The Sound Change Rule of ㅎ[h]

The Sound Change Rule of ㅎ[h]


There are several sound change rules of ㅎ you should keep in mind. Most of all, – 하다 [hada] is the most commonly used verb form in Korean. If you just skip these rules, you would likely miss big things while listening.

Let me explain them with some Korean words.


① Silent ㅎ

Between two vowels, the sound of is usually weakened, almost silent.

좋아요 [조아요] [joayo] good, fine

넣어요 [너어요] [neoeoyo] to put in

놓아요 [노아요] [noayo] to put down


② ㅎ + ㄱ,ㄷ,ㅂ,ㅈ = ㅋ,ㅌ,ㅍ,ㅊ

    ㄱ,ㄷ,ㅂ,ㅈ + ㅎ = ㅋ,ㅌ,ㅍ,ㅊ

When ,,, and are located before or after , the sounds shift to the harder counterparts ,,, and respectively. As you know, is one of the aspirated consonants. For aspirated consonants, speakers should put out the air out of the mouth heavily. This characteristic makes the adjacent consonant also aspirated : ,,,,,,.

어떻게 [어떠케] [eotteke] how

좋다 [조타] [jota] good, fine

넣다 [너타] [neota] to put in

놓다 [노타] [nota] to put down

그렇지만 [그러치만] [geureochiman] but, however

북한 [부칸] [bukan] North Korea

축하하다[추카하다] [chukahada] to congratulate

대답하다 [대다파다] [dedapada] to reply, to answer

입학하다 [이팍카다] [ipak-kada] to enter a school


③ ㅎ + ㅅ =ㅆ

When  comes before , becomes pronounced like .

좋습니다 [조씁니다] [josseubnida] good, fine

넣습니다 [너씁니다] [neosseubnida] to put in

놓습니다 [노씁니다] [nosseubnida] to put down


④ ㅅ + ㅎ = ㅌ

Keep in mind is normally pronounced like at the end of a syllable (받침). So, when becomes before , it also behaves like . As a result, when is followed by a , it becomes pronounced like as mentioned above.

못하다 [모타다] [motada] can’t, unable to

못합니다 [모탑니다] [motabnida] can’t, unable to

잘못하다 [잘모타다] [jalmotada] to do something incorrectly, to err, to make a mistake


Please make the sound rule yours. If you are familiar with them, they would definitely help improve your Korean listening and speaking skills as well as your proper pronunciation.


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.