Let’s learn the sound change rule for ㄱ [g/k], ㅋ [k], and ㄲ [gg/kk], one of the most important skills in developing a native accent.
This pronunciation change comes from nasalization. Nasalization is a phonological change in which a sound assimilates to a neighboring nasal sound.
In this post, we take the case of ㄱ [g/k], ㅋ [k], or ㄲ [gg/kk] used as a final consonant.ㄱ [g/k], ㅋ [k], and ㄲ [gg/kk] are stop consonants, formed by stopping the flow of air through the mouth. When they come before ㄴ [n] or ㅁ [m], which are nasal consonants produced with the nose, then ㄱ [g/k], ㅋ [k], ㄲ [gg/kk] are pronounced like ㅇ [ng].
Does this rule seem arbitrary? If so, try saying the 12 phrases below at least three times, fast, keeping the true pronunciation of ㄱ [g/k]. You’ll see how your mouth just wants to turn it into ㅇ [ng]. With practice, you’ll get the hang of the rule and realize the greater ease of pronunciation.
1. ㄱ + ㄴ → ㅇ + ㄴ
|작년||[장년] [jangnyeon]||last year|
|학년||[항년] [hangnyeon]||school year, grade|
2. ㄲ + ㄴ → ㅇ + ㄴ
|묶는다||[뭉는다] [mungneunda]||to tie|
|꺾는다||[껑는다] [kkeongneunda]||to break|
|먹는다||[멍는다] [meongneunda]||to eat|
3. ㄱ + ㅁ → ㅇ + ㅁ
|한국말||[한궁말] [hangungmal]||Korean language|
|중국말||[중궁말] [junggungmal]||Chinese language|
4. ㅋ + ㅁ → ㅇ + ㅁ
|부엌만||[부엉만] [bueongman]||kitchen only|
|해 뜰 녘만||[해 뜰 녕만] [he tteul nyeongman]||sunrise only|
|해 질 녘만||[해 질 녕만] [he jil nyeongman]||sunset only|
♥ Recommended posts for you
- Jaehoon Yeon, Lucien Brown. Korean: A Comprehensive Grammar (Routledge Comprehensive Grammars). 1st ed. Routledge; 2011.
- Danielle Ooyoung Pyun. Colloquial Korean: The Complete Course For Beginners. Routledge; 2009.
- Henry J. Amen, Kyubyong Park. Korean For Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean. Tuttle Publishing; 2010.