Korean Translation Services


Korean Vowels

This table shows the vowels in the Korean writing system.  Readers who found this page through a search engine are recommended to first read our main article on the Korean writing system, which explains how to assemble the characters into syllable clusters.

Many of the sounds represented by the vowel letters in the Korean alphabet actually begin with the /w/ or /y/ sounds, which are classified by Western phoneticists as semi-vowels or semi-consonants.  Korean phoneticists, however, treat the “/w/+ pure vowel” or “/y/+ pure vowel” combinations as vowels.



Character Sound Click
for
Examples
Similar to the sound represented by “a” in the English word “father”
Similar to the first part of the English word “yahoo”, before the /h/ sound
Unlike any English vowel.  The closest one is possibly the vowel sound in the English word “bird” (without the /r/ sound) or the sound represented by “u” in the English word “but”.
Similar to the first part of the English word “young”, before the /ng/ sound
Similar to the vowel sound of the English word “all”, before the /l/ sound
Similar to the first part of the English word “yogurt”, before the /g/ sound
Similar to the vowel sound of the English word “ooze”, before the /z/ sound
The sound is exactly like the English word “you”.
Unlike any English vowel.  To produce this sound: (i) Say "ah";  (ii) with your lips relaxed and with your tongue resting on the floor of the mouth, slowly close your jaws until the upper and lower lips are about to touch (but not actually touching);   (iii) you would notice that the sound has lost the “ah” character (because your mouth is no longer open wide enough to make the “ah” sound) and that you are making a sound you can’t recognize as an English vowel.  The sound you are making is possibly close to this Korean vowel.
Similar to the vowel sound of the English word “eat”, before the /t/ sound
Similar to the first part of the English word “apple”, before the /pl/ sound
Similar to the first part of the English word “yank”, before the /ngk/ sound
Similar to the vowel of the English word “end”, before the /nd/ sound
Similar to the first part of the English word “yes”, before the /s/ sound
The beginning part of this sound is similar to the first part of the English word “wad” (before the /d/ sound) or “wash” (before the /sh/ sound), but it rapidly changes into and ends as a sound resembling the /a/ sound of “father”.
Similar to the first part of the English word “wag”, before the /g/ sound
Similar to the first part of the English word “west”, before the /st/ sound
Similar to the first part of the English word “want”, before the /nt/ sound
Similar to the first part of the English word “west”, before the /st/ sound
The sound is exactly like the English word “we”.
Unlike any English vowel.  The sound begins with and rapidly changes into   .