Learn Hangeul

Do you recognize the statue on the picture above? It’s the Statue of King Sejong the Great (세종대왕 동상) which is located at the center of Gwanghawmun Square (광화문광장). He is the inventor of Korean letters (Hangeul) back in the mid fifteenth century. Thanks to King Sejong, the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty, that now we can learn Hangeul in this era. Even until now, we celebrate the Korean Alphabet Day which known as ‘Hangeul Day’ (한글날) on October 9.

Origin of Hangeul, Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음; 訓民正音)

Actually it would be very easy to learn Hangeul once you have mastered the alphabet. Korean Hangeul is very similar to both Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese, that’s why your Chinese or Japanese skill (Mandarin) will be helpful to speed up your learning. You might have forgotten how to read some of Chinese words for those who learned it before. But you will never forget the Hangeul words since it has its own alphabet that you can easily read it as “abcde”, though you might not understand its meaning.


Despite being derived from Chinese, we can say Hangeul is somewhat easier to read than Chinese or Japanese since it has the alphabet which contains 24 consonants and 21 vowels.


Let’s start learning Hangeul from the vowels which has total 21 vowels (10 single vowels and 11 multiple vowels). For the basic single vowel, Hangeul consist of 10 alphabets as below.

ㅏ : a

ㅑ: ya

ㅓ: eo

ㅕ: yeo

ㅗ : o

ㅛ : yo

ㅜ : u

ㅠ : yu

ㅡ : eu

ㅣ: i

You have to memorize all of each character in order to form a word of Hangeul. After that, the next step you need to memorize have multiple vowels which consist of 11 alphabets as below.

ㅐ: ae

ㅒ: yae

ㅔ: e

ㅖ: ye

ㅘ = wa

ㅙ = wae

ㅚ = oe

ㅝ = wo

ㅞ = we

ㅟ = wi

ㅢ = eui


If you have done with all vowels, then we can continue by learning the consonant. A vowel of Hangeul can’t stand itself to form a character, so we need to put it together with the consonant.

First of all, you need to memorize all the consonants which consist of single consonants and double consonants as below.

ㄱ : g, k

ㄴ : n

ㄷ : t, d

ㄹ : r

ㅁ : m

ㅂ : b, p

ㅅ : s

ㅇ : -, ng

ㅈ : c, j

ㅋ : kh

ㅌ : th

ㅍ : ph

ㅊ : ch

ㅎ : h

These are double consonants of Hangeul which sounds similar as their root syllable, where it just has some pronunciation differences. The pronunciation difference between the double consonant (ㄲ ㄸㅃ ㅆㅉ) and the single consonant (ㄱㄷ ㅂㅅㅈ) basically is the emphasis.

Double consonant should be pronounced with slightly emphasized, quick, and short for its character. For an instance, the Korean word 빨리 (Ppal li) which means be quickly or fast. This word is often used in daily life and sometimes also used repeatedly as 빨리빨리(Ppalli - ppalli).

ㄲ : kk

ㄸ : tt

ㅃ : pp

ㅆ : ss

ㅉ : jj




Now we will learn how to form a character of Hangeul, as you have known all vowels and consonants. Unlike English, a word of Hangeul can be formed from 2-4 characters for each syllable.

We will learn from the very basic where a character consists of one vowel and one consonant. There are two kinds of positioning where some of the vowel will be written horizontally, and the rest written vertically, as below example.

ㄱ +ㅏ = 가 (ga)

ㅂ + ㅣ = 비 (bi)

ㄴ + ㅐ = 내 (nae)

ㅇ + ㅜ = 우 (u)

ㅅ + ㅡ = 스 (seu)

ㄹ + ㅗ = 로 (ro)



In order to form more advanced and completed character of Hangeul, we should put ‘batchim’ (밭침) at the bottom of the character. Batchim will make the pronunciation of the character be different depends on its batchim.

하 + ㄴ = 한 (han)

기 + ㅁ = 김 ( gim)

바 + ㄱ = 박 (bak)

For an example, 한 ‘han’ consists of 하 ‘ha’ and ㄴ ‘n’ as the batchim. 김 ‘gim’ and 박 ‘bak’ are most common Korean surname.

And how to pronounce this word?

Batchim pronunciation is normally same as its own letter. However single batchim has a few exceptions, in general you just need to remember these few exceptions:

ㅇ = -, ng

Example: 강 (gang), 링 (ring), 봉 (bong)

ㅅ = s, t
Example: 밧 (bat), 옷 (ot), 곳 (got)

ㄹ = r, l
Example: 립 (rip), 불 (bul) - fire, 말 (mal)

In addition of those single batchim above, there are still some additional forms of double batchim. For this case of batchim, only one of the two consonants will be read. So again you need to memorize the exceptions as follows :

  • ㄳ = ㄱ
  • ㄵ = ㄴ
  • ㄶ = ㄴ
  • ㄺ = ㄱ
  • ㄻ = ㅁ
  • ㄼ = ㄹ
  • ㄽ = ㄹ
  • ㄾ = ㄹ
  • ㄿ = ㅂ
  • ㅀ = ㄹ
  • ㅄ = ㅂ

Example: 닭 - chicken (dak) , 많 (man), 없 (op)

After finished with all the lessons, now we will try to test you by reading some of this Korean vocabularies.

Source : hanguko.id

Try to read this!! Do you also understand the meaning? ^^

Good luck and Happy Learning~~

열심히 공부하세요~~