Hangul 101: Reading the Symbols [☯ ~ #1]

November 01, 2012

This is my first step in learning Hangul (at least for this blog) since I cancelled the previous language that I wanted to learn.


I've stated in my previous posts that I'm into kpop. I listen to songs and (try to) sing along with some of them. Even if I don't really understand most of the lyrics, the melody of the songs catches me together with the heartfelt emotions of the singer's voice. I also watch some korean dramas and movies. I prefer watching them with the original Korean audio because hearing the actors' actual voices makes me feel their raw emotions. Through these exposures that I get of the foreign language, I got to learn some basic phrases  like annyeong haseyo and saranghae. Compared to Japanese, Hangul is a little challenging to pronounce. The romanisation has lots of vowels involved. Though I could just read Hangul sentences in roman letters, I realized that it would be better to study the Korean characters themselves because it would make pronouncing the words easier.

I can identify Hangul from Kanji characters through small circles that accompany the letters. Actually, Hangul and Kanji have some similarities. Each Hangul character equates to one syllable. They are just grouped together to create words. The tricky part here is the arrangement of the symbols to create one syllable. 

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Every skill is mastered through consistent honing and exercise. As for this, frequent reading of Hangul would really help you improve. At first, it was difficult to associate the symbol to its corresponding sound but the more you practice, the more things would go easier for you. Actually whenever I'm on the road and I see a Hangul sign, I automatically read it. I find it satisfying if I finished reading it before it escapes my view.

One of the most confusing part for me is identifying
/o/ from /u/, which I always tend to interchange with each other. I just really got the hang of it after some time. I practiced reading Hangul by singing along with Korean songs while reading lyrics. This could become a little frustrating, especially if the song has a fast beat (because of course the words would be spoken very fast too) but that's a start. And with that, you can move on and improve with reading.

Hangul Translation of English Phrases
I find this really amusing. Some English words when translated to Korean follows the same pronunciation patterns, with just a little difference in the spelling. It's like with Filipino words. For the English word contribution, the Filipino translation is kontribusyon. Other English-Filipino examples are helicopter-helikapter, jeep-dyip, piano-piyano, reality-realidad, and practice-praktis

Can you read this one*? If you are a fan of accessories and you say this is for you, then you read it right! :D

You'll never go wrong that this is actually that Skinfood product**.

si keu rit ga deun -- secret garden (photo credits: dramabeans.com)
mi seu ri peul li -- miss ripley (photo credits: korean-cozycrab.blogspot.com)

I also noticed that when Koreans say something in English, there's an extra syllable at the end of the word. Maybe that's really how they pronounce that in Korean.

Next Steps
As of this stage, I can't converse in Korean yet, even just using the most basic ones. I just know how to read. That's it. Maybe I have to study the structure of the language and the rules on how to build up sentences. Visiting Livemocha  would help I think. 

I can read, but I can't understand. T^T

I am not aiming to become fluent in Korean. All I want to achieve is to be able to read Hangul very well, up to a level wherein I can sing in a noraebang with little effort. ;p


* pae syeon aek se seo ri (fashion accessory)
** seu kin pu deu hae yang sim cheung so meol ti to neo (beu ra i teu ning) -- skin food muti toner (brightening)

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2 (mga) komento

  1. I want to learn hangul too!

    1. Hi Anon! It's easy! You just have to be a little patient in memorizing the symbols though. Good luck!


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