Korean phonetics

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Korean phonetics

Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-07-18, 21:28

That will probably be a very stupid question for almost everybody but I wonder which is the equivalent in the International Phonetic Alphabet for the Hangeul ㄹ? (I think I will have a few questions to ask about this in the future).

There are a few things I wonder about the accurate pronunciations of the following hangeul:
(I can hear these sounds, but I can't really link the sound to either of these sounds to any of these esoteric symbols ;))

: I have seen [ʌ], [ɔ], [ə] used to transcribe it. From my own experience, I only heard [ə] when listening to speakers (of a northern dialect), and things varying between [ɔ] and [ʌ] in my teaching materials. I can see [ə] in the textbook I got in China.

: I have seen [ɨ] and [ɯ] in my materials. I tend to believe it's the latter I've been hearing so far, [ɯ], which is also in my chinese textbooks. According to some sources it also seems to be the turkish "ı" (i without a dot), and the first component in the russian diphthong "ы"; which both make sense to me.

: I keep on reading it is [ɛ] but according to my experience of [ɛ] in other languages I really can't imagine it's the same sound. To me it appears to be [æ]...

: I read it's [ø] but no... :shock: I can't believe it. It's a diphtong. But which one? It can't be the one I think of, which would be theorically 웨...

: I read it's [y] but I can't believe it, like the one above.

I basically wonder about the following sounds: 왜 웨 위 외 와 워 의

I don't know if I was clear enough: I can of course make the difference between them when I hear them one after one, but there are some pairs in which I am helpless to distinguish one from another... Strangely enough that's not 왜 and 웨, between which the difference is clear (it's basically the difference between 애 and 에), but the difference between 외 and 웨 in some speakers, and between 외 and 왜 in others... :?
I'd like to know the IPA transcription for all.

A friend of mine, a native Korean from the southwest of South Korea (the countryside south of 광주), told me that he doesn't make the difference between most of these sounds himself, but that didn't help me much... ;)
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Re: Korean phonetics

Postby Kirk » 2005-07-18, 23:15

JunMing wrote:That will probably be a very stupid question for almost everybody but I wonder which is the equivalent in the International Phonetic Alphabet for the Hangeul ㄹ? (I think I will have a few questions to ask about this in the future).

There are a few things I wonder about the accurate pronunciations of the following hangeul:
(I can hear these sounds, but I can't really link the sound to either of these sounds to any of these esoteric symbols ;))

: I have seen [ʌ], [ɔ], [ə] used to transcribe it. From my own experience, I only heard [ə] when listening to speakers (of a northern dialect), and things varying between [ɔ] and [ʌ] in my teaching materials. I can see [ə] in the textbook I got in China.


I've seen all those symbols used to transcribe it, too. In my Korean professors I've heard what I'd transcribe as [ɔ] for that sound. [ʌ] and [ə] don't have rounding, and my professors definitely always have rounded lips for that sound. In fact, I think good evidence that it's [ɔ] at least as my professors say it is that it's a challenging sound for many of us Californians to master, as we don't have phonemic [ɔ] in our dialect of English, so hearing (and especially producing) the difference between [o] 오 and [ɔ] 어 is a big challenge for many students (my professor said it's one of the hardest sound differentiations for Californians to consistently make...and in the experience of my classees that's true--my classmates confused them all the time). According to my head Korean professor, who got a PhD in some branch of linguistics (can't remember), she said having taught in "cot-caught" nonmerged areas, it was much easier to get Americans to differentiate between those sounds than in places she's taught like California.

JunMing wrote: : I have seen [ɨ] and [ɯ] in my materials. I tend to believe it's the latter I've been hearing so far, [ɯ], which is also in my chinese textbooks. According to some sources it also seems to be the turkish "ı" (i without a dot), and the first component in the russian diphthong "ы"; which both make sense to me.


I think it's closer to [ɨ], as my professors say it. It's completely unrounded, as is [ɯ] of course, but [ɯ] is articulatorily only an unrounded [u ], which is far too back to be 으 , which is a high-central sound best represented by [ɨ], I believe.

JunMing wrote: : I keep on reading it is [ɛ] but according to my experience of [ɛ] in other languages I really can't imagine it's the same sound. To me it appears to be [æ]...


My professor says it depends on the dialect. In Standard Seoul speech, the sound is effectively merged with 에 [e]. Our professors told us to say both 에 and 애 as [e], but to remember the difference for spelling. I've read that non-merged dialects may have [ɛ] or [æ] for 애, so your perceptions are probably right, you're just hearing a non-merged dialect.

JunMing wrote: : I read it's [ø] but no... :shock: I can't believe it. It's a diphtong. But which one? It can't be the one I think of, which would be theorically 웨...


Another dialectal difference. Apparently 의 is [ø] in many dialects, but in Seoul its [ɨi] or [e] depending on position. My professor says her husband isn't from Seoul and has [ø], which she says sounds "weird" to her, but it is common in non-Seoul dialects, I believe. She said Seoul's pronunciation of it as [ɨi] is probably as a result of a spelling pronunciation which has become the norm, which would make sense given how it's spelled.

I hadn't heard about variation for 외, which we were always taught to pronounce just like 웨 [we], but to memorize the difference in spelling.

JunMing wrote: : I read it's [y] but I can't believe it, like the one above.


Hmm, I haven't heard about that one. In class we were taught it was [wi].

JunMing wrote:I basically wonder about the following sounds: 왜 웨 위 외 와 워 의

I don't know if I was clear enough: I can of course make the difference between them when I hear them one after one, but there are some pairs in which I am helpless to distinguish one from another... Strangely enough that's not 왜 and 웨, between which the difference is clear (it's basically the difference between 애 and 에), but the difference between 외 and 웨 in some speakers, and between 외 and 왜 in others... :?
I'd like to know the IPA transcription for all.


See, as I said before it really depends on dialect. According to the Seoul dialect which we learn, those following sounds are as follows:

왜 [we]
웨 [we]
위 [wi]
외 [we]
와 [wa]
워 [wɔ]
의 [ɨi] or [e] as possessive


JunMing wrote:A friend of mine, a native Korean from the southwest of South Korea (the countryside south of 광주), told me that he doesn't make the difference between most of these sounds himself, but that didn't help me much... ;)


Haha--yeah, without a clear description of what he does, his comment is unfortunately not very helpful. All I can say is with my professors, who speak the Seoul dialect, and the Korean movies I've watched, which prefer the Seoul "Standard" dialect, the transcriptions for the speech are as I wrote above. However, you may not be going for the Seoul dialect, so I'm not sure if you'd want to emulate those or not.
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Postby Luís » 2005-07-19, 0:06

svenska wrote:I've seen all those symbols used to transcribe it, too. In my Korean professors I've heard what I'd transcribe as [ɔ] for that sound. [ʌ] and [ə] don't have rounding, and my professors definitely always have rounded lips for that sound. In fact, I think good evidence that it's [ɔ] at least as my professors say it is that it's a challenging sound for many of us Californians to master, as we don't have phonemic [ɔ] in our dialect of English, so hearing (and especially producing) the difference between [o] 오 and [ɔ] 어 is a big challenge for many students


What I hear is [ɔ] as well. My native language (Portuguese) distinguishes between [ɔ] and [o] and to me the difference between Korean 어 and 오 seems to be the same.

svenska84 wrote:I think it's closer to [ɨ], as my professors say it.


I agree. Once again, I notice no difference whatsoever between the Korean 으 and the Portuguese unstressed 'e' (which is [ɨ]). Russian ы is [ɨ] as well.

As for 에 and 애, I learned it should be [e] and [ae], but that some (most?) Koreans don't make a distinction between the two. Strangely enough, I have a book that says that making the distinction is very important and then goes on to present a large list of minimal pairs. In the tapes that come with the book all speakers make the distinction... :?

svenska84 wrote:Another dialectal difference. Apparently 의 is [ø] in many dialects, but in Seoul its [ɨi] or [e] depending on position.


I learned that it's [ɨi] as you say, but also [e] or [i], depending on position... I wonder where it would be pronounced as [i] though...

And since we're at it, is it just me or has anyone else ever heard a Korean pronounce ㅊ as [tsʰ]? This reminds me of Chinese people who pronounce c for ch (I think they also do this in the regions bordering Korea, but I'm not sure. Junming might know better).
The difference is that in Korean you can't really mistake ㅊ for anything else, even if it's pronounced [tsʰ], unlike in Chinese ;)
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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-19, 2:04

Luís wrote:
svenska wrote:I've seen all those symbols used to transcribe it, too. In my Korean professors I've heard what I'd transcribe as [ɔ] for that sound. [ʌ] and [ə] don't have rounding, and my professors definitely always have rounded lips for that sound. In fact, I think good evidence that it's [ɔ] at least as my professors say it is that it's a challenging sound for many of us Californians to master, as we don't have phonemic [ɔ] in our dialect of English, so hearing (and especially producing) the difference between [o] 오 and [ɔ] 어 is a big challenge for many students


What I hear is [ɔ] as well. My native language (Portuguese) distinguishes between [ɔ] and [o] and to me the difference between Korean 어 and 오 seems to be the same.

svenska84 wrote:I think it's closer to [ɨ], as my professors say it.


I agree. Once again, I notice no difference whatsoever between the Korean 으 and the Portuguese unstressed 'e' (which is [ɨ]). Russian ы is [ɨ] as well.

As for 에 and 애, I learned it should be [e] and [ae], but that some (most?) Koreans don't make a distinction between the two. Strangely enough, I have a book that says that making the distinction is very important and then goes on to present a large list of minimal pairs. In the tapes that come with the book all speakers make the distinction... :?


In our Korean class we learned that most speakers (and by "most" I'm assuming they mean the Seoul standard) merge the two except for the most careful, and formal speech, in which cases we learned that 애 is realized as [ɛ], differing from 애 [e].

Luís wrote:
svenska84 wrote:Another dialectal difference. Apparently 의 is [ø] in many dialects, but in Seoul its [ɨi] or [e] depending on position.


I learned that it's [ɨi] as you say, but also [e] or [i], depending on position... I wonder where it would be pronounced as [i] though...


In our class we were taught to produce the sound 의 as a semi-diphthong [ɨi], which reminds me of French [ɥi] as in "suis." The exception we learned was for when 의 is used as a possessive particle. So, for instance:

자..........would have [ɨi], but
한국역사.....would have [e]

Luís wrote:And since we're at it, is it just me or has anyone else ever heard a Korean pronounce ㅊ as [tsʰ]? This reminds me of Chinese people who pronounce c for ch (I think they also do this in the regions bordering Korea, but I'm not sure. Junming might know better).
The difference is that in Korean you can't really mistake ㅊ for anything else, even if it's pronounced [tsʰ], unlike in Chinese ;)


I think I may have heard [tsʰ], but my instinct is to think of the sound as [tʃʰ], which I've also heard from Koreans. The one I'm never exactly sure about is
ㅉ, which our professor said to say as [ts] (she said it's "just like" the /ts/ in English "pizza"), but that isn't a completely satisfactory response for me, as it doesn't always seem to be [ts].
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Postby JonasCSG » 2005-07-19, 2:50

Hi. I was a classmate of svenska84's when we started Korean two years ago. I just finished my second year of Korean, but I really need lots of practice.

Just thought to let you know I exsist.

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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-19, 3:04

JonasCSG wrote:Hi. I was a classmate of svenska84's when we started Korean two years ago. I just finished my second year of Korean, but I really need lots of practice.

Just thought to let you know I exsist.


안녕, 조나스! 나도 한국어를 연습해야돼. 니 애버타는 아주 좋아라고 생각해.
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

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Re: Korean phonetics

Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-07-19, 12:20

JunMing wrote:I wonder which is the equivalent in the International Phonetic Alphabet for the Hangeul ㄹ? (I think I will have a few questions to ask about this in the future).


You forgot about this question, which is actually the one why I started this thread... ;)

svenska84 wrote:I've seen all those symbols used to transcribe it, too. In my Korean professors I've heard what I'd transcribe as [ɔ] for that sound.


That seems to make sense, if your teachers are all from Seoul or speak the Seoul dialect as a standard. Myself this is the sound I hear most of the time in the *official* South Korean/western materials (generally based on Seoul dialect), but I never heard this sound when listening to Chinese Koreans, or to North Koreans: I really think I heard an unrounded sound, very certainly [ə] (which I know from my native language).

svenska84 wrote:[ʌ] and [ə] don't have rounding, and my professors definitely always have rounded lips for that sound. In fact, I think good evidence that it's [ɔ] at least as my professors say it is that it's a challenging sound for many of us Californians to master, as we don't have phonemic [ɔ] in our dialect of English, so hearing (and especially producing) the difference between [o] 오 and [ɔ] 어 is a big challenge for many students (my professor said it's one of the hardest sound differentiations for Californians to consistently make...and in the experience of my classees that's true--my classmates confused them all the time). According to my head Korean professor, who got a PhD in some branch of linguistics (can't remember), she said having taught in "cot-caught" nonmerged areas, it was much easier to get Americans to differentiate between those sounds than in places she's taught like California.


The problem is different for me, as I am used to hear both sounds [ɔ] and [ə] in my native language, along with [o] obviously (even if I never pronounce [ɔ] myself, nor is it pronounced by speakers who originates from my area, yet I was confronted to it on TV and official medias at a young age to be able to recognise it in any language).
I brought that question because I was surprised to see how 어 was said to have different IPA equivalents in all my sources... and also because it still appears very odd to me to think such different sounds can correspond to the same hangeul... But that's probably because I am too used to these sounds as I could point... ;)

Luís wrote:What I hear is [ɔ] as well. My native language (Portuguese) distinguishes between [ɔ] and [o] and to me the difference between Korean 어 and 오 seems to be the same.


It can be a question hard to answer: do all your materials originate from South Korea, and/or are written by teachers who base themselves on the Seoul dialect?

I don't want to sound too picky; I asked that question because it seems to me that the sound of the materials I have are not representative of the sounds I heard from native speakers... probably because they speak a dialect too different from the Seoul dialect? ;)

svenska84 wrote:
JunMing wrote: : I have seen [ɨ] and [ɯ] in my materials. I tend to believe it's the latter I've been hearing so far, [ɯ], which is also in my chinese textbooks. According to some sources it also seems to be the turkish "ı" (i without a dot), and the first component in the russian diphthong "ы"; which both make sense to me.


I think it's closer to [ɨ], as my professors say it. It's completely unrounded, as is [ɯ] of course, but [ɯ] is articulatorily only an unrounded [u], which is far too back to be 으 , which is a high-central sound best represented by [ɨ], I believe.


Luís wrote:I agree. Once again, I notice no difference whatsoever between the Korean 으 and the Portuguese unstressed 'e' (which is [ɨ]). Russian ы is [ɨ] as well.


Thanks both of you for explaining this! :D
I probably remember my Russian semester too bad, since I remebered ы as a diphthong... :lol:

svenska84 wrote:
JunMing wrote: : I keep on reading it is [ɛ] but according to my experience of [ɛ] in other languages I really can't imagine it's the same sound. To me it appears to be [æ]...


My professor says it depends on the dialect. In Standard Seoul speech, the sound is effectively merged with 에 [e]. Our professors told us to say both 에 and 애 as [e], but to remember the difference for spelling. I've read that non-merged dialects may have [ɛ] or [æ] for 애, so your perceptions are probably right, you're just hearing a non-merged dialect.


That explains why I heard advices like "don't try to differenciate them since many natives don't make the difference themselves"... ;)
What about yourself, svenska84, did you hear non-Seoul Standard speakers who used [ɛ] or [æ]? I read that [æ] is the way the "a" in "fat" is pronounced in RP and Standard America, and that [ɛ] is how it is pronounced in New Zealand... so any English speaker would know, and you even better...

Luís wrote:As for 에 and 애, I learned it should be [e] and [ae], but that some (most?) Koreans don't make a distinction between the two. Strangely enough, I have a book that says that making the distinction is very important and then goes on to present a large list of minimal pairs. In the tapes that come with the book all speakers make the distinction... :?


Exactly, that's a problem I face too...

svenska84 wrote:
JunMing wrote: : I read it's [ø] but no... :shock: I can't believe it. It's a diphtong. But which one? It can't be the one I think of, which would be theorically 웨...


Another dialectal difference. Apparently 의 is [ø] in many dialects, but in Seoul its [ɨi] or [e] depending on position. My professor says her husband isn't from Seoul and has [ø], which she says sounds "weird" to her, but it is common in non-Seoul dialects, I believe. She said Seoul's pronunciation of it as [ɨi] is probably as a result of a spelling pronunciation which has become the norm, which would make sense given how it's spelled.


Thanks for your explanations again. :D

svenska84 wrote:
JunMing wrote: : I read it's [y] but I can't believe it, like the one above.


Hmm, I haven't heard about that one. In class we were taught it was [wi].


Then it's another dialectal difference? I read it's [y] on the material where I saw 의 transcribed as [ø]. Now I remember I bought the tapes with that material; I should check how it sounds, because the 위 and 의 I hear from materials in the Seoul dialect sound nothing like these, but like the ones you mention instead.

svenska84 wrote:I hadn't heard about variation for 외, which we were always taught to pronounce just like 웨 [we], but to memorize the difference in spelling.

See, as I said before it really depends on dialect. According to the Seoul dialect which we learn, those following sounds are as follows:

왜 [we]
웨 [we]
위 [wi]
외 [we]
와 [wa]
워 [wɔ]
의 [ɨi] or [e] as possessive


Indeed, I read "의" is pronounced like "에" when it is the possessive/determinative particle (in South Korean material... ;)).
I am astonished by how many of these compounds, namely 왜, 웨, 외 sound alike ([we]) in the Seoul dialect.
I didn't try to transcribe these myself as I was afraid [w] would not be the first letter used in all transcriptions... ;)

svenska84 wrote:
JunMing wrote:A friend of mine, a native Korean from the southwest of South Korea (the countryside south of 광주), told me that he doesn't make the difference between most of these sounds himself, but that didn't help me much... ;)


Haha--yeah, without a clear description of what he does, his comment is unfortunately not very helpful. All I can say is with my professors, who speak the Seoul dialect, and the Korean movies I've watched, which prefer the Seoul "Standard" dialect, the transcriptions for the speech are as I wrote above. However, you may not be going for the Seoul dialect, so I'm not sure if you'd want to emulate those or not.


I still have no idea which dialect I am going for, because of different sources and materials, where so many sounds are different... ;)

Luís wrote:And since we're at it, is it just me or has anyone else ever heard a Korean pronounce ㅊ as [tsʰ]? This reminds me of Chinese people who pronounce c for ch (I think they also do this in the regions bordering Korea, but I'm not sure. Junming might know better).
The difference is that in Korean you can't really mistake ㅊ for anything else, even if it's pronounced [tsʰ], unlike in Chinese ;)


I don't think I ever heard that. But I'm not saying it can't happen... ;)
There is another very striking difference in pronunciation (concerning consonants this time), I'll mention it as soon as I get svenska84's answer to my first question. :)

That would be interesting to try to retrieve the pronunciations of several different Korean dialects, and to make a table out of them. But it'd take a lot of researches, in the case there are any resources available... :?
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Postby Luís » 2005-07-19, 14:49

svenska84 wrote:I think I may have heard [tsʰ], but my instinct is to think of the sound as [tʃʰ], which I've also heard from Koreans.


I'm confused now... :? Isn't it supposed to be [tʃʰ]?

svenska84 wrote:The one I'm never exactly sure about is
ㅉ, which our professor said to say as [ts] (she said it's "just like" the /ts/ in English "pizza"), but that isn't a completely satisfactory response for me, as it doesn't always seem to be [ts].


For me these glottalized consonants all seem quite difficult to handle. I can't really notice much of a difference between some of them and their regular (non-aspirated) counterparts... :(

Junming wrote:You forgot about this question, which is actually the one why I started this thread... :Wink:


Well, ㄹ can have either an l or an r sound, according to position. l at the beginning and at the end of syllables, r between vowels (and possibly before some consonants?). As for the l sound, I think it's simply [l]. The r, I'm not sure of what it is, but I'd go for [ɾ]. What do you think?

Junming wrote:It can be a question hard to answer: do all your materials originate from South Korea, and/or are written by teachers who base themselves on the Seoul dialect?


Yes, they all claim to follow the South Korean 'norm', whatever that might be... (they don't mention Seoul specifically though)

Junming wrote:Exactly, that's a problem I face too...


Even more disturbing: The Korean online course offered by Sogang University uses different IPA symbols for 애 and 에, but when you listen to how they sound, they're absolutely the same!
Even worse, then they test you on noticing the inexistent difference! :D

Now listen to this. Here I can clearly notice the difference the two sounds.

개 / 게
샘 / 셈
내 / 네

As for the ㅈ (and ㅊ) sounding like [ts] and [tsʰ], here's some audio:

Recording 1
비행기는 서울로 갑니다.
Recording 2
가 없습니다.

It might not be so clear in the second one, but in the first one the girl definitely pronounces it as [ts]...
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Re: Korean phonetics

Postby Kirk » 2005-07-19, 22:26

JunMing wrote:
JunMing wrote:I wonder which is the equivalent in the International Phonetic Alphabet for the Hangeul ㄹ? (I think I will have a few questions to ask about this in the future).


You forgot about this question, which is actually the one why I started this thread... ;)


Oops, sorry! As Luis mentioned, it's [ɾ] intervocalically, and [l] in other positions. If there's a double ㄹ intervocalically, it's also [l].

일 = /il/
갈래 = /kale/
다리 = /taɾi/

JunMing wrote:
svenska84 wrote:I've seen all those symbols used to transcribe it, too. In my Korean professors I've heard what I'd transcribe as [ɔ] for that sound.


That seems to make sense, if your teachers are all from Seoul or speak the Seoul dialect as a standard. Myself this is the sound I hear most of the time in the *official* South Korean/western materials (generally based on Seoul dialect), but I never heard this sound when listening to Chinese Koreans, or to North Koreans: I really think I heard an unrounded sound, very certainly [ə] (which I know from my native language).

svenska84 wrote:[ʌ] and [ə] don't have rounding, and my professors definitely always have rounded lips for that sound. In fact, I think good evidence that it's [ɔ] at least as my professors say it is that it's a challenging sound for many of us Californians to master, as we don't have phonemic [ɔ] in our dialect of English, so hearing (and especially producing) the difference between [o] 오 and [ɔ] 어 is a big challenge for many students (my professor said it's one of the hardest sound differentiations for Californians to consistently make...and in the experience of my classees that's true--my classmates confused them all the time). According to my head Korean professor, who got a PhD in some branch of linguistics (can't remember), she said having taught in "cot-caught" nonmerged areas, it was much easier to get Americans to differentiate between those sounds than in places she's taught like California.


The problem is different for me, as I am used to hear both sounds [ɔ] and [ə] in my native language, along with [o] obviously (even if I never pronounce [ɔ] myself, nor is it pronounced by speakers who originates from my area, yet I was confronted to it on TV and official medias at a young age to be able to recognise it in any language).
I brought that question because I was surprised to see how 어 was said to have different IPA equivalents in all my sources... and also because it still appears very odd to me to think such different sounds can correspond to the same hangeul... But that's probably because I am too used to these sounds as I could point... ;)

Luís wrote:What I hear is [ɔ] as well. My native language (Portuguese) distinguishes between [ɔ] and [o] and to me the difference between Korean 어 and 오 seems to be the same.


It can be a question hard to answer: do all your materials originate from South Korea, and/or are written by teachers who base themselves on the Seoul dialect?

I don't want to sound too picky; I asked that question because it seems to me that the sound of the materials I have are not representative of the sounds I heard from native speakers... probably because they speak a dialect too different from the Seoul dialect? ;)


It probably all has to do with dialects. All my teachers have been directly from Seoul, so that's the dialect I've been trained with. I don't see it as weird that one letter such as 어 can represent different sounds in different dialects--that happens all the times with written sounds in other languages.It's just dialectal variation.

JunMing wrote:
svenska84 wrote:
JunMing wrote: : I keep on reading it is [ɛ] but according to my experience of [ɛ] in other languages I really can't imagine it's the same sound. To me it appears to be [æ]...


My professor says it depends on the dialect. In Standard Seoul speech, the sound is effectively merged with 에 [e]. Our professors told us to say both 에 and 애 as [e], but to remember the difference for spelling. I've read that non-merged dialects may have [ɛ] or [æ] for 애, so your perceptions are probably right, you're just hearing a non-merged dialect.


That explains why I heard advices like "don't try to differenciate them since many natives don't make the difference themselves"... ;)
What about yourself, svenska84, did you hear non-Seoul Standard speakers who used [ɛ] or [æ]? I read that [æ] is the way the "a" in "fat" is pronounced in RP and Standard America, and that [ɛ] is how it is pronounced in New Zealand... so any English speaker would know, and you even better...


I've not noticed native speakers differentiate them, but again, I should note that there's a heavy Seoul bias in what I've learned, and the Korean dramas, music and movies I've consumed also have a heavy Seoul bias naturally. I've definitely never heard anything as low as [æ] for that sound, tho I've read it does exist in a few (non-Seoul) dialects. My professor said that "weird dialects" do that (and of course, being from Seoul, she's not biased at all! hehe ;) )

JunMing wrote:
Luís wrote:As for 에 and 애, I learned it should be [e] and [ae], but that some (most?) Koreans don't make a distinction between the two. Strangely enough, I have a book that says that making the distinction is very important and then goes on to present a large list of minimal pairs. In the tapes that come with the book all speakers make the distinction... :?


Exactly, that's a problem I face too...


Hehe--yeah, sometimes their idealized pronunciations don't show up in their own speech! One of my teaching assistants (TA) for my Korean class was a young woman from Seoul and she nearly merged 우 and 오, which is apparently a characteristic of some young people there. She would never admit to it, but many times she produced them almost exactly the same (my older main professor didn't merge them), which made it confusing for us when we had to write down her dictations!

JunMing wrote:
svenska84 wrote:
JunMing wrote: : I read it's [y] but I can't believe it, like the one above.


Hmm, I haven't heard about that one. In class we were taught it was [wi].


Then it's another dialectal difference? I read it's [y] on the material where I saw 의 transcribed as [ø]. Now I remember I bought the tapes with that material; I should check how it sounds, because the 위 and 의 I hear from materials in the Seoul dialect sound nothing like these, but like the ones you mention instead.


Yeah, the only way I've ever heard them was from the Seoul dialect.

JunMing wrote:
svenska84 wrote:I hadn't heard about variation for 외, which we were always taught to pronounce just like 웨 [we], but to memorize the difference in spelling.

See, as I said before it really depends on dialect. According to the Seoul dialect which we learn, those following sounds are as follows:

왜 [we]
웨 [we]
위 [wi]
외 [we]
와 [wa]
워 [wɔ]
의 [ɨi] or [e] as possessive


Indeed, I read "의" is pronounced like "에" when it is the possessive/determinative particle (in South Korean material... ;)).
I am astonished by how many of these compounds, namely 왜, 웨, 외 sound alike ([we]) in the Seoul dialect.
I didn't try to transcribe these myself as I was afraid [w] would not be the first letter used in all transcriptions... ;)


Yeah, when I was first learning 한글, I was also surprised they had three different ways of writing the same sound, [we], which we just had to learn how to memorize which ones had different spellings. Obviously, when 한글 was devised they were separate sounds.

JunMing wrote:
svenska84 wrote:
JunMing wrote:A friend of mine, a native Korean from the southwest of South Korea (the countryside south of 광주), told me that he doesn't make the difference between most of these sounds himself, but that didn't help me much... ;)


Haha--yeah, without a clear description of what he does, his comment is unfortunately not very helpful. All I can say is with my professors, who speak the Seoul dialect, and the Korean movies I've watched, which prefer the Seoul "Standard" dialect, the transcriptions for the speech are as I wrote above. However, you may not be going for the Seoul dialect, so I'm not sure if you'd want to emulate those or not.


I still have no idea which dialect I am going for, because of different sources and materials, where so many sounds are different... ;)


I go for the Seoul standard, especially since that's what I've been exposed to and if I do decide to go live in Korea and teach English, I'd wanna go to Seoul.

JunMing wrote:
Luís wrote:And since we're at it, is it just me or has anyone else ever heard a Korean pronounce ㅊ as [tsʰ]? This reminds me of Chinese people who pronounce c for ch (I think they also do this in the regions bordering Korea, but I'm not sure. Junming might know better).
The difference is that in Korean you can't really mistake ㅊ for anything else, even if it's pronounced [tsʰ], unlike in Chinese ;)


I don't think I ever heard that. But I'm not saying it can't happen... ;)
There is another very striking difference in pronunciation (concerning consonants this time), I'll mention it as soon as I get svenska84's answer to my first question. :)

That would be interesting to try to retrieve the pronunciations of several different Korean dialects, and to make a table out of them. But it'd take a lot of researches, in the case there are any resources available... :?


Yeah, that would be fascinating, and very useful--if I ever find such a wondrous thing I'll let you know!

Luis wrote:Now listen to this. Here I can clearly notice the difference the two sounds.

개 / 게
샘 / 셈
내 / 네

As for the ㅈ (and ㅊ) sounding like [ts] and [tsʰ], here's some audio:

Recording 1
저비행기는 서울로 갑니다.
Recording 2
차가 없습니다.

It might not be so clear in the second one, but in the first one the girl definitely pronounces it as [ts]...


Yeah, those speakers did have slightly different vowels in

개 / 게
샘 / 셈
내 / 네

but I can't escape thinking that since it was very careful, scripted examples, that the people might not merge them in real life. That was my experience with my professors--if you prompted them too, they could give you two carefully pronounced different vowels for those words but then in regular speech they wouldn't make the difference (and said so themselves).

Luis wrote:svenska84 wrote:
The one I'm never exactly sure about is
ㅉ, which our professor said to say as [ts] (she said it's "just like" the /ts/ in English "pizza"), but that isn't a completely satisfactory response for me, as it doesn't always seem to be [ts].


For me these glottalized consonants all seem quite difficult to handle. I can't really notice much of a difference between some of them and their regular (non-aspirated) counterparts... Sad


Yeah, I sometimes have problems with that, too. It's actually easier for me to produce the difference (probably because I exaggerate the glottalized ones) than to always hear the difference in native speakers' speech. I have gotten better, tho--I guess it just requires a lot of listening experience. Also, it's worthy to note that the glottalized consonants occur as allophones when clustered with other consonants. So, for example:

담배 is really pronounced as if it were 담빼.
맥주 is really pronounced as if it were 맥쭈.

As for the ㅈ and ㅊ, those sounded more like [ts] and [tsʰ], respectively. I've heard a lot of native speakers pronounce them this way. However, intervocalically I think they may acquire more of a voiced [tʃ] (so, [dʒ]) and unvoiced [tʃʰ] sound as compared to sounds based off of [dz].
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Re: Korean phonetics

Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-07-20, 9:56

svenska84 wrote:As Luis mentioned, it's [ɾ] intervocalically, and [l] in other positions. If there's a double ㄹ intervocalically, it's also [l].

일 = /il/
갈래 = /kale/
다리 = /taɾi/


Ok, this is what I wanted to know...

Now let me an example which you will probably find very surprising:

In speech in a given context, I heard a few times the (intervocalic) "ㄹ" pronounced as [ʐ], exactly like the (standard) pronunciation of Chinese (pinyin) "r"; that is to say a voiced retroflex fricative (I verified before I could come up with such learned words ;)). Especially in the case of the object particle 를, where the first ㄹ differs from the last one: I heard it pronounced as [ʐɨl], and sometimes the last one was not even [l] but something really, really odd - which was not quite a [ʐ] or (from what I can understand in IPA classification, that is to say not much) not quite a [ɻ] (retroflex approximant) either.

Did any of you ever faced such a pronunciation?
Does that appear very strange to you?

To conclude, I am aware this is probably an influence of Chinese on bilingual Chinese Korean speakers.
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Re: Korean phonetics

Postby Kirk » 2005-07-20, 10:09

JunMing wrote:
svenska84 wrote:As Luis mentioned, it's [ɾ] intervocalically, and [l] in other positions. If there's a double ㄹ intervocalically, it's also [l].

일 = /il/
갈래 = /kale/
다리 = /taɾi/


Ok, this is what I wanted to know...

Now let me an example which you will probably find very surprising:

In speech in a given context, I heard a few times the (intervocalic) "ㄹ" pronounced as [ʐ], exactly like the (standard) pronunciation of Chinese (pinyin) "r"; that is to say a voiced retroflex fricative (I verified before I could come up with such learned words ;)). Especially in the case of the object particle 를, where the first ㄹ differs from the last one: I heard it pronounced as [ʐɨl], and sometimes the last one was not even [l] but something really, really odd - which was not quite a [ʐ] or (from what I can understand in IPA classification, that is to say not much) not quite a [ɻ] (retroflex approximant) either.

Did any of you ever faced such a pronunciation?
Does that appear very strange to you?

To conclude, I am aware this is probably an influence of Chinese on bilingual Chinese Korean speakers.


Yeah, I've never heard of such a pronunciation. I would also conclude that's probably the result of Chinese influence on bilingual Chinese Korean speakers (in a contect in which Chinese is the dominant language). I don't think [ʐ] is natively present in any Korean dialect found in the Koreas.
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Re: Korean phonetics

Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-07-20, 12:00

svenska84 wrote:Yeah, I've never heard of such a pronunciation. I would also conclude that's probably the result of Chinese influence on bilingual Chinese Korean speakers (in a contect in which Chinese is the dominant language). I don't think [ʐ] is natively present in any Korean dialect found in the Koreas.


Oh yes, this is actually why I wonder so much about it: Chinese is not the dominant language for most of these Korean speakers... In the area in Jilin bordering 백두산 (白頭山) / 장백산 (長白山), especially in the Yeonbyeon (연변) autonomous prefecture, which has been part of China since the end of the Korean War, most Koreans still don't speak much Chinese, if any at all. Having not been there, I am not sure whether this pronunciation is very common there. I heard it from native Korean speakers whom I believe were from Northern Manchuria, that is to say a bit further North: Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, and non-bordering North Korea areas of Jilin.
The area of Jilin is bordering North Korea, being comparable to Northeastern DPRK in all points, it is probably to be considered as being part of the Koreas linguistically... ;) The same could even be said about the less numerous speakers from northern areas, who generally moved there less than a century ago, and even less than fifty years ago for most.

I'd need to be back to China and meet speakers there, I don't think I can meet any of them here in Europe... ;)
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Postby parousia » 2005-07-21, 10:55

WOW :shock: , you guys can really spill some ink on Korean phonetics :D

svenska84 wrote: The one I'm never exactly sure about is ㅉ, which our professor said to say as [ts] (she said it's "just like" the /ts/ in English "pizza"), but that isn't a completely satisfactory response for me, as it doesn't always seem to be [ts].


I'm not completely satisfied with "pizza" as an example of how to pronounce ㅉ either though I understand why your teacher chose it. The force you exert to pronounce zza is like the force you exert to pronounce 짜, but I don't think there's a ts sound. I hear, rather, a ch sound. I don't know every word with ㅉ but when I think of a word with that consonant in it like 짜다 ("it's salty"), I hear a ch sound with a very intense j sound (j as in joke). So, if you could pronounce "pizza" with a ch + jj in there rather than the ts, it would be more like ㅉ.

담배 is really pronounced as if it were 담빼.
맥주 is really pronounced as if it were 맥쭈.


I don't think I've ever heard 담배 pronounced as 담빼...맥주 as 맥쭈 seems more plausible. Did your teacher tell you this?

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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-22, 0:54

parousia wrote:WOW :shock: , you guys can really spill some ink on Korean phonetics :D


Hehe yeah wow we have written a bunch so far haven't we!

parousia wrote:
svenska84 wrote: The one I'm never exactly sure about is ㅉ, which our professor said to say as [ts] (she said it's "just like" the /ts/ in English "pizza"), but that isn't a completely satisfactory response for me, as it doesn't always seem to be [ts].


I'm not completely satisfied with "pizza" as an example of how to pronounce ㅉ either though I understand why your teacher chose it. The force you exert to pronounce zza is like the force you exert to pronounce 짜, but I don't think there's a ts sound. I hear, rather, a ch sound. I don't know every word with ㅉ but when I think of a word with that consonant in it like 짜다 ("it's salty"), I hear a ch sound with a very intense j sound (j as in joke). So, if you could pronounce "pizza" with a ch + jj in there rather than the ts, it would be more like ㅉ.

담배 is really pronounced as if it were 담빼.
맥주 is really pronounced as if it were 맥쭈.


I don't think I've ever heard 담배 pronounced as 담빼...맥주 as 맥쭈 seems more plausible. Did your teacher tell you this?


Yes, we learned that from our textbooks and our professors. Every chapter the textbook would in fact list such "pronunciation guides" for such words as 담배 --> 담빼, which I always thought was somewhat repetitive because the phonological environments for it are pretty predictable, but then again, most people taking such a class aren't linguistics majors. What it is is an allophonic pronunciation, it's not on a phonemic level, and since Korean's spelling is highly phonemic many native speakers don't even realize that they do such a thing, but if you listen closely (at least to the native Korean speakers I've known) it's the norm in speech.

JunMing wrote:Oh yes, this is actually why I wonder so much about it: Chinese is not the dominant language for most of these Korean speakers... In the area in Jilin bordering 백두산 (白頭山) / 장백산 (長白山), especially in the Yeonbyeon (연변) autonomous prefecture, which has been part of China since the end of the Korean War, most Koreans still don't speak much Chinese, if any at all. Having not been there, I am not sure whether this pronunciation is very common there. I heard it from native Korean speakers whom I believe were from Northern Manchuria, that is to say a bit further North: Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, and non-bordering North Korea areas of Jilin.
The area of Jilin is bordering North Korea, being comparable to Northeastern DPRK in all points, it is probably to be considered as being part of the Koreas linguistically... Wink The same could even be said about the less numerous speakers from northern areas, who generally moved there less than a century ago, and even less than fifty years ago for most.

I'd need to be back to China and meet speakers there, I don't think I can meet any of them here in Europe...


Interesting! Yes, you will have to go back there--you probably won't get very far from the vantage point many thousands of kilometers away in Europe :)
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Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-07-22, 11:02

I remember I bought the tapes with the method I bought in China. I can connect a tape recorder into my laptop, and record sounds from it with a correct quality. This is some bother, so I'll do it this weekend probably. ;)
(Unless I manage to find these sounds on the Chinese web, which is full of wonders many people would not even imagine... :D).
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Postby Luís » 2005-07-22, 11:53

Interestingly enough, I found a book about the world's scripts at my local library. I had a look at the Hangeul section and I was surprised to find out that they transcribed 어 as [ə], 위 as [y] and 외 as [ø]! :shock: (they also mention 애 is [ae] and 에 is [e]...
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Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-07-22, 12:13

Luís wrote:Interestingly enough, I found a book about the world's scripts at my local library. I had a look at the Hangeul section and I was surprised to find out that they transcribed 어 as [ə], 위 as [y] and 외 as [ø]! :shock: (they also mention 애 is [ae] and 에 is [e]...


What's so surprising about that? I have exactly the same in my textbook, as I mentioned above.
And now I listened to the tapes, I could notice they actually pronounce the sounds this way. :D

I should really provide the tapes for you to hear... ;)
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Postby Luís » 2005-07-22, 12:18

Junming wrote:What's so surprising about that? I have exactly the same in my textbook, as I mentioned above.


It's surprising exactly because of that! :lol:
One thing is to find it in some Chinese textbook, another is to find it in a Portuguese reference book. I'd imagine they'd go for the standard language (most likely Seoul)...
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Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-07-23, 13:27

Luís wrote:It's surprising exactly because of that! :lol:
One thing is to find it in some Chinese textbook, another is to find it in a Portuguese reference book. I'd imagine they'd go for the standard language (most likely Seoul)...


It'd be interesting to know the source, and the date of such material (not the book in itself, but that data on Korean)... At least that shows there is a world outside South Korea. ;)

I connected my tape recorder to the laptop and here are some sounds I could record:

First sound (359 KB)

It teaches how to read the following sounds (read by a man and a woman).

ㅏ ㅓ ㅗ ㅜ ㅣ

Second sound (1 130 KB)

The following sounds are read twice (once by the man, once by the woman):

아 ... 어 ___________ 어 ... 아 __________ 어 ... 어
오 ... 우 ___________ 우 ... 오 __________ 오 ... 오
이 ... 아 ___________ 이 ... 어 __________ 이 ... 오
아 ... 이 ___________ 어 ... 이 __________ 오 ... 이
우 ... 이 ___________ 어 ... 오 __________ 어 ... 어

Chinese speakers will notice the man is a Chinese Korean whose Chinese accent is funny... ;)

To me, it seems that the accent of the man is more North Korean - Chinese Korean, and the woman is South Korean. How do you feel about it?

(Now I found a way to record them, I'll probably add other sounds later :D)
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Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-07-23, 14:06

I wanted to close the sound recording software and I noticed there was some more useful data in it, so here are two more sounds:

Third sound (425 KB)

The following words are read by two Koreans:

아이 ___________ 아우 __________ 어이
오이 ___________ 우 __________ 아우
이 ___________ 아이 __________ 오이


Fourth sound (248 KB)

Greetings

안녕!
안녕하세요!
안녕히 가세요.


Same question as above: what do you think about these sounds?
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