Now let’s look at Hangeul’s consonants and vowels, their structures and names. First let’s look at the consonants. There are 19 consonants in modern Hangeul. There are 14 single consonants and five complex consonants.
The basic consonants are: ‘ㄱ, ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄹ, ㅁ, ㅂ, ㅅ, ㅇ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, ㅎ’
The names of the consonants are: giyeok, nieun, digeut, rieul, mieum, bieup, siot, ieung, jieut, chieut, ?ieuk, ?ieut, pieup, hieut. The name of each consonant reflects the pronunciation of the consonant in both its initial and final position. For example, the name of the character ‘ㄴ’ is nieun. When nieun is in the initial position, it is pronounced as [ni] When nieun is in the final position, it is pronounced as [eun]. So the name reflects the pronunciation of the character when it is in its initial and final position.
There are five complex consonants : ‘ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅆ, ㅉ’
Their names are : ssangiyeok, ssangdigeut, ssangbieup, ssangsiot, ssangjieut These complex consonants are formed by writing these consonants ‘ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㅅ, ㅈ’ twice. For example, the shape of ssangiyeok is formed by doubling the consonant ‘ㄱ(giyeok)’. Giyeok and ssangiyeok look similar but their pronunciations are different. Both consonants are spoken by placing the back of the tongue near the back of the roof of the mouth. Just the intensity of the sound is different. The shape of the ‘ㄱ’ character models the shape of the speech organ when pronouncing this character. The character ‘ㄲ＇is spoken from the same place as ‘ㄱ,’ but is just stronger.
Therefore, the same speech organ is used to pronounce the consonants represented by ‘ㄱ, ㄲ‘ and just the nature of the sound is different. The two consonants are written similarly because they are pronounced from the same place in the speech organ. This is the reason why Hangeul is described as a scientific alphabet. The name of ‘ㄱ’ is giyeok and the name of ‘ㄲ’ (which is two ‘ㄱ’ written side by side) is ssangiyeok. In Korean, ‘Ssang’ means a pair. Now let’s look at the vowels. There are 21 vowels in modern Hangeul. There are 10 single vowels and 11 complex vowels.
The single vowels are : ‘ㅏ, ㅑ, ㅓ, ㅕ, ㅗ, ㅛ, ㅜ, ㅠ, ㅡ,
The names of the vowels in order are: a, ya, eo, yeo, o, yo, u, yu, ui, i a ae ya yae eo e yeo ye o wa wae oe yo u wo we wi yu eu ui i
The complex vowels are: ‘ㅐ, ㅒ, ㅔ, ㅖ, ㅘ, ㅙ, ㅚ, ㅝ, ㅞ, ㅟ, ㅢ’.
The names in order are: ae, yae, e, ye, wa, wae, oe, wo, we, wi, ui. There are other characters that were created when Hangeul was invented in 1443, but are not in use today.
Those are: ‘ㅿ, ㆁ, ㆀ, ㆅ, ㆆ, ㅸ, ㆍ’ The sounds these characters represented were changed to different characters or the pronunciations have disappeared from the language. These characters are no longer used in modern Hangeul. Today we covered the consonants and vowels of Hangeul, their structures and their names. I hope you have a better understanding of how Hangeul characters look and their names. This is the end of the class. See you next time.