The Pronunciation Rule of ㅇ[null/ng]

The Pronunciation Rule of ㅇ[null/ng]


Korean has an unusual consonant ㅇ, which is silent, depending on its position within a syllable. As you know, Korean characters (Hangeul/Hangul) consist of at least one consonant and one vowel. If just the vowel sound is needed, is used as a filler. That’s because doesn’t have any sound when it is located at the beginning of a syllable. On the other hand, at the end of a syllable, it’s pronounced as [ng].


Let’s take a look at an example, [yong] (dragon).

The first is silent. But, the second , which is 받침 [batchim], has a [ng] sound. Therefore, is pronounced as [yong].


Interestingly, has a very unique pronunciation rule because it has no sound at the beginning of a syllable. As a Korean teacher, I’m definitely sure this rule is the most essential one for your native-like pronunciation.

Please keep in mind if a final consonant (받침) is followed by , the consonant is pronounced as the second syllable’s initial consonant for ease of pronunciation.


Can you try to speak out the word below in two different ways?

할아버지 (grandfather)

① [할아버지] [hal-abeoji]

② [하라버지] [ha-labeoji]

See the difference? It’s much easier to pronounce [하라버지] than [할아버지], right?

If is preceded by final consonant, the pronunciation of the consonant is ‘moved’ to the position of the .

할아버지 [하라버지] [ha-labeoji] grandfather

도서관에 [도서과네] [doseogwane] to the library

목요일에 [모교이레] [mogyoi-le] on Thursday

일요일에 [이료이레] [i-lyo-ile] on Sunday

옆에 [여페] [yeope] beside

있어요 [이써요] [isseoyo] to exist, to have

읽어요 [일거요] [ilgeoyo] to read

앉아요 [안자요] [anjayo] to sit


Reference :

  1. Taylor I, Taylor M. Writing And Literacy In Chinese, Korean, And Japanese. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co.; 1995.
  2. Shin J, Kiaer J, Cha J. The Sounds Of Korean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2012.
  3. Korean/Essential Pronunciation Rules – Wikibooks, open books for an open world. 2015. Available at: Accessed December 16, 2015.