Pronunciation Respelling of Korean Vowels

Vowel-Phonetic-Pronunciation-1

Vowel-Phonetic-Pronunciation-2

The Difference Betweenㅐand ㅔ

Vowels highlighted in the same color sound practically identical. For example,and both pretty much sound like “eh.” The best description of the difference I can give is  sounds higher or “squeakier” and is a shorter syllable.  is deeper and more drawn out, or “longer.”

Hear the difference for yourself. A native Korean enunciates 누리 (discount) and 국자 (patriot): korean.go.kr/hangeul/cpron/02_vowels/02_learn_07.htm and korean.go.kr/hangeul/cpron/02_vowels/02_learn_08.htm I would use Internet Explorer to view this site. Adobe Shockwave is required.

Most Koreans pronounce and  similarly. However, news presenters, or other people who’ve studied correct speech, will take care to differentiate the two.

You can also listen to ㅐ⇔/ɛ/ and ㅔ⇔/e/ sounds here: wiki: IPA vowel chart with audio.

Via google, here’s how someone specifies the difference,

In theory, “애” is closer to the IPA vowel sound /ɛ/ as in “nest” or “pen” and “에” is closer to /e/ as in “Mary” or “carry.”

ㅐ⇔ /ɛ/

Linguists call the vowel sound /ɛ/ an open-mid front unrounded vowel. It sounds similar to /e/ but is pronounced a little lower in the mouth.

Examples: pen, get, bed, wreck, left, nest, said, friend

ㅔ⇔ /e/

Linguists call the vowel sound /e/ a close-mid front unrounded vowel. It is pronounced in the middle to upper front part of the mouth.

Examples: hate, bait, take, main

Note: The pure /e/ is rarely used in American English; it is usually pronounced as the diphthong /eɪ/.

and also sound very similar. However, sounds like /jɛ/ and  is closer in sound to /je/.

And  and sound very similar. = /we/ and = /wɛ/.

ㅚ, sounds like /ø/.

ㅚ ⇔ /ø/

Linguists call the vowel sound /ø/ a close-mid front rounded vowel. If you can speak French, ø sounds like deux (/dø/). See wiki: close mid front rounded vowel for its features.


There really aren’t any similar sounds in English for vowels and , so here are the IPA symbols.

ㅡ ⇔ /ɯ/

This IPA symbol represents a close back unrounded vowel.

Features

  • “Its vowel height is close, also known as high, which means the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.”
  • “Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.”
  • “It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.”

ㅢ ⇔ /ɰi/

It basically sounds like /ɯ/ + ee. “The velar approximant is a type of consonantal sound… It is the semivocalic counterpart of the close back unrounded vowel [ɯ].”

Sources

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