How to Read Hangeul in Korean – Hangeul letters can be learned by reading the Latin letters, but in the future we do not recommend reading the Latin letters. This is so that we get used to reading the han’geul letters directly. After all, Latin writing and pronunciation are sometimes very different. That’s why on this page we will learn to read hangeul correctly.
1. Single Vowel Letters
Vowel letters in Korean are divided into 2 namely single vowels and double vowels. Now we will learn single vowels first.
- 아 reads a
- 야 is pronounced yes
- 어 pronounced eo
- 여 pronounced yeo
- 오 is pronounced o
- 요 pronounced yo
- 우 is pronounced u
- 유 is pronounced yu
- 으 is pronounced eu
- 이 pronounced i
Let’s practice reading. The following are words made up of single vowels. Let’s learn how to read them right away.
- 오이 pronounced “oi” means cucumber
- 아이 pronounced “ai” means child
- 우유 pronounced “uyu” means milk
- 여우이 reads “yeou” meaning fox이유
- pronounced “iyu” means reason
- 여유 pronounced “yeoyu” means free.
2. Double Vowels
There are 11 double vowel letters. These letters are more complicated to learn. But don’t worry, we’ll cover them here. Take a look below.
- 애 pronounced ae
- 얘 pronounced yae
- 에 pronounced e
- 예 pronounced ye
- 와 pronounced wa
- 왜 pronounced we
- 외 pronounced we
- 워 pronounced weo
- 웨 pronounced we
- 위 pronounced wi
- 의 pronounced ei
Now let’s practice reading. The words below are combinations of double vowels. See the explanation below.
- 왜요 read “weyo” meaning why
- 에어요 read “eo” from the English word “air” which means air
- 위에요 pronounced “wie” meaning above
3. Single Consonant Letters
Consonant letters in Korean are also divided into 2, namely single consonants and double consonants. The number of single consonant letters is 14. Here is the explanation.
- ㄱ pronounced g
- ㄴ pronounced n
- ㄷ pronounced d
- ㄹ pronounced r
- ㅁ pronounced m
- ㅂ pronounced b
- ㅅ pronounced s
- ㅇ pronounced ng
- ㅈ pronounced j
- ㅊ pronounced ch
- ㅋ pronounced kh
- ㅌ pronounced th
- ㅍ pronounced ph
- ㅎ pronounced h
After knowing the consonant letters above, we will practice combining them with vowels to make them into words. Here’s an example.
- ㄱ + 아 = 가 pronounced ga
- ㄴ + 에 = 네 pronounced ne
- ㄷ + 오 = 도 pronounced do
- ㄹ + 으 = 르 pronounced re
- ㅁ + 워 = 뭐 pronounced muo
- 가요 pronounced gayo means go
- 누나 pronounced nuna means older sister
- 라디오 pronounced radio means radio
- 버스 pronounced beose means bus
- 우리 pronounced uri means we
- 도로 pronounced doro means street
- 주소 pronounced juso means address
- 나무 pronounced namu means tree
Do you understand how to read it? If so, we’ll move on to the next topic, which is double consonants.
4. Double Consonant Letters
There are only 5 double consonants in Korean. This is quite a few for us to memorize. Here’s the explanation.
- ㄲ is pronounced k
- ㄸ is pronounced t
- ㅃ is pronounced p
- ㅆ is pronounced s
- ㅉ is pronounced c
Now, we will practice combining the above double consonants into a word. Let’s look at the example below.
- 싸요 pronounced sayo means cheap
- 바빠요 pronounced bapayo means busy
- 가짜요 read gaca meaning fake
- 꼬리 pronounced kori means tail
- 따로 pronounced taro means separate
Well, that’s the list of han’geul letters which in total are divided into 4 parts, namely: single vowels, double vowels, single consonants, and double consonants. After everything is memorized we can read words or sentences.