Learn Hangul, the Korean Alphabet: 3 Great Web Resources

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Hangul

I’ve come across three websites that can be useful when learning hangul (chosongul in North Korea). Hangul is the writing system used in both Koreas, and it consists of 24 letters. Since there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, one could argue that it’s easier to learn hangul than the English alphabet.

What makes hangul different from our alphabet, though, is that the 24 letters are used to build blocks (think: syllables) that are composed of two or more letters. In Korean, we can’t use the letters individually as we would in English. Although it would make sense to simply arrange the letters in the order that they should be pronounced (e.g. 사ᄋ for ‘sang’ when s = ᄉ, a =ᅡ, ng = ᄋ), we actually have to group them to form complete, syllabic blocks (상 = sang). Simply put, one block contains one syllable.

Now, why would you want to learn hangul? The reason why I wanted to learn hangul, without learning the language itself, is that I wanted to know how to pronounce Korean song names. I like to order my music collection so that every song and artist retains its original writing style, in its own language and orthography. For instance, kanji, hiragana and katakana for J-Pop; Chinese for C-Pop; and hangul for K-Pop, respectively. Other than that, I think it’s just fun to know how to read foreign scripts.

To teach yourself hangul, try the following websites:

  1. Hangul Video Lessons — 7 video tutorials that walk you through the Korean writing system.
  2. Hangul Letter Chart — Displays every hangul letter combination.
  3. Hangul Soundboard — Check how every vowel and consontant is pronounced. Includes examples. Excellent for distinguishing the nuances.
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One Response to “Learn Hangul, the Korean Alphabet: 3 Great Web Resources”

Oct 28, 2013

This is by far the best Korean alphabet chart! It all consonant / vowel combinations and it has full audio from a native Korean speaker!

http://www.speakoutlanguages.com/korean-chart/

Enjoy!

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