Pure Vowels

Pure Vowels

In English there are five pure vowels: ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘o’ and ‘u’. There are also many combination vowels, like ‘ea’ in the word wheat, ‘oi’ in the word noise, and ‘ou’ in house. The word Canada illustrates a major problem in learning to pronounce English. The same letter, in this case ‘a’, can have more than one pronunciation. But happily, in Korean each vowel symbol always represents the same sound. So once you’ve learnt the symbols, you will always know how to pronounce the correct sound. There are nine pure vowels:

(1) ㅏ a (as in Canada)

(2) ㅐ ae (as in Canada)

(3) ㅓ eo (as in computer)

(4) ㅔ e (as in bed)

(5) ㅜ u (as in book)

(6) ㅣ i (as in see)

(7) ㅚ oe (as in wet)
The last two pure vowels are harder to pronounce as there are no direct
equivalents in English.

(8) ㅡ eu  (If you say ‘the cat sat on the mat’ stressing ‘cat and mat’, the sound of the unstressed ‘e’ in the ‘the’ is close to this vowel.)

(9) ㅗ o  (This is the hardest to get right. It is somewhere between the ‘o’ in hope and the ‘or’ in horde. The sound comes from the front of the mouth with your lips forming a circle.)



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