letters, I am pretty sure 15 minutes with the following youtube video will pretty much lock them into your memory. If not, watch it twice, or watch some of the other hangul youtube videos as suggested by others. The Korean fellow who made this video has a number of very helpful videos on his website. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ImwT75efI8&t=360s

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

Thanks ! I’m sure that I will do better with all these advices:)

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LiKenun

Here’s a hint: the shapes of the Korean letters are pretty minimalistic and easier to distinguish than the more arbitrary shapes of Greek, Latin, and Cyrillic letters. For the most part, similar sounds will have similar shapes. Dissimilar sounds will have dissimilar shapes. This is called featural because the shapes correspond to the sounds’ features. To an English speaker, this is not immediately apparent because the shapes bear no resemblance to the sounds, although sound alternations commonly occur such as in the words leaf (f) and leaves (v), or docks (s) and dogs (z). Take this list of voiced/voiceless pairs for instance:

  • b and p
  • v and f
  • d and t
  • th and th ← not distinguished in spelling in English
  • z and s
  • j and ch
  • g and c/k

The shapes of the letters do not suggest any sort of relationship between the sounds and they must be learned by memorizing individually.


In Korean, however, the shapes indicate many aspects of a sound. A series of basic sounds may come in up to five different variants:

  • ᅟᅠ, ㆁ, , , ← Velar series (ng/g/k sounds)
  • , , , , ← Dental series (l/n/d/t sounds)
  • ᅟᅠ, , , , ㅍ ← Bilabial series (m/b/p sounds)

The affricates are not associated with a nasal:

  • ᅟᅠ, ᅟᅠ, , , ← Dental/palatal series (j/ch sounds)

And the sibilants only come in a pair:

  • ᅟᅠ, ᅟᅠ, , , ᅟᅠ ← Dental/palatal series (s sounds)

The glottals (throat sounds) are hard to classify since there were so many different flavors of the sounds (including oddballs such as and ), but only two remain from the old times:

  • , ← Glottal series (silent/h sounds)

With few exceptions, similar sounds have similar shapes. See if you can identify the pattern.

(Note the dual nature of . is considered the same letter as in South Korea. There is no ambiguity since at the beginning of a syllable it is always silent, and at the end of a syllable it is always ng. When this letter was conceived, it was probably no coincidence that the basic shape came to be used for both silence and ng since the sound tended to disappear syllable initially. It’s a common phenomenon in other languages.)

February 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

Thank you. I think I got it. Thanks for your hard work :)

February 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Charlie_Puss

I know you have already gotten a lot of replies, but just as a general tip for learning languages, relating the sound to the letter through a pun or something similar to that helps a lot. Look up the phrase "Mnemonic Device", helps a ton. Good luck :) Edit: for example, in the letter combination/syllable "위" I remember "wi" because the two sounds look like a couple--- aka a pun on we/wi. Once I got used to the sound, I eventually remembered the line that resembles an "i" makes the "e" "i" sound (not to be confused with the "ei" sound. Sorry if that didn't make any sense!

March 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

Just keep practicing! Install Hangul keyboard on your phone and just type random letter combinations on it, that's what I did XD before I even learned the sounds I just wanted to know what they looked like.

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

Thank you ! I guess you are an Army ? Me too ! I love BTS :)

February 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

Yep! and a Once. And a Reveluv. And a Little Aunt... sooo.... I'm into pretty much everything.

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

WOW! K-Pop is so good ;)

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

I agree :)

March 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RARITY0215

I’ll give you one of my Lingots:)

March 1, 2018
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