My experience on Korean writing

Yesterday I wanted to learn something new, which is why I searched the web for “learn to read Korean”.

I found a page with seven or eight links to basic lessons.

The first Korean letter I learned was ㅏ, which is supposed to have the same sound as the letter “a” in the words “bad” or “cat”, easy.

Then, I learned a few characters that represent slightly more complicated sounds, e.g., ㄷ, which sounds like a “d” or a “t” (it literally said that in the website, it’s like if the authentic sound of ㄷ were hidden somewhere between our “d” and “t”, which is hard to reproduce and even understand).

Another weird letter is ㄹ, whose sound is somewhere between our “l” and “r”, just like (for those who know what I’m talking about) the sound for the Chinese character 人 (which means “person” by the way and its pinyin is “rén”).

More weirdness: ㄱ, its character’s sound is buried somewhere between our easies “g” and “t”.

But not all were hard and almost impossible sounds for an American voice box, no, for example, the letter ㅅ, has the same sound as our “s”; the letter ㅎ is supposed to sound like an “h” (an English “h”, because the sound of the Spanish “h” is very different [in fact it doesn’t even sound]); the letter ㅣ sounds like an “i” in the word “bit” and is really easy to remember.

By the way, did you guys know that Korean has six vowels?, and there’s also something called a “placeholder”, the character ㅇ, which has no sound at all if it’s at the beginning of a character, but sounds like “ng” if it’s at the end of a character.

Well, enough Korean weirdness, have a nice day, and may be eat some 바나나 or whatever.

Santiago Restrepo Castillo


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