Aspirated Consonants and Tensed Consonants

Aspirated Consonants

(1) ㅋ k (as in kite)

(2) ㅌ t (as in tank)

(3) ㅍ p (as in punk)

(4) ㅊ ch (as in cheese)

To understand what an aspirated consonant is, put your hand in front of your lips while saying kite. You can feel a burst of air. The difference between ㅋ (an aspirated consonant) and ㄱ (a simple consonant) is the amount of air you exhale when you make the sound. When you pronounce ㄱ, the amount of air you expel is quite small. This difference is similar to that between ‘ㅌ and ㄷ’, ‘ㅍ and ㅂ’ and ‘ㅊ and ㅈ’.

Tensed Consonants

(1) ㄲ kk (as in sky)

(2) ㄸ tt (as in stop)

(3) ㅃ pp (as in spy)

(4) ㅉ jj (similar to its easy)

(5) ㅆ ss (as in essence)

A tensed consonant such as ㄲ sounds like trying to pronounce two ㄱ at the
same time. It requires more effort and you need to tense the muscles around
your vocal chords.


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