Korean writing – learn the vowels

firststepkorean12

Learn the 10 vowels used in Korean writing

These ten basic vowels, when combined with 14 consonants will allow you to read and write anything in Korean. Much easier than the thousands of characters needed to be a fluent reader and writer of Japanese or Chinese!

Obviously there is more to learning a language than simply learning the writing system but it is an important foundation step to allow progress in the language. For this reason I recommend ridding yourself of the crutch of writing the Korean word with roman letters and try to work with the hangeul letters as much as possible, as son as possible.

The graphics used here are from the First Step Korean course by Yonsei University, a free 5-week course on Coursera. I hope my notes and screencaptures from the course can help in your journey to Korean fluency!

Here are the first 6 vowels along with pronunciation and mouth position.

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firststepkorean7firststepkorean8firststepkorean9firststepkorean10firststepkorean11

These six vowels are expanded to ten with the addition of a second mark to the first 4 vowels, basically adding a ‘y’ before the initial vowel.

yafirststepkoreanya

yawfirststepkoreanyaw

yo / yeo

firststepkoreanyo

yu

firststepkoreanyu

Test yourself – can you read the ten basic vowels now?

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How about writing them? The stroke order in hangeul is left-to-right and -top-to-bottom

Follow the diagrams below to write the hangeul in the correct order

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Now, why don’t you learn some words using the vowels you have learned so far? Click on the slideshow below to go through some common words written only with vowels.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Then try out these worksheets to reinforce what you have learned:

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