How to read 2 Consonants in 받침 – Korean Pronunciation Tips #12

We've learned for weeks that 한글 is not read as-is. We learned that there are many rules that native Koreans follow even though they don't recognize there are something like that.

In our twelfth and final episode about Korean pronunciation changes, we will learn how to read 2 consonants in 받침s. When you learn Korean, there are some characters that have 2 consonants in their last sound or 받침 like 삶(life), 닭(chicken), 값(price), etc. We will learn how to pronounce them.

Difference Between Korean and English

In English, when there is more than 2 consecutive sounds, we usually pronounce all of them. In the word, strength, there are 3 sounds, s, t, r in the front and 2 more sounds ng, th in the back and we pronounce them all. In the words like warm, dark, we read all r, m, k. (I know that r sound is read a bit like long vowel in British English. Still, it changes the sound of the vowel.)

However, in Korean, the last sound of every character is changed to 7 basic sounds, ㄱ, ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄹ, ㅁ, ㅂ, ㅇ. Because of that, Koreans read 닭, chicken, like [닥], not like English word, dark.

Basic Sound Rules

Fortunately, there are not many characters that have these 2 consonants in their 받침 places. I've collected almost everyone of them and you can use these as a reference. As you can see, most of the characters use their first consonant as their last sound.

First sound:

앉다안따

않다안타
많다만타

싫다실타
뚫다뚤타
닳다달타
여덟여덜

넓다널따
짧다짤따

핥다할따


없다업따

Second Sound


늙다늑따
읽다익따
맑다막따


젊다점따

밟다밥따

읊다읍따

There is a rule here. In most cases, just read the first sound. However, in ㄺ, ㄻ, ㄿ, use the second sound and 밟다 is the exception. You should read it like [밥따] not [발따].

Combination of Rules: Review of This Series

Like many rules of Korean, it might be happy for you and me if the rule ends here. However, it was just the start of the story. The pronunciation of these words changes as they work with other endings. It's like a review of the whole series. Let's check them out one by one.

1. When ㅇ is next.

As I said before, when ㅇ is next to a character, the last consonant of first character moves to the first sound of next character. It happens here, too. However, in this case, the first consonant survives and second consonant is moved.

값이 생각보다 많이 싸서 2개 샀어.
The price was lower than I thought, so I bought two.

그 책을 읽은 후에 런닝맨을 한 편 봤다.
After reading that book, I watched an episode of Running Man.

우리 회사의 미래를 위해서는 젊은 개발자들을 많이 필요하네.
For the future of our company, we need a lot of young developers.

You might have noticed that some words like 읽은 or 젊은. Although they use their second sound when they are used alone like 읽다, 젊다, both of their sounds are alive when 은 is conjugated.

2. When ㅎ is next to ㄺ, ㄼ, ㄵ

We learned that ㄱ, ㅂ, ㅈ becomes ㅋ, ㅍ, ㅊ when ㅎ is after them. It's also true with ㅎ after ㄺ, ㄼ, ㄵ like 읽히다, 밟히다, 앉히다, etc.

다음 작전을 적에게 읽힌 것 같다.
I think that our next operation is found out by our enemy.

어머니는 아이를 앉혀 놓고 1시간 동안 설명을 했다.
Mother let her kid sit down and explained it for an hour.

3. ㄶ, ㅀ + ㄴ, ㅇ => ㅎ dead

As we learned in 좋은, 쌓는, ㅎ is dead after ㄴ and ㅇ. It also happens with ㄶ, ㅀ.

그는 결국 오지 않았다.
He didn't come eventually.

뚫는데 얼마나 시간이 걸려?
How long does it take to make a hole?

In the case of 않았다, two rules are used. First rule is the death of ㅎ. Second rule is ㅇ after 받침. So, it sounds like [아나따].

In the case of the word 뚫는[뚤른], one of the rule of consonant assimilation, ㄹ + ㄴ => ㄹ + ㄹ happened, too.

4. ㄱ after ㄺ

Finally, it is an exception. When there is ㄱ endings like 게, 고, after ㄺ verbs, ㄺ uses first ㄹ sound. In the word like 젊게, it is [점께], ㄹ is always dead. However, in 읽고 or 맑게, they should be [일꼬], [말께].

그 책을 다 읽고 나니 10시었다.
After completing that book, it was 10 p.m.

We've learned how to pronounce 2 consonants in the last sounds. It's a bit long and hard journey. As I said a lot in this series, this pronunciation thing is sometimes a bit controversial and there are many variations and non standard ones. The words in this episode are not exception. You can see variety of pronunciation in the wild. Some people read 짧다 as [짭다], or 밟다 like [발따], etc. Don't be confused some people use those wrong pronunciation.

Thank you for having fun with Korean Pronunciation Tips series. I will come back with new and interesting episodes next week. See you later and take care!