Some Korean vowels can be combined to create a “w” sound. For example, ㅗ+ㅏ= ㅘ, o+a=wa. The horizontal vowel is pronounced first followed by the vertical vowel. Pronounced at a natural speed the “w” sound is produced. This is the case for all but one combination of vowels. The only exception is ㅗ+ㅣ=ㅚ, o+i≠oi which does not sound like a combination of its vowel parts. Therefore this vowel must be memorized separately. ㅚ is actually romanized as “we” and pronounced as the entire word “weigh.”

Korean Vowels Combined

Vowel Equation Combined Vowel Romanization Pronunciation Tips
ㅗ+ㅏ=ㅘ wa as in wand
ㅡ+ㅣ=ㅢ ui as in the French word oui
ㅜ+ㅓ=ㅝ wo as in wonderful
ㅜ+ㅣ=ㅟ wi as in week
ㅜ+ㅔ=ㅞ we as in well
ㅗ+ㅐ=ㅙ wae as in weigh
ㅗ+ㅣ=ㅚ we as in weigh

Korean Study Tips

♦   These Korean vowels combined are considered single letters. ㅘ is one letter, not two.

♦   ㅢ is often difficult to pronounce but will come to you over time so don’t get hung up on it too much.

♦   Remember, the pronunciations of Korean vowels combined are a combination of their smaller parts so it shouldn’t be too hard to memorize.

♦   Spend extra time on ㅚ as it is the exception to the rule and is pronounced differently than the combination of its smaller vowel parts.

♦   There is essentially no difference between the pronunciation of ㅙ and ㅚ, as in weigh.

Korean Vowels Combined


Korean Study Tips

♦   Not all of the syllables in this table are used in words.

♦   If a final consonant(받침) is added after a combined vowel, it goes directly below the first two letters. ex. 원,관

♦   The combined vowel ㅢ is rarely used which is good because it is difficult to pronounce.

♦  Memorizing Korean vowels sets 1, 2, and 3 before Korean vowels combined is highly recommended.

My Korean Words

Word Romanization English Translation
won won, ₩, (Korean currency)
사과 sagwa apple
돼지 dwaeji pig
 의사 uisa doctor
 귀 gwi ear
의자 uija chair

Go to Part 6 – Final Consonants(받침)

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