Hangeul diphthongs

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dEhiN
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Hangeul diphthongs

Postby dEhiN » 2016-05-30, 19:18

Hi all, I'm starting to learn Korean. I'm working with a friend who's acting as my teacher. I'm also using things like Wikipedia's Korean Phonology page, and my friend knows IPA. So for the most part I'm good with the differences between the various vowels, as well as the lax vs tense vs aspirated consonant distinction.

But I'm having trouble with the diphthongs, in particular ㅚ. I'm thinking of the other diphthongs as a diphthongized version of their divisible monophthongs. So,

ㅘ = ㅗ + ㅏ = [o] + [a] = [oa] = [wa]
ㅙ = ㅗ + ㅐ = [o] + [ɛ] = [oɛ] = [wɛ]
ㅝ = ㅜ + ㅓ = [u] + [ɔ] = [uɔ] = [wɔ]
ㅞ = ㅜ + ㅔ = [u] + [e] = [ue] = [we]
ㅟ = ㅜ + ㅣ = [u] + [i] = [ui] = [wi]
ㅢ = ㅡ + ㅣ = [ɯ] + [i] = [ɯi]

Assuming that works as a way to understand and visualize the diphthongs, how should I break down ㅚ? From what I understand, it's not [oi].

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Re: Hangeul diphthongs

Postby mōdgethanc » 2016-05-30, 19:39

dEhiN wrote:ㅘ = ㅗ + ㅏ = [o] + [a] = [oa] = [wa]
ㅙ = ㅗ + ㅐ = [o] + [ɛ] = [oɛ] = [wɛ]
ㅝ = ㅜ + ㅓ = [u] + [ɔ] = [uɔ] = [wʌ]
ㅞ = ㅜ + ㅔ = [u] + [e] = [ue] = [we]
ㅟ = ㅜ + ㅣ = [u] + [i] = [ui] = [wi]
ㅢ = ㅡ + ㅣ = [ɯ] + [i] = [ɰi]

I thought that pronouncing it [ɔ] was a North Korean thing and the standard was [ʌ].
Assuming that works as a way to understand and visualize the diphthongs, how should I break down ㅚ? From what I understand, it's not [oi].
I don't know Korean, but isn't this /we/? That's because it came from an older /ø/ through vowel breaking.

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Re: Hangeul diphthongs

Postby dEhiN » 2016-06-03, 23:02

mōdgethanc wrote:
dEhiN wrote:ㅘ = ㅗ + ㅏ = [o] + [a] = [oa] = [wa]
ㅙ = ㅗ + ㅐ = [o] + [ɛ] = [oɛ] = [wɛ]
ㅝ = ㅜ + ㅓ = [u] + [ɔ] = [uɔ] = [wʌ]
ㅞ = ㅜ + ㅔ = [u] + [e] = [ue] = [we]
ㅟ = ㅜ + ㅣ = [u] + = [ui] = [wi]
ㅢ = ㅡ + ㅣ = [ɯ] + [i] = [ɰi]

I thought that pronouncing it [ɔ] was a North Korean thing and the standard was [ʌ].

That's what I read on Wikipedia too (the Korean phonology page), but when my friend pronounces ㅓ, there's definitely a rounding too it, more resemblent of [ɔ] than [ʌ] (which I associate with the vowel in [i]cut
).

mōdgethanc wrote:
Assuming that works as a way to understand and visualize the diphthongs, how should I break down ㅚ? From what I understand, it's not [oi].
I don't know Korean, but isn't this /we/? That's because it came from an older /ø/ through vowel breaking.

Ok, that makes sense. As far as I know it's supposed to be different than ㅙ and ㅞ, but when my friend pronounces all three in a row, I hear them as extremely similar. The only difference I can pick up is slight raising/lowering. At least comparing ㅙ and ㅚ. ㅞ, of course is different since you have the [ɛ]/[e] distinction.
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Re: Hangeul diphthongs

Postby mōdgethanc » 2016-06-04, 1:10

dEhiN wrote:That's what I read on Wikipedia too (the Korean phonology page), but when my friend pronounces ㅓ, there's definitely a rounding too it, more resemblent of [ɔ] than [ʌ] (which I associate with the vowel in cut).
Keep in mind that Korean /ʌ/ is a lot more back than the English one, which is a central vowel.
Ok, that makes sense. As far as I know it's supposed to be different than ㅙ and ㅞ, but when my friend pronounces all three in a row, I hear them as extremely similar. The only difference I can pick up is slight raising/lowering. At least comparing ㅙ and ㅚ. ㅞ, of course is different since you have the [ɛ]/[e] distinction.
Also keep in mind many Korean speakers merge /ɛ/ with /e/, and they're close to begin with.

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Re: Hangeul diphthongs

Postby linguoboy » 2016-06-04, 3:42

mōdgethanc wrote:Also keep in mind many Korean speakers merge /ɛ/ with /e/, and they're close to begin with.

Yeah. This is originally a Gyeongsang feature which has since spread to the de facto Seoul standard. Already 25 years ago, when I took Korean, we were taught to pronounce them the same. (My teacher was a native of Gyeongsang.)

I'm trying to think of minimal pairs for ㅚ, ㅙ, and ㅞ and failing. The last two are relatively uncommon in any case.

BTW, [ɰi] for ㅢ is essentially a spelling pronunciation. In Seoul colloquial, it's either realised as [ɯ] (initially) or [i] (in other positions), with the exception of the particle 의, which is [e].
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Re: Hangeul diphthongs

Postby mōdgethanc » 2016-06-04, 4:21

linguoboy wrote:Yeah. This is originally a Gyeongsang feature which has since spread to the de facto Seoul standard. Already 25 years ago, when I took Korean, we were taught to pronounce them the same. (My teacher was a native of Gyeongsang.)
What about [y] and [ø]? Does anybody still use these vowels, or is this feature completely dead?
BTW, [ɰi] for ㅢ is essentially a spelling pronunciation. In Seoul colloquial, it's either realised as [ɯ] (initially) or [i] (in other positions), with the exception of the particle 의, which is [e].
It seems like a pretty marginal phoneme to begin with, so that's understandable.

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Re: Hangeul diphthongs

Postby linguoboy » 2016-06-04, 4:58

mōdgethanc wrote:What about [y] and [ø]? Does anybody still use these vowels, or is this feature completely dead?

I think they exist allophonically, but I certainly have never heard a speaker use them consistently.

mōdgethanc wrote:
BTW, [ɰi] for ㅢ is essentially a spelling pronunciation. In Seoul colloquial, it's either realised as [ɯ] (initially) or [i] (in other positions), with the exception of the particle 의, which is [e].
It seems like a pretty marginal phoneme to begin with, so that's understandable.

I don't think it actually is. There are some pretty common elements (notably Sino-Korean 意 and 義) containing it. It was fairly common in native Middle Korean words, but changes to the vowel harmony system eliminated it from these almost completely.
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Re: Hangeul diphthongs

Postby silvereuro999 » 2016-06-10, 23:55

Hi. I am a native speaker of Korean but also read IPA.

What about [y] and [ø]? Does anybody still use these vowels, or is this feature completely dead?


As people have pointed out, technically ㅟ is [y], and ㅚ is [ø], but almost no native speaker is even aware of this, let alone pronounce them that way.
In fact, when learning languages with these vowel sounds, like French, German, and Turkish, most Koreans have extreme difficulty (which is ironic because Korean technically has those sounds).

As far as I know it's supposed to be different than ㅙ and ㅞ, but when my friend pronounces all three in a row, I hear them as extremely similar. The only difference I can pick up is slight raising/lowering. At least comparing ㅙ and ㅚ. ㅞ, of course is different since you have the [ɛ]/[e] distinction.


As for the distinction between ㅙ, ㅞ, and ㅚ, I recommend that you just pronounce them the same: [wɛ̝] (or any variation of [e] or [ɛ] that is comfortable for you) :)

I assume that your Korean friend is 100% native Seoul-speaker. When I ask Seoul people to pronounce certain words like 개 and 게, I can sometimes tell the difference between the [ɛ̝] and [e̞]. But this is only when I specifically ask them to pronounce them side by side. Otherwise, they usually don't distinguish them either.
Although I am not from Seoul (my family is from the southeastern part), I still speak standard Korean. Still, I could NEVER distinguish ㅙ, ㅞ, and ㅚ in my speech.

BTW, [ɰi] for ㅢ is essentially a spelling pronunciation. In Seoul colloquial, it's either realised as [ɯ] (initially) or [i] (in other positions), with the exception of the particle 의, which is [e].


Here are the technical rules regarding ㅢ (which most native speakers are not even aware of):

1) 의 at the beginning of the word must be pronounced as the original ㅢ [ɰi].
EG) '의자' must be pronounced [ɰidʑɐ].
(Some older people of certain regions pronounce them [ɰ], but this is wrong according to the standard. And it really does sound bad)

2) 의 in the middle of a word, with NO consonant in front, can be prounced as EITHER ㅢ [ɰi] OR ㅣ [i].
EG) '하의' can be pronounced either [hɐɰi] or [hɐi].

3) Consonant + ㅢ/의 must be prounced as C+ㅣ [(consonant)i], WITHOUT the [ɰ] sound.
EG) '무늬' is pronounced [muni], NOT [munɰi].
also, '악의' (note that the consonant before the 의 also counts) is pronounced [ɐgi], NOT [ɐgɰi].
This means that '악의' (ill will/malicious intent) has the same pronouncation as '아기'.

4) Finally, as pointed out earlier, the particle 의 CAN be (and in reality, most of the time is) prounounced as 에 [e̞].

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Re: Hangeul diphthongs

Postby dEhiN » 2016-06-27, 4:38

silvereuro999 wrote:Hi. I am a native speaker of Korean but also read IPA.

감사합니다 for the input and help!

As for the distinction between ㅙ, ㅞ, and ㅚ, I recommend that you just pronounce them the same: [wɛ̝] (or any variation of [e] or [ɛ] that is comfortable for you) :)

Yeah, I've more or less started doing that. If I'm saying all three diphthongs in succession, I can and do make a distinction of [e]/[ɛ] as well as a lowering for ㅚ. Actually, scratch that - I do try to keep ㅙ and ㅞ separate, making the first [wɛ] and the second [we]. I think in regular speech, I use [we] for ㅚ.

I assume that your Korean friend is 100% native Seoul-speaker. When I ask Seoul people to pronounce certain words like 개 and 게, I can sometimes tell the difference between the [ɛ̝] and [e̞]. But this is only when I specifically ask them to pronounce them side by side. Otherwise, they usually don't distinguish them either.
Although I am not from Seoul (my family is from the southeastern part), I still speak standard Korean. Still, I could NEVER distinguish ㅙ, ㅞ, and ㅚ in my speech.

Yeah, I think so. I remember she told me her family is from a small town a little ways from Seoul; I'll ask her to spell the town and write it here. But she lived in Seoul since uni at least (and she's now 27).

4) Finally, as pointed out earlier, the particle 의 CAN be (and in reality, most of the time is) prounounced as 에 [e̞].

Is this why my friend told me that a phrase like 나의 이름은 데이비드 입니다 tends to be said casually as 내 이름은 데이비드 입니다? Or is that the result of something else? Also, when I say the particle 의, like in 나의, I say [ɰi] because I'm still a beginner (started really learning from my friend about 2 months ago), and so I use spelling pronunciations.
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