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Learning Korean - Lesson 1


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#1  WaGGy

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    Posted 26 Mar 11 - 12:55 PM

    LEARNING KOREAN

    LESSON I

    ‘Learning Korean’ is one of our projects on this site. It is the last on the list since we have more useful projects on the way, but while doing those other projects I sometimes come across issues and terms that are apt for this thread, so before I lose them (since I often have connection problems) I’ll post them here.

    While doing the Subtitle Guidelines, there had been discussions about what spelling to use: should we go with the more popular ones used by other subbing teams or with the latest revision initiated by the South Korean government. The questions of what (to use) and why (use it) were settled through popular vote, but the OCD in me won’t settle for that so I continued reading. ;)

    This topic may seem a waste of time for others who are too lazy to read, can’t blame them. Most people came here just to download the subs and not to learn Korean. But for those few people who someday wish to watch Kdrama without subs, this topic would be helpful.

    Since I’m not a native Korean speaker, I’ll try to explain it the simplest way possible, the way I understood it in class and in the books I’m using. I won’t go into much detail, like the arrangement of the letters (or jamo) since it also drives me crazy. I’ll just choose the important topics needed to get started with Korean.

    I’m also not an expert so if you have corrections or questions, let’s find the solution together. More heads are better than one...it is good if we learn together :)


    A brief History of the Korean Alphabet

    Koreans call their alphabet Hangeul. It was created during the reign of King Sejong (R.1418-1450) during the Joseon Dynasty. In 1446, the first Korean Alphabet was proclaimed and originally named Hunmin Jeongeum, which literally meant “the correct sounds for the instruction of the people.”

    The creation of the Hunmin Jeongeon was a truly remarkable accomplishment. Creating consonants based on a person’s speech organs and vowels based on the shapes of the sky, land, and man was truly an unprecedented process. King Sejong and the scholars of the Jiphyeonjeon, creators of the Korean Alphabet, considered human sounds as being more than mere physical phenomena. They adhered to the principle that human sounds and all universal phenomena are all based on the Yin-Yang (positive-negative) and Ohaeng (the five primary elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth).

    Features of Hangeul
    Direction of writing: Until the 1980s Korean was usually written from right to left in vertical columns. Since then writing from left to right in horizontal lines has become popular, and today the majority of texts are written horizontally.

    Number of letters: 24 = 14 consonants + 10 vowels (21 if you add the double vowels). The letters are combined together into syllable blocks.

    Example (jpeg format so we can see it better):
    Posted Image

    The shapes of the the consontants g/k, n, s, m and ng are graphical representations of the speech organs used to pronounce them. Other consonsants were created by adding extra lines to the basic shapes. The shapes of the the vowels are based on three elements: man (a vertical line), earth (a horizontal line) and heaven (a dot). In modern Hangeul the heavenly dot has mutated into a short line. The sounds of some consonants change depending on whether they appear at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a syllable.


    Spelling
    (I noticed this to be the most debated part)

    The confusion in spelling is due to the different Romanization systems used. There are two (2) most commonly used systems:

    1. Revised Romanization of Korean (RRKS) – which is primarly used in South Korea and is the Official South Korean transliteration system introduced in July 2000.

    2. McCune-Reischauer System (MRS) – which was devised in 1937 by two American graduate students, George McCune and Edwin Reischauer, and is widely used in Western publications.


    What is the difference? The table below will show you.

    VOWELS
    (I got this from my notes so the arrangement is mixed, but I think it is easier)
    Posted Image

    CONSONANTS
    Posted Image


    So what caused the spelling confusion?

    This is best answered using examples.
    Posted Image

    Since most subbers don’t know how to write this – ŏ – they end up making it Aboji, instead of Abŏji,
    but the spelling Aboji doesn’t really follow any accepted system (KRS or MRS). Like what I’ve written in the other thread (http://www.darksmurf...sions-spelling/)

    ŭ is not = u
    ŏ is not = o


    Another example is (I made this bigger so we could identify the letters better)
    Posted Image

    Putting them together we have hyeong or hyŏng but most subbers write it as Hyung, which is close to how the word is pronounced BUT it is not the correct Romanization of any system.

    Common words affected by this confusion in spelling are:
    Eomeoni, hyeongje, eomma, harabeoji, halmeoni, eonni


    For those who want to learn the language, in my opinion, it is better to use the Romanization Systems properly. Choose one that you feel most comfortable with and follow the rules. I noticed most people use the MRS but can’t type the letters ŭ and ŏ properly.

    For additional information, it is called a Breve and if you want to type it, use:
    ALT + 0335 for ŏ
    ALT + 0334 for Ŏ
    ALT + 0365 for ŭ
    ALT + 0364 for Ŭ



    Now, if the program/system you’re using can’t generate those letters (or if you simply forgot how to do it), out of respect to the Korean Language better use the other system instead. Don’t make your own Korean phonetics LOL.

    If your current fonts do not support the Korean letters look for these fonts:
    Posted Image
    If you read this post you’ll be able to understand what is written beside the font names ;)


    ---------------------

    UPDATE


    QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:

    teah asked: "quick question when you spell father why is there an 0 in front of the A letter."

    Below is my post and answer to this question . Quicklink: [http://www.darksmurf...dpost__p__7888]

    The simple practice terms are also found there ;) Please put your answer in a spoiler code [spoiler ] text [/spoiler ] (just remove the space after r when you write it)

    :)
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    #2  MSKpoplove

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    Posted 26 Mar 11 - 01:35 PM

    this is cool waggy! :D thanks for sharing.. a lot of people here are interested to study korean.

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    #3 kajsa

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    Posted 26 Mar 11 - 02:43 PM

    if people need help with korean am glad to help am a beginner in it
    love mae you do crazy things like this sig.

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    #4 Disizdan

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    Posted 27 Mar 11 - 01:00 AM

    Nice! A Very Informative Read! Thanks for the great guide! :goodjob:
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    #5 jadi

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    Posted 27 Mar 11 - 08:06 PM

    Thank you so much for this Waggy!It's really a big help...I'll be patiently waiting for the next post...

    #6 teah

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 04:17 AM

    Thanks this is great
    i cant wait for the next post
    :thumbsu:

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    #7  WaGGy

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 05:25 AM

    Thank you, too. I'm happy to help :)

    If you have questions about Lesson 1, feel free to ask and I'll see what I can do ;)

    I'm still conceptualizing Lesson 2, probably if I see that more clarification about a portion of Lesson 1 is needed, I'll include that in Lesson 2.

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    #8 Rosette Shim

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 05:57 AM

    :'D thank you very much ~
    Waggy with this lesson ..soon I'll be able to understand the alphabet and the language of Korean :) I will try my best to memorize every detail...thank you Teacher!

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    #9 chucktaylor

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 06:41 AM

    WOW...NICE...thank you..appreciate it

    #10 BrazenPanda

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 08:24 AM

    Coool :) I love this.

    #11  nonski

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 09:20 AM

    thanks waggy, :thumbsu: :thumbsu: :thumbsu:

    love this... :goodjob:

    this will greatly help as i had been meaning to study korean this summer...

    more power :bow:

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    #12 noraxd

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 11:19 AM

    yay! thanks for the first lesson!!
    I'll start to learn this lol

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    #13 heyyou200686

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 02:57 PM

    thanks you...very interesting..finally understand the differences RRKS n MRS..thanks to you :thumbsu:

    #14 teah

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    Posted 28 Mar 11 - 09:54 PM

    quick question when you spell father why is there an 0 in front of the A letter

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    #15 Carmal

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    Posted 29 Mar 11 - 12:57 AM

    quick question when you spell father why is there an 0 in front of the A letter


    The ᄋ in the first syllable of 아버지 (father) is a place holder consonant marker, (it is silent and has no sound) and is called "ieung". It is placed before a vowel if a syllable starts with a vowel instead of a consonant 아 (a).

    #16  WaGGy

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    Posted 29 Mar 11 - 06:03 AM

    Thanks for the question teah. Carmal answered the question already (thanks Carmal ;)).

    For supplement: there should only be one (1) vowel in every syllable. In writing, you should start every syllable with a consonant symbol to make the letter complete (I’ll re-write the alphabet in the next lesson for better understanding) and you use the consonant (or ieung) for this.

    I did not mention before that(or ieung) is a special symbol because it has two (2) functions depending on its position:
    • If it is placed at the beginning of the syllable, it will have no value hence it would be silent, just simply a place holder.
    • If it is placed at the last position, it would have the ‘ng’ sound.

    Posted Image

    ** There are other pronunciation changes that we will learn in the future. ;) In the meantime, try to familiarize yourselves with the letters first because it is better to learn how to write and read before learning how to speak, considering there are pronunciation changes depending on the position of the letters.

    Let’s have a little practice…don’t worry this is easy: :)

    What do you think this is 사랑해요 and this 안녕하세요 ?
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    #17  MSKpoplove

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    Posted 29 Mar 11 - 06:25 AM

    Let’s have a little practice…don’t worry this is easy: :)

    What do you think this is 사랑해요 and this 안녕하세요 ?


    Teacher! teacher!
    Spoiler
    :D

    omo! I love this thread teacher waggy, more quiz! more! :D


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    #18  WaGGy

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    Posted 29 Mar 11 - 06:30 AM

    Teacher! teacher!

    Spoiler
    :D

    omo! I love this thread teacher waggy, more quiz! more! :D



    Oh I forgot to write put your answer in a spoiler code! LOL :lol:

    Correct Msk! :goodjob: ...just add:
    Spoiler


    thanks for editing teacher waggy :D (by MSK)

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    #19  nonski

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    Posted 29 Mar 11 - 09:40 AM

    hi waggy,

    i'll just message the answer, lols, i dunno how to work that out on a code.

    i know this is wrong but pls point the out error pls...

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    #20  WaGGy

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    Posted 29 Mar 11 - 11:32 AM

    hi waggy,

    i'll just message the answer, lols, i dunno how to work that out on a code.

    i know this is wrong but pls point the out error pls...



    ^^ answered it through PM :)

    Next time I'll make the Korean letters bigger since they are barely recognizable when they are soooo tiny :blink:

    you can use spoilers like this
    [spoiler ] text here [/spoiler ]

    Just remove the space between r and ]. I couldn't do it here exactly or else the word 'spoiler' will disappear LOL.

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