When ㅇ is Behind – Korean Pronunciation Tip #2

What's the difference between 이 and ㅣ? Actually, they sound same. ㅇ is just a placeholder. If there is no ㅇ in the character, 이, it looks a bit weird. So, there is ㅇ in it.

Character with 받침 + ㅇ first sound = 받침 replaces ㅇ

Because of that, if a character which has 받침, last sound, is in front of the character which starts with ㅇ, then the last sound is moved to the next character. It's hard to understand what I am saying with words. Let's see with examples.

미국은 한국보다 넓다.
US is wider than Korea.

When you say "미국은," it sounds like [미구근]. The last sound in 국 is moved to the first sound of 은.

나는 어제 한글을 어떻게 쓰는지 배웠다.
I learned how to write 한글 yesterday.

한글을 sounds like [한그를]. Like [미구근], The last sound in 글 is moved to the first sound of 을.

This rule exists because it is easier to pronounce and it sounds fluent. Just compare it yourself, which one is easier to pronounce 미구근 or 미국은, 한그를 or 한글을. You can see that the first ones are easier.

Actually, you can see this rule in English, too. When you say "what is this," you don't read it word by word like "what, is, this." "is" becomes like tis or dis in this sentence.

Only Exception: Consecutive ㅇs

The only exception for this rule is ㅇ. As I said in the last episode, if ㅇs are consecutive, they are pronounced twice.

이번 대회에서 우승을 차지할 영광의 주인공은?
Who is the person who will get the first place in this contest?

In this sentence, you can see 3 examples of the exception. 우승을, 영광의, 주인공은. ㅇs in these words are pronounced clearly.