Korean Lesson – Hangeul 6: Y-Vowels

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In Hangeul 2, we looked at the eight basic vowels of Korean:

ㅏ ㅓ ㅣ ㅗ ㅜ ㅡ ㅐ ㅔ

Each of these letters represents a single, constant vowel sound.

But there are a number of more complicated vowels in Korean. These are gliding vowels. While all of the vowels above represent a constant sound, a gliding vowel is where one vowel sound blends into another. Gliding vowels are also called diphthongs (which means ‘two sounds’).

Some gliding vowels in Korean can be formed by adding a second dash to the vowel:

Each of these new vowel letters represents the sound of the original vowel but with ‘y’ added to the beginning. Thus:

ㅏ ‘a’ ㅑ ‘ya’
ㅓ ‘o’ ㅕ ‘yo’
ㅗ ‘or’ ㅛ ‘yor’
ㅜ ‘oo’ ㅠ ‘yoo’
ㅐ ‘eh’ ㅒ ‘yeh’
ㅔ ‘ei’ ㅖ ‘yei’

As before, in order to write these vowels as syllables, they need to be written with the letter ㅇ.

야 여 요 유 얘 예


1. Match the sound to the syllable

‘yoo’ a.) 요 b.) 여 c.) 유
‘ya’ a.) 야 b.) 얘 c.) 아
‘yeh’ a.) 예 b.) 얘 c.) 애
‘yei’ a.) 에 b.) 예 c.) 여

2. Match the syllable to the sound

a.) ‘yei’ b.) ‘yi’ c.) ‘ya’
a.) ‘yei’ b.) ‘yo’ c.) ‘yoo’
a.) ‘yeh’ b.) ‘ya’ c.) ‘yo’
a.) ‘yoo’ b.) ‘yor’ c.) ‘yo’


Exercise 1: c, a, b, b
Exercise 2: a, b, a, b

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