Here is a quick review about ㅇ before we get to the new rule.

The consonant ㅇ is not pronounced when it is at the beginning of a syllable. This results in a vowel being pronounced first as the second letter in a Korean syllable is always a vowel.

Silent or Null at the Beginning of a Syllable

Word Romanization English Translation
ot clothes
an in, inside
ip mouth
우산 usan umbrella

Korean Study Tips

♦   This rule was explained in the pronunciation tips of Korean Consonants Set 2.

♦   Remember, when “ㅇ” is place as the final consonant(받침) of a syllable, ㅇ is pronounced as “ng”

The ㅇ Pronunciation Rule

Here are the conditions for when the ㅇ rule is used.

  1. The Korean word has two or more syllables. ex. 아기, 전화, 숟가락
  2. One or more syllables have a final consonant(받침) which comes before a syllable that starts with the consonant ㅇ. ex. 먹어, 한국어, 앉아

Notice how the ㄱ in 먹어 is followed by a ㅇ in the next syllable.

Notice how the ㄱ in 한국어 is followed by a ㅇ in the next syllable.

Notice how the ㅈ in 앉아 is followed by a ㅇ in the next syllable.

Here is the pronunciation for the ㅇ rule.

  1. The final consonant(받침) that comes before a syllable starting with the letter ㅇ is pronounced in place of the letter ㅇ.
  2. This rule allows all four letters in four letter Korean syllables to be pronounced

The best way to learn this rule is to see examples. The table below displays the ㅇ rule in use.

The ㅇ Pronunciation Rule Examples

Word Pronunciation Romanization English Translation
먹어 [머거] meogeo eat
한국어 [한구거] hangugeo Korean language
앉아 [안자] anja sit
중국어 [중구거] chunggugeo Chinese language
없어 [업서] eopseo not have, not exist, to be gone, none

Go to Part 9 – Korean Sentence Structure

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